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Actions By The ACS Board Of Directors At Its June Meeting

by William F. Carroll Jr.
July 14, 2014 | A version of this story appeared in Volume 92, Issue 28

During its June 5–7 meeting in Baltimore, the American Chemical Society Board of Directors considered a number of key strategic issues and responded with several actions.

The Committee on Grants & Awards announced the recipients of the 2015 Priestley Medal (Jacqueline K. Barton), Award for Volunteer Service to the ACS (Cynthia K. Larive), and Charles Lathrop Parsons Award (Paul H. L. Walter). On the committee’s recommendation, the board voted to approve a society nominee for the Chemical Heritage Foundation’s Othmer Gold Medal, the establishment of a new ACS award, and financial options for several ACS awards.

On the recommendation of the Committee on Professional & Member Relations, the board voted to support a focused strategy for the ACS Network that emphasizes the secure exchange of information and ideas within ACS groups and that supports the operations of those groups.

On the recommendation of the Committee on Pensions & Investments, the board voted to approve an amendment to the ACS defined benefit retirement plan to provide a time-limited window for a lump sum distribution offer for terminated vested participants and certain other payees and deferred beneficiaries.

On the recommendation of the Committee on International Activities, the board voted to approve continuation of the Hong Kong, Hungarian, and Saudi Arabian International Chemical Sciences Chapters.

On the recommendation of the Committee on Publications, the board voted to approve the appointment of new editors-in-chief for three ACS journals.

ACS Executive Director and Chief Executive Officer Madeleine Jacobs and her direct reports updated the board on the major challenges, opportunities, and projects the society is addressing this year. They also discussed the activities of Chemical Abstracts Service, the ACS Publications Division, and the ACS treasurer and general counsel.

The board reviewed the proposed search process and voted to select an executive search firm to support its campaign to hire a qualified successor to the current executive director and CEO.

The board voted to approve actions arising from the spring council meeting: locations for ACS national meetings in 2023 (Indianapolis in the spring and San Francisco in the fall), 2024 (New Orleans in the spring), 2026 (San Francisco in the fall), and 2029 (San Francisco in the spring); continuation of the Committees on Chemical Safety, Chemistry & Public Affairs, and Minority Affairs; and ratification of interim actions.

The board received an update from its Oversight Group on Society Program Portfolio Management and heard reports from the Presidential Succession on their activities for the remainder of 2014 and for 2015.

The board discussed the following questions: “As information becomes more individualized, how does ACS embrace this transformation and develop tools designed for its audience?” and “What is the strategy to deliver service tailored to individuals?”

Official Reports From Fhe June Board Of Directors Meeting

Committee reports from the American Chemical Society Board of Directors meeting—which was held on June 5–7 in Baltimore—appear below.


The Committee on Grants & Awards met on June 5.

The chair of the Fellows Oversight Committee reported that 222 fellows nominations were received, compared to 239 in 2013. A total of 99 nominees were selected as members of the class of 2014 Fellows. The number of women selected increased from 22% in 2013 to 33% in 2014. The number of recipients from industry increased from 17% in 2013 to 19% in 2014.

The chair of the Awards Equity Implementation Team reported that the team has created a template for development of a rubric for use by national award selection committees, which will be piloted with a few subcommittees in 2014.

The chair of the Awards Review Committee reported that 14 “at risk” national awards are being reviewed in 2014 to ensure that the awards program continues to meet the objectives of ACS.

Acting under delegated authority, the committee voted to accept the recommendations of the ACS Petroleum Research Fund Advisory Board (May 2014 meeting) for funding grants totaling $10.615 million.

The committee discussed concerns related to the ACS national awards that currently have residency restrictions. Acting under delegated authority, the committee voted to invite the sponsors of five nonendowed awards to consider removing the residency restrictions to make the awards more inclusive.—Valerie J. Kuck, Chair


The Committee on Professional & Member Relations (P&MR) met on June 5. The committee voted to ratify its interim votes in May on ACS nominal cosponsorship of the Society for Risk Analysis Nano-Materials Workshop in September and the Sino-American Pharmaceutical Professional Association conference in June.

The chair reported that given the competing events at national meetings, P&MR will experiment with a virtual session with committee chairs in lieu of a national meeting breakfast.

The chair of the Diversity & Inclusion Advisory Board briefed P&MR on the advisory board’s recent activities and presented background on D&I’s structure, resources, and key challenges. It was suggested that D&I develop and advance specific objectives that leverage the goals and integrate the efforts of its member groups.

The ACS Board’s representative for science and human rights briefed P&MR on recent science and human rights activities that were designed to increase member awareness and engage the human rights community. A case history was presented, including progress on specific recent cases, as well as an overview of ACS engagements with other nongovernmental and government entities on human rights issues.

Representatives of the International Activities Committee (IAC) presented opportunities for ACS in the global arena to advance membership and collaborations and discussed the role and operations of international chapters. The committee discussed the status of prospective new chapters as well as the formulation of an international chapter development plan, which IAC will consider in August.

The Divisional Activities Committee chair briefed P&MR on recent discussions around ACS restrictions on capturing and disseminating images and audio of content at meetings and events, including the challenge of publicizing and enforcing current policy. Committee members suggested that the current policy was unworkable and warranted modification. A new policy will be presented to P&MR in late October. Members were briefed on the new meeting abstracts programming system and several member-related applications, including quality assurance and control plans.

The chair of the Board Task Force on National Meetings & Expositions discussed the group’s background, charge, members, and key activities since March. The results of a board survey on national meeting financial performance and registration fees were highlighted, as were initial areas of task force agreement and next steps. The task force will provide recommendations by year-end.

The Board Task Force on the ACS Network presented its final report. The committee voted unanimously to recommend a focused strategy for the ACS Network that facilitates the secure exchange of information and ideas within ACS groups and that supports the operations of those groups, including the creation of a new ACS Network Strategy/Marketing Working Group.—Barbara A. Sawrey, Chair


The Committee on Public Affairs & Public Relations (PA&PR) met in Baltimore on June 5. The chair welcomed committee members, reviewed the agenda items, and highlighted the following items:

Messages for ACS public policy priorities, encouraging committee members to use them often with policymakers, the media, colleagues, friends, and family

Governance advocacy activities that occurred since the February 2014 virtual meeting

The introduction to the committee of Susan Morrissey, new assistant director, science communications, at the ACS Office of Public Affairs (OPA)

The committee engaged in a brainstorming session with the goal of providing useful input to OPA to increase the effectiveness of ACS legislative advocacy and communications outreach with the public. After a general overview of current strategy and activities in advocacy and communications by staff, the committee and other board members broke into two separate groups, one focused on advocacy and the other on communications. The groups then came back together to report out their major ideas, concerns, and recommendations. The chair is tabulating all input and will issue a follow-up document to all committee and board members who participated in the sessions and committed to continuing the fruitful discussions at the July 28 virtual meeting.

Three new reports released—the Fifth Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the Third National Climate Assessment, and the Abrupt Impacts of Climate Change: Anticipating Surprises—all document worsening impacts of climate change nationally and globally. As a result, the chair invited two representatives from the ACS Committee on Environmental Improvement to share their perspectives on these reports and to recommend further activities ACS and its members might engage in to address these impacts. The representatives described the latest conclusions of the reports and urged ACS to increase its advocacy through substantive policy action to address climate change.

PA&PR discussed a National Historic Chemical Landmark nomination proffered by the Subcommittee on National Historic Chemical Landmarks. PA&PR voted to designate the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Beltsville Agricultural Research Center a National Historic Chemical Landmark for research leading to the isolation of phytochrome in 1959.

OPA staff gave committee members a “behind the scenes” look at how they generate significant media usage of ACS-generated videos, particularly the newly launched (January 2014) weekly “Reactions” series. Staff explained how creating an ACS YouTube channel and partnering with popular social media outlets has dramatically increased uptake and viewership of the “Reactions” videos.

To illustrate how this strategy works, staff used the most recent example of the “Reactions” bacon video that hit 100 media outlets and generated 180,000 YouTube views and a three-minute segment on NBC’s “Today Show.” In the five months of its existence, the “Reactions” video series has received 1.4 million views and has more than 15,000 subscribers, far surpassing metrics generated by the earlier “Bytesize Science” video series over a period of several years. The chair and committee congratulated staff on this innovative approach and urged continuation of this successful strategy to attract an increasing number of viewers and greater media exposure.

The chair advised the committee of follow-up items resulting from the March 2014 Dallas committee chairs breakfast and action being taken to address them. To ensure greater collaboration and leveraging of activities among committees with similar goals, the chair advised that she plans to host a breakfast meeting in August at the San Francisco national meeting that will include the Committee on Chemistry & Public Affairs (CCPA), the Committee on Public Relations & Communications (CPRC), and the Committee on Community Activities.

On the basis of discussions the chair has had with the CCPA chair, a working group of PA&PR, CCPA, and CPRC members was appointed to take a fresh look at the purpose of the ACS Public Service Award, which has existed since 1997. The chair appointed John Adams to chair the group and requested recommendations that will be considered at the committee’s December meeting. OPA will provide a staff liaison.—Kathleen M. Schulz, Chair



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