Issue Date: August 3, 2009
Official Reports from the June Board of Directors Meeting
Grants & Awards
The ACS Board Committee on Grants & Awards (G&A) ratified the following interim action taken since the March 19 meeting: Acting under delegated authority, G&A voted to fund the ACS Summer School on Green Chemistry & Sustainable Energy, July 22–23, up to $10,000 from the ACS Green Chemistry Institute Petroleum Research Fund allotment for student travel, in the event that the funds are needed.
The committee, acting under delegated authority, also voted to accept the following:
■ a new purpose statement for the Roger Adams Award in Organic Chemistry: To recognize and encourage outstanding contributions to research in organic chemistry;
■ a new purpose statement for the Arthur C. Cope Award: To recognize outstanding achievement in the field of organic chemistry, the significance of which has become apparent within the five years preceding the year in which the award will be considered;
■ the new eligibility and purpose statements for the ACS Award in Polymer Chemistry: Purpose—To recognize outstanding fundamental contributions and achievements in the field of polymer chemistry. Eligibility—The nominees for this award are expected to have demonstrated pioneering research accomplishments in synthetic methods of unique polymeric materials and/or achieved profound discoveries in polymer physical chemistry leading to recognized advancements in our understanding of complex macromolecular behavior. This award is specifically intended to acknowledge the impact in basic science of a researcher’s body of work in the broad field of polymer chemistry on our global needs for advanced polymeric systems and materials. The award will be granted without regard to age or nationality.
It was reported that the names of the first group of ACS Fellows will appear in the July 15 issue of C&EN. A ceremony for the Fellows will be held on Monday, Aug. 17, from 1:30–3:30 PM, during the fall ACS national meeting in Washington, D.C.
Acting under delegated authority, G&A also voted that the sharing of an award will be permitted in exceptional cases and only when there is clear evidence that the research effort has resulted from the intellectual contributions of each of the parties. In the cases of multiple award recipients, the monetary award and travel expenses (for one) will be shared by the recipients.
G&A also voted that the “five-year rule” should be waived for the preceptor(s) of the students who are eligible to receive the Nobel Laureate Signature Award for Graduate Education in Chemistry.
During the G&A meeting in Salt Lake City, the committee discussed ways to improve the visibility of the awardees and their significant contributions to science and society as a whole. Acting under delegated authority, the committee voted that, to facilitate communication of the value of an awardees’ work to the public, the award winners be contacted and asked to indicate the potential positive impact of their work in improving peoples’ lives, benefitting the Earth, or meeting global challenges.
After reviewing information received from the award recipients, 10 or 12 of them will be invited to participate in a video filming during the spring national meeting, with discussion on potential benefits of their work to the general public, and perhaps some “human interest” about the awardee. The videos will be edited and be posted to YouTube, ACS Awards website, Twitter, Press Pac “Resources for Journalists,” and C&EN’s blog from the national meeting.
The committee then voted to recommend to the board of directors the following actions:
■ that the ACS Award for Creative Advances in Environmental Science & Technology lie fallow for the 2011 presentation;
■ that the ACS Award for Computers in Chemical & Pharmaceutical Research lie fallow for the 2011 presentation unless a sponsor is found to support this award;
■ that the E. Bright Wilson Award in Spectroscopy be financially supported by ACS for the 2011 presentation unless a cosponsor is found to support this award;
■ and that the George C. Pimentel Award in Chemical Education be financially supported by ACS for the 2011 presentation unless a cosponsor is found to support this award.
Finally, acting under delegated authority, G&A voted the following: to accept the recommendations of the ACS Petroleum Research Fund Advisory Board (May 2009 meeting) for funding grants totaling $6.9 million, with funding deferred until the fund sufficiently recovers, and to express its appreciation to the PRF Advisory Board for the steps they have taken during times of financial distress.—Eric C. Bigham, Chair
Professional & Member Relations
The committee (P&MR) was informed that Tom Lane and Bill Carroll received appointments from the American Indian Science & Engineering Society to its governing board. Tom Lane and Judy Benham will attend the International Union of Pure & Applied Chemistry (IUPAC) meeting in late July and will meet with key IUPAC leaders to discuss the society’s role in achieving the International Year of Chemistry (IYC) 2011 goals.
P&MR’s breakfast meeting in conjunction with the upcoming national meeting in Washington, D.C., will focus on careers and employment issues.
The committee voted to approve the revised charter for the Professional Advancement (PA) subcommittee. The PA subcommittee expressed the view that job opportunities in science, technology, engineering, mathematics (STEM) areas are declining due to the impact of globalization.
Staff briefed the committee on a series of online benefits ACS offers to employers seeking to fill jobs. Martin Gorbaty, chair, Committee on Economic & Professional Affairs (CEPA), addressed the committee on the following question: How is ACS responding to the key chemical employment trends including changes in job search, placement, and globalization? He reviewed how CEPA first got involved in this issue in 2007 and briefed P&MR on the recommendations made by a CEPA Globalization Task Force led by Lisa Balbes.
In response to a motion from the Public Affairs Subcommittee, P&MR voted to accept the 2010 Membership Satisfaction Survey Overview (revised May 1) and the list of 2010 Membership Satisfaction Survey Reviewers (revised May 8).
The committee voted to approve the revised charter for the International Strategy (IS) Subcommittee. The IS Subcommittee briefed P&MR on its recent activities, which include efforts to have the U.S. Postal Service issue a commemorative IYC 2011 stamp. On the recommendation from the IS Subcommittee, P&MR voted to approve the establishment of an ACS IYC Coordinating Group, along with the group’s charter as presented today, and asked that the ACS president and chair of the board establish the group.
The committee also voted to approve the mission for the Community & Network Building Subcommittee. It asked the subcommittee to rework the charter’s responsibilities, and resubmit them for approval at P&MR’s next meeting on Aug. 3.
On the subject of making content delivered at national meetings available online, the committee was briefed on results from the Salt Lake City meeting and on plans for the upcoming 2009 Washington, D.C., and 2010 San Francisco national meetings. More than 7,000 unique visitors have reviewed the online content from the Salt Lake City meeting, and among 200 survey respondents, the overwhelming majority would like ACS to make increased amounts of content available after future national meetings.
P&MR expressed some concern regarding the Divisional Activities Committee’s preliminary plans to experiment with testing various access models with respect to online content emerging from the Washington, D.C., national meeting. Although it supports the concept of testing access, P&MR does not want to do anything at this relatively early stage that will create obstacles to members’ ability to benefit from this content. In addition, a key issue for the subcommittee is to determine the appropriate governance body to oversee this initiative in 2010 and beyond. The Committee on Constitution & Bylaws will revisit this issue in the fall and report back to the full committee.
The committee discussed, from a policy perspective, the merits of automatically including a member’s profile in an online membership directory (e.g., ACS Network) unless a member chooses not to participate. There was significant interest on this matter, and the Community & Network Building Subcommittee was asked to discuss this matter further and bring it back to the full committee at its next meeting in August.
Staff updated the committee on the number of registered users in the ACS Network and their level of activity. The committee was told there are encouraging signs of growth.
P&MR was briefed on recent activities of the Diversity Partner Program. The goal of this three-year pilot program is to “broaden participation in the chemical sciences among diverse and traditionally underrepresented groups.” Tom Lane will meet with the four diversity partners at the Washington, D.C., national meeting.
The committee received an update on the activities of the Sustainability Stakeholders Steering Group (S3G). Key progress cited centered on how the group will rotate leadership from within its ranks, the development of five cross-cutting activities, the establishment of a group within the ACS Network, and plans to publish a Comment in C&EN sometime this summer.
The issue of lab safety and students was raised. There was concern expressed that students may not be adequately educated on lab safety issues before working in chemistry labs. ACS’s role was also addressed: Should the society aspire to be the first place students turn to for information on chemistry lab safety? P&MR will pass these thoughts to the Committee on Chemical Safety and the Chemical Health & Safety Division for their consideration.
A decline in ACS membership was discussed. Given the higher than normal number of unpaid members, staff was asked to investigate the possibility of providing members with more options to pay their dues.—Diane Grob Schmidt, Chair
Public Affairs & Public Relations
The Committee on Public Affairs & Public Relations (PA&PR) chair highlighted advocacy items for members that included the congressional testimony of the ACS Executive Director and CEO Madeleine Jacobs, in support of increased fiscal year 2010 funding for the National Science Foundation; a letter from ACS President Tom Lane to President Obama inviting him to address the ACS fall national meeting; and a meeting with Minnesota education officials, led by ACS Board Chair Judy Benham, to discuss STEM education and opportunities for future collaborations.
The PA&PR chair highlighted progress being made in achieving the 2009 goal for increasing membership in the Legislative Action Network (LAN) as well as the number of local sections with a Government Affairs Committee. The LAN goal for 2009 is to grow to 17,600 members from the current 17,384 members. The 2009 goal for Government Affairs Committees is 95, and at present there are 87.
The bulk of the remaining time in the meeting was devoted to a discussion centered around a public policy statement received by the committee from the Committee on Environmental Improvement (CEI) on endocrine disruptors.
The chair outlined a two-stage approach to discussing the statement: first, to get the sense of committee members whether statements focused on specific chemicals or classes of chemicals were an appropriate course of action for ACS, especially where the body of scientific knowledge is inadequate to render factual, science-based, and unbiased decisions on their use. The second portion of the discussion focused specifically on the statement received from CEI, and the CEI current and immediate past chairs joined via teleconference for a part of this discussion.
Because of the complexity and sensitivity of this issue, the chair asked Flint Lewis, ACS secretary and general counsel, to review conflict-of-interest guidelines with committee and board members to ensure that the ensuing discussions adhered to those guidelines.
The committee agreed to send a statement of intent to the full board outlining guidelines for how the committee would address future possible policy statements that singled out specific chemicals or classes of chemicals without an adequate body of scientific evidence to support proposed actions.
The chair outlined several courses of action the committee could take, and a decision was reached that the chair would convene a small working group to formulate a revised statement that the chair would then transmit to the CEI chair for review.
Due to time constraints, portions of the committee’s agenda could not be covered; it was decided to hold a special WebEx meeting before the August meeting to address those items. The chair also asked staff to post the presentations associated with the unaddressed agenda items on the board’s SharePoint site.—Bonnie A. Charpentier, Chair
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