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For District V director: John E. Adams

September 7, 2018 | A version of this story appeared in Volume 96, Issue 36


Photo of John Adams
Credit: Peter Cutts Photography

University of Missouri Section. University of Missouri, Columbia, Mo.

Academic record: University of Missouri, Rolla (now Missouri S&T), B.S., 1974; University of California, Berkeley, Ph.D., 1979.

Honors: ACS Fellow, 2009; E. Ann Nalley Midwest Region Award for Volunteer Service to ACS, 2008; John R. Kuebler Award, Alpha Chi Sigma Fraternity, 2018; Professional Degree in Chemistry, Missouri University of Science & Technology, 2011; Curators’ Distinguished Teaching Professorship, 2009; Governor’s Award for Excellence in Teaching, 2009; University of Missouri President’s Award for Outstanding Teaching, 2009; Outstanding Faculty Academic Advisor, Missouri Academic Advising Association, 2005; Excellence in Advising Award, University of Missouri, 2005; Division of Student Affairs Excellence in Education Award, 1999; Kemper Fellow for Excellence in Teaching, 1993; AMOCO Foundation Undergraduate Teaching Award, 1987; Sigma Xi; Phi Lambda Upsilon; Phi Kappa Phi; Phi Eta Sigma; Mortarboard; Golden Key.

Professional positions (for past 10 years): University of Missouri, Curators’ Distinguished Teaching Professor Emeritus, 2015–; Curators’ Distinguished Teaching Professor, 2009–15; professor, 2003–09; associate chair for undergraduate studies, 1996–2012.

Service in ACS national offices: Board of Directors, director, District V, 2013–18, chair, 2018; councilor ex officio, 2013–18; Governing Board for Publishing, 2018; C&EN Editorial Board, 2018; Board of Trustees, Group Insurance Plans for ACS Members, 2011–19, 1997–2000, chair, 2016–18; Committee on Strategic Planning, 2010, 2016–18; Committee on Audits, 2013–18; Development Advisory Board, 2018; Committee on Public Affairs & Public Relations, 2013–17, chair, 2015–17; Committee on Professional & Member Relations, 2013–14; Committee on Grants & Awards, 2015–16; Board Oversight Group, Society Program Portfolio Management, 2013–14; Council Policy Committee, 2011–13, (nonvoting), 2010; Committee on Budget & Finance, 2003–10, committee associate, 2002, chair, 2010, consultant, 2014–15, Society Program Review Subcommittee, 2014–15, chair, 2014; Committee on Constitution & Bylaws, 2002, committee associate, 2003–10; Committee on Membership Affairs, 1995–2000, committee associate, 2001, 1994.

Service in ACS offices: Division of Physical Chemistry: councilor, 2003–14. University of Missouri Section: councilor, 1993–2002; chair, 1988–89; chair-elect, 1988; secretary-treasurer, 1984–85. Midwest Regional Meeting: general chair, 2003; program chair, 1993; webmaster, 2004–; historian, 2010–.

Member: Member of ACS since 1974; Alpha Chi Sigma; American Physical Society; American Association of Chemistry Teachers; ACS divisions: Chemical Education, Computers in Chemistry, History of Chemistry, Physical Chemistry.

Candidates will not be notified of comments left on this webpage. To contact this candidate directly, e-mail

Related activities: Wakonse Conference on College Teaching, staff, 1999–2015; 223rd and 224th ACS National Meetings, symposia cochair; Midwest Theoretical Chemistry Conference, co-organizer, 2005, 1994; Alpha Chi Sigma, president, 2002–04, vice president, 1998–2002; Delta Chapter, adviser, 1990–2015; Alpha Chi Sigma Educational Foundation, trustee, 1998–2019, secretary-treasurer, 2009–18; Brown University, visiting associate professor, 1989–90; Los Alamos National Laboratory, postdoctoral fellow, 1979–81.

Adams’ statement

First and foremost, I am deeply grateful to be considered for continued service as District V director and hope that my performance over the last five-plus years has merited reelection to a third and final term on the board. The next three years surely will be no cakewalk for ACS. We face a changing environment necessitating changes to how we do business, both internally and externally. Due to the reach of our Publications and CAS divisions, ACS is de facto a player globally; we need to come to grips with how the globalization of science and the chemistry enterprise impacts who we are and what we do. We can’t just hide in the corner, surrender our influence, and jeopardize our relevance as an organization. Furthermore, looking around, we find that there is a frightening disregard for science in public discourse and policy development; that solid science is too often deemed “fake news”; that the number of talented domestic students pursuing science, technology, engineering, and mathematics careers continues to decline, whereas the trend abroad is moving in the opposite direction; that the available jobs often require skill sets not addressed in current curricula; and so forth. Depressed yet? I’m not, because I believe ACS is uniquely positioned to address these issues, fundamentally because of you. Those of us involved in society governance can set policy, can direct resource allocations, and can do whatever possible to facilitate your efforts, but individual ACS members acting in their local communities, interacting with their local policy-makers, advocating with friends and neighbors, and sharing their enthusiasm for their discipline with others will yield the greater impact. Perhaps you contribute to Project SEED and the ACS Scholars Program, as do I, and give young, economically disadvantaged and minority chemistry enthusiasts a chance that they otherwise would lack to enter the chemistry enterprise. Perhaps you talk about science with your child’s class or with your neighbor. Perhaps you contact your city council or your local school board or your state legislators or your federal legislators about an issue that involves science. If you do any of these (or related) things, remind me to pat you on the back when I see you because it is you who underpins all that ACS does and can do. We need to be realistic; ACS cannot be everything to everybody. But we can play to our strengths, and a large, active, and committed membership is arguably our greatest strength.


By now, however, you probably are thinking, “Hey, you’re the one running for reelection, what are you going to do?” My priorities are as follows:

Ensure that ACS resources (human and financial) are deployed so as to maximize impact. As I have mentioned on more than one occasion, an inexpensive program having negligible impact is not worth what little we may be spending on it, whereas a more expensive program that delivers on its promises, exceeds expectations, and favorably affects the chemistry enterprise is eminently worthy of our continued (or perhaps increased) support. Good intentions are never good enough; programs have to return value to the members.

Ensure that the ACS Board sets a clear direction for society management to pursue and that this direction focuses on an enhanced membership value proposition across all member demographics (for example, academic, industrial, government, international, student) and on continuous improvement of the member experience.

Ensure that ACS is implementing the latest technology to elevate the member experience and increase the value of our publications and CAS products while devoting necessary attention to cybersecurity.

Ensure that ACS governance focuses on transparency, on being open and responsive to the voice of the members, and on increasing member awareness of ACS programs and activities.

Ensure that ACS maintains and, indeed, increases its efforts to inform and elevate the level of public policy discussions in the U.S. Our efforts leading to the formation of House and Senate Chemistry Caucuses were a great start, but we need to be certain that our collective voices are heard in the halls of Congress, in the executive departments and agencies, and in statehouses.

I hope you find something here that gives you hope for ACS and for the chemistry enterprise in the future. I have the time, experience, enthusiasm, and commitment to serve as your director for another three years, and I sincerely thank you for your time and for your consideration of my candidacy. For more information, please visit


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