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For District V Director: Peter K. Dorhout

September 10, 2012 | APPEARED IN VOLUME 90, ISSUE 37

Credit: Courtesy of Peter Dorhout
Credit: Courtesy of Peter Dorhout

Kansas State University Local Section. Kansas State University, Manhattan, Kan.

Academic record: University of Illinois, B.S., 1985; University of Wisconsin, Ph.D., 1989

Honors: ACS Colorado Local Section Service Award, 2004; ACS Division of Inorganic Chemistry, Exxon Faculty Fellow Award in Solid State Chemistry, 1996; Oliver P. Pennock Service Award, Colorado State University, 2011; Distinguished Service Award, Colorado School of Public Health, 2008; Distinguished Service Award, Office of International Activities, Colorado State University, 2008; Undergraduate Research Mentor Award, Colorado State University, 2002; Camille Dreyfus Teacher-Scholar, 1997; Alfred P. Sloan Fellow, 1997; National Science Foundation Career Award, 1996; Research Corporation Cottrell Scholar, 1994; Sigma Xi, 1991

Professional positions (for past 10 years): Kansas State University, dean of arts and sciences, 2012– ; Colorado State University, Pueblo, interim provost, 2011; Colorado State University, vice provost for graduate affairs and assistant vice president for research, 2004–11; Office of International Programs, interim executive director, 2005; College of Natural Sciences, associate dean, 2002–04; professor of chemistry, 2002–

Service in ACS national offices: Board of Directors, District V, director, 2010–12; councilor ex officio, 2010–12; Executive Committee, 2011–12; Committee on Professional & Member Relations, chair, 2011–12; Sustainability Stakeholders Steering Group (S3G), member, 2011; Committee on Committees, 2002–08, chair, 2008, secretary, 2005–06; International Activities Committee, chair, 2009; Graduate Education Advisory Board, chair, 2009–11; Joint Board-ConC AET, chair, 2008; Committee on Divisional Activities, member, 2001, committee associate, 2000; Younger Chemists Committee, 1996–98, committee associate, 1995; Board Oversight Group on Leadership Development, 2005–09; Presidential Task Force on Stop-Gap Funding, 2001–02; CHEMTECH Monitor Task Force, 1998

Service in ACS offices:Colorado Section: councilor, 2001–09; Nominating Committee, 2000, 2008; newsletter editor, 1999–2004; chair and program chair, 1999; chair-elect, 1998. Division of Inorganic Chemistry: councilor, 1999–2001

Member: Member of ACS since 1985. ACS Divisions: Industrial & Engineering Chemistry, Inorganic Chemistry, Nuclear Chemistry & Technology

Related activities: Colorado State University (CSU) ROTC Advisory Board, 2008–11; CSU President’s Strategic Planning Group, 2004–09; Research Corporation Board of Directors, 2003– , advisory committee, 1998–2004; consultant to Los Alamos National Laboratory, 1988–2006; Beijing International Materials Week, International Advisory Committee, 2006; 23rd Rare Earth Resesarch Conference, program chair, 2005; 3rd Africa Materials Research Society Meeting, International Advisory Committee, 2005; NSF Workshop on Solid State & Materials Chemistry, organizer, 2004–08; NATO Advanced Workshop on High Pressure Science, program cochair, 2001; 219th ACS national meeting Symposium on New Synthetic Methods in Solid State Chemistry, symposium coorganizer, 2000; International Science & Technology Center, Russian Federal Nuclear Center, U.S. project adviser/director, 1998–2006; 2nd Annual Japanese-American Frontiers of Science Symposium, invited participant, 1999; Author of more than 110 peer-reviewed technical manuscripts, reviews, and book chapters



Throughout the nearly three years since I became an ACS Board member, the difficult economic situation continues to impact our profession. Corporate downsizing remains a concern. Young graduates are having difficulties finding positions. Midcareer chemists are frequently forced into early retirement with limited opportunities to find employment. Academe is suffering from the declining number of students selecting chemistry as their future profession. Federal funding remains under pressure, with declining support for students who are the future of the profession.

The district director does not have the high visibility of the ACS president. However, the position engenders a critical personal link to the members: to listen to their problems, work with them to develop new approaches, and carry their messages to the board of directors, which is the decision-making body for ACS. These past two-and-a-half years on the board, I visited different local sections, attended the regional meetings in our district, and attended our caucuses—I heard and acted on your concerns.

“The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.”—Mohandas Gandhi.

As my experiences in ACS have shown, I have lost myself in service to ACS and to our core values:
◾ Focus on members
◾ Professionalism
◾ Passion for chemistry in the broadest sense
◾ Diversity and inclusion

What should be done? Strategic plans are worthless unless members, divisions, and local sections are adopting them in their everyday life. This is the place where the district director’s role is important. My actions on the board have concentrated on:
◾ Transforming the definition of chemistry to encompass its multidisciplinary nature
◾ Creating a dynamic, integrated portfolio of products and services for members and potential members
◾ Promoting inclusiveness throughout the chemical enterprise

What have I done? As a member of the ACS leadership during our last plan implementation, it has been my pleasure to serve to advance the society—there’s more work to be done. In my first term on the board, I have gained the trust of my board colleagues and been elected to serve on the Executive Committee and chair the Committee on Professional & Member Relations, which has listened to you and acted to (1) create an innovative virtual job fair for all members seeking employment, whether present at a national meeting or not; (2) offer access to selected national meeting talks and posters online; and (3) change the open board meeting by creating a topical listening session for members. I am also chair of a Subcommittee on Grants & Awards, which has changed the nomination process and focused on broadening the nomination pool for all awards and collaborated with other groups to enhance our members’ chances of recognition. I will continue to be a catalyst for change in ACS.

We are in this together—I believe this! ACS is a society of volunteer professionals, regardless of their demographics. Our perspectives on moving the society forward are often a nonlinear combination of external influences, professional and personal experiences, and talents. It is the very diversity of chemistry that requires diversity of membership to be successful. We require inclusive leadership perspectives to chart the course and to rally the members in our diverse district.

Gandhi led people by following where they wanted to go—he was the change that he wanted to see in others. Chemistry and chemical professionals are “going” global, and chemists in District V, where I have been living and working since 1979, need to be prepared to operate in a “flat” chemical world addressing diverse global problems. Diversity of thought leads directly to innovation, and chemists are working globally to innovate and step into great opportunities. ACS must continue to steer the global community by leading the members where they want to go and to thoughtfully change ourselves through training and education the way we expect others to change.

I want to move forward—together with members, local sections, and divisions—to reach your goals. If you honor me by electing me to another term as district director, I will continue to visit the local sections, seek out suggestions, propose solutions, and carry your opinion back to the board of directors. I possess a diversity of experiences and perspectives within ACS that provide balance to the leadership of your society. I respectfully ask for your continued confidence in me to carry out the task.


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