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A Great Partnership

by Madeleine Jacobs, Executive Director and CEO
February 25, 2008 | APPEARED IN VOLUME 86, ISSUE 8

Working together, the ACS Board and staff must ensure that our members are provided with the programs, products, and services they value.
Credit: Peter Cutts Photography
Credit: Peter Cutts Photography

ACS ended 2007 with numerous accomplishments benefiting members and the scientific enterprise worldwide. Among those accomplishments are the launch of our new website (, a new strategic plan, a thriving membership, new journals, the launch of SciFinder on the Web, and excellent financial results to support these, and other activities, in the future. The many accomplishments will help ensure that ACS thrives during uncertain economic times. For a detailed description of 2007 accomplishments, please see

None of these achievements would have been possible without you, our members, working in a robust partnership with the ACS Board of Directors, local sections, technical divisions, committees, and ACS staff. In addition to the many volunteer activities carried out by the society's membership, thousands of members contributed to our new strategic plan, which will be the subject of a series of ACS Comments in the coming weeks.

As we begin 2008, I'd like to highlight some of the high-priority initiatives that our dynamic partnership is carrying out this year. Our major priority is the operational implementation of "ACS Strategic Plan 2008 and Beyond," adopted by the board of directors in December 2007, which sets forth six major goals ( These goals, very briefly stated, are to provide indispensable resources, engage the global community, affect world challenges, communicate the value of chemistry, advocate for the profession, and maintain financial health.

While we will be working on all six goals, the ACS staff has a high priority related to goal one, which states that ACS will be the indispensable professional and information resource for our members and other chemistry-related practitioners. One key measure of successfully achieving this goal is to increase membership. We ended 2007 with more than 160,000 members. We recruited the second highest number of new members in our history, and had a record-breaking year in our Member-Get-A-Member campaign.

Working together, the ACS Board and staff must ensure that our members are provided with the programs, products, and services they value. A recent membership satisfaction survey, conducted in late 2007, indicated that nearly 84% of survey respondents were either "very satisfied" or "satisfied" with ACS overall. Respondents were particularly satisfied with ACS journals and C&EN; Chemical Abstracts Service (CAS), in particular SciFinder; efforts to improve education in the chemical sciences; and U.S. market intelligence (such as salary, employment, and economic data).

We continue to analyze the survey results. Understanding what you want is only half the job; we must be sure we communicate clearly what ACS offers you and your colleagues.

Two major divisions, CAS and ACS Publications, are pillars of the society's role as the indispensable information resource. In 2008, all ACS operating units will continue to support CAS and the Publications Division to ensure their ongoing success. CAS is rolling out its brilliant new product, SciFinder on the Web, and ACS journals continue to publish the best chemistry articles from around the world.

Also in support of the first strategic goal, ACS will continue to improve its website. Later this year, we will be releasing new collaboration tools, including launching an online member network. We want our website to be the first stop for chemistry professionals, teachers, and students.

The plan's second goal is to be a preeminent global scientific community that engages members and scientific professionals to advance science education, research, knowledge, interaction, and collaboration. To this end, staff will be working with governance to implement the ACS Board-approved strategy to increase ACS's global presence and the number of affiliated professionals through new alliances and a largely electronic suite of products. You will hear more about this later in the year.

Goal four states that ACS will be a leader in communicating to the general public the nature and value of chemistry and related sciences. ACS has embraced a new vision, "Improving people's lives through the transforming power of chemistry," which emphasizes chemistry's role in enhancing the quality of life and addressing critical issues related to our planet's sustainability. In 2008, ACS will continue to develop its strategic communications plan and launch a specific initiative to illustrate how chemistry directly improves the quality of people's lives.

Finally, goal six of the plan states that ACS will be a financially sustainable organization that serves members, chemistry, and related sciences. As your executive director and CEO, I will continue to ensure prudent and transparent fiscal management, which is essential to ACS's long-term financial health and its ability to achieve its mission of serving its members and the chemistry enterprise.

In closing, 2008 promises to be another productive year for ACS. I'm especially excited about the 40th anniversary of Project SEED, which has attracted so many talented students in the chemical sciences. And I'm looking forward to our April meeting in New Orleans, which is sponsored jointly with the American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE). We have fabulous technical sessions, presidential symposia, and numerous opportunities for professional and personal networking, including 45 ACS/AIChE cosponsored symposia. If I don't see you in New Orleans, please write to me at

Views expressed on this page are those of the author and not necessarily those of ACS.



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