The ACS Strategic Plan 2008 And Beyond: We Need You! | March 3, 2008 Issue - Vol. 86 Issue 9 | Chemical & Engineering News
Volume 86 Issue 9 | p. 36 | ACS Comments
Issue Date: March 3, 2008

The ACS Strategic Plan 2008 And Beyond: We Need You!

By Judith L. Benham, Chair, ACS Board of Directors, and Bruce E. Bursten, ACS President
Department: ACS News
Credit: Peter Cutts Photography
Credit: Peter Cutts Photography
Credit: Peter Cutts Photography
Credit: Peter Cutts Photography

"We need you." These words became famous when the U.S. sought to recruit people for military service during World War I. Two years ago, E. Ann Nalley, then-president of ACS, revived the slogan when she encouraged ACS members to get involved in the society's Legislative Action Network. Today, we are bringing the slogan back in hopes of enlisting you—ACS members—to help advance chemistry and ACS in the 21st century.

ACS is a premier scientific membership organization, a leading publisher of chemistry information, a primary creator of scientific reference information, a major nongovernmental funding source for fundamental research, a sponsor of innovative approaches to chemistry education, and much more. What do all of these diverse activities have in common?

The common thread holding our society together is the pursuit of our vision: "Improving people's lives through the transforming power of chemistry." The vision was identified at the conclusion of a process engaging thousands of ACS members and stakeholders in consideration of what ACS should aspire to be. We are now pleased to announce that the ACS Board of Directors has approved a new, focused strategic plan for the society in support of our vision that has the potential to bring the disparate parts of ACS more closely together in common purpose. The "ACS Strategic Plan 2008 and Beyond" is available for your review and discussion on the Web at We encourage you to visit the site.

To ensure the society's continued success, we need to select priorities from among all of the possible strategic directions that might be pursued and to focus on change in specific areas. The board began the planning process with an environmental scan that identified key external trends and the strategic challenges that the society faces and must address in order to advance. Among these are the effects of globalization, changes in chemistry as a profession, the public image of chemistry, stagnant research funding, the impact of technology on our science, and changes to membership demographics.

We intend to address these trends and challenges through the centerpiece of the plan, its six strategic goals:

ACS will be the indispensable professional and information resource for members and other chemistry-related practitioners.

ACS will be a preeminent global scientific community that engages members and other scientific professionals to advance science education, research knowledge, interaction, and collaboration.

ACS will be a global leader in enlisting the world's scientific professionals in collaboration to address, through chemistry, the challenges facing our world.

ACS will be a leader in communicating the nature and value of chemistry and related sciences.

ACS will be a premier advocacy organization for members and the profession, creating and communicating policy statements in accordance with our congressional charter.

ACS will be a financially sustainable organization that serves our members, chemistry, and related sciences.

For each goal, several strategies have been identified to pursue during the next few years. Also, on the website, each goal is linked to a discussion forum. These forums provide you with an opportunity to suggest ideas for refinement or implementation or to share how ACS can best advance. To elaborate on the plan and its goals, each of the six strategic goals will be featured in C&EN in ACS Comments from society leaders.

We hope to enlist your energies and talents in the refinement and implementation of this plan. We suspect that many ACS members are already doing wonderful things that have not yet been shared with the larger organization for replication, through such efforts as National Chemistry Week, outreach to schools, talking with legislators, collaborating with other scientific professionals, implementing workplace innovations, and many more.

We want your thoughts and ideas about ways to bring this plan to life. We invite your feedback, and your suggestions for improved or new activities to help us advance toward our vision. We seek your energies through local sections, divisions, governance, or as you talk and work with your professional colleagues, neighbors, and community, to assist us in making progress toward our goals. If you have suggestions, ideas, or approaches that should be included, please e-mail them to or join in the Web discussions.

We appreciate the opportunity to vet our strategic plan with our most important stakeholders, our more than 160,000 members. The board and the Planning Committee intend the plan to be dynamic, evolving from year to year as needed on the basis of changes in external trends and challenges and incorporating progress toward the strategic goals. Thank you for your contributions to advancing chemistry. Your efforts, focused on the goals identified in the strategic plan, will enable ACS and our profession to fulfill our potential and our vision.


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

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