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Exciting opportunities for divisions

by Sheila Murphy, chair, ACS Committee on Divisional Activities
February 13, 2022 | A version of this story appeared in Volume 100, Issue 6


Sheila Murphy.
Credit: Courtesy of Sheila Murphy
Sheila Murphy

Now in the third year of navigating our COVID-19 world, I cannot wait for safe and uncomplicated meetings and travel, whether it is for work or pleasure. As the new chair of the American Chemical Society Committee on Divisional Activities (DAC), I am excited about the possibilities for this year, and I feel a great responsibility to ensure DAC efforts focus on realizing future global opportunities and easing current challenges that ACS divisions face while serving our members in these fast-moving times.

Our virtual world provides opportunities for ACS members to become better acquainted with divisions and for divisions to communicate with their membership, wherever they may reside. While time zones may create scheduling challenges, technology provides an opportunity to develop exciting new programs for members around the world. Consider how familiar we have become with organizing virtual technical and business meetings and how translation tools for websites have become more available, making it easy for us to read division news in our primary language.

Divisions can maximize their potential by acting on a well-developed strategic plan, and DAC can support them in this effort. If your division has not held a retreat in the past 5 years, DAC strongly recommends you apply for a Strategic Planning (SP) grant of up to $7,500. Retreats can be held in person or virtually to meet the needs of your division and are a great way to focus minds on future opportunities. In February, members of DAC will spend their 2022 Strategic Planning Retreat developing objectives to address stakeholder challenges. Thank you to everyone who completed our December division-leaders survey.

Twice a year, DAC calls for Innovative Project Grant (IPG) proposals. The deadline for the first of these calls is Feb. 15, but we are still 5 months away from the deadline for the second call of the year, July 15. These grants can be used in a variety of ways, including hosting innovative technical programs and enhancing a division’s operations. The IPG Scoring Rubric can be found on the Technical Division Innovative Project Grant web page and is a great reference guide for proposal writers. If you have any questions about an SP or IPG grant, please contact us at for more information.

ACS continues to evolve its operations to ensure we have the appropriate organizational agility to respond to our changing world. This year saw the introduction of a new membership structure to better meet the needs of all chemical science professionals. We now have a choice of three membership packages (Premium, Standard, and Basic) that have costs linked to the benefits offered and generously adjusted pricing for undergraduate and graduate students, retirees, and emeritus members. This is great for member choice, but what does that mean for members and divisions? Let us consider this from both a member perspective and a divisional perspective.Members who have chosen the Premium or Standard Package are full members as we have always known them.

Our virtual world provides opportunities for ACS members to become better acquainted with divisions.

That means the benefit of the three free division memberships for the first year of enrollment is offered to all new subscribers. DAC, in collaboration with the Committee on Membership Affairs, is seeking ways to promote this benefit to new members and provide them easy access to the information they require to choose appropriate divisions. However, you don’t have to be a new member of ACS to join a division. Currently, ACS has 32 divisions with exciting national meeting programs and networking opportunities that welcome new members. You can find out more about each of the divisions on the Technical Division List web page.

The Basic Package is a new concept for ACS. This free package permits people to get a preview of the society as a community associate. Certain divisions’ bylaws allow community associates to join the division as a division affiliate. These divisions have a tremendous opportunity to reach out to this community and demonstrate the benefits of full ACS and divisional membership. It is important to note that community associates do not count toward attendance at ACS meetings or for the size of a division when calculating division allocations.

Finally, I am pleased to announce we are bringing back Division Row for the upcoming ACS Spring 2022 meeting in San Diego. This is an opportunity for attendees at the meeting to explore the benefits of division membership and for divisions to advertise the benefits of their divisions to attendees of the interdivisional poster event Sci-Mix. Division leaders can showcase their divisions through posters, conversations, and division sign-up events. I will be there and will be thrilled to meet with attendees and leaders interested in learning about divisions and DAC. See you in San Diego!

Views expressed are those of the author and not necessarily those of C&EN or ACS.



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