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For District II Director: George M. Bodner

September 12, 2016 | A version of this story appeared in Volume 94, Issue 36

Purdue Section. Purdue University, West Lafayette, Ind.

Academic record: State University of New York, Buffalo, B.S., 1969; Indiana University, Ph.D., 1972

Honors: Morrill Land-Grant University Award for Outstanding Achievements in Research, Teaching & Service, Purdue University, 2013; James Flack Norris Award for Outstanding Achievement in the Teaching of Chemistry, ACS Northeastern Section, 2010; Royal Society of Chemistry Fellow, 2010; ACS Fellow, 2009; Clifford C. Furnas Distinguished Alumni Award, the University at Buffalo, SUNY, 2003; Nyholm Medal, Royal Society of Chemistry, 2003; Pimentel Award in Chemical Education, ACS, 2003; Founding Fellow, Purdue Teaching Academy, 1997; Catalyst Award in Chemical Education, Chemical Manufacturers Association, 1989; Distinguished Professor,Transylvania University, 1989; Distinguished Professor, Xi’an Jiaotung University, 1985; NASA Predoctoral Fellow, 1969–72; NSF Predoctoral Fellow, 1968; 10 teaching awards at the department, college, and university level, Purdue University; Alpha Chi Sigma; Phi Lambda Upsilon

Professional positions (for past 10 years): Purdue University, Arthur E. Kelly Distinguished Professor of Chemistry, Education & Engineering, 2000– , professor, 1989–2000, associate professor, 1981–89, assistant professor, 1977–81

Service in ACS national offices: Board of Directors, District II, director, 2011–16; councilor, ex officio, 2011–16; Board Committee on Grants & Awards, 2011–16, chair, 2016; Society Committee on Education, 2015–16, committee associate, 2015–16, 1993; Board Awards Review Committee, chair, 2012–15; Board Committee on Public Affairs & Public Relations, 2011–15; Committee on Ethics, 2009–11, committee associate, 2007–08; Committee on Publications, 2000–08, committee associate, 1999; Committee on Divisional Activities, 1987–92, committee associate, 1986

Service in ACS offices:Chemical Education Division: immediate past-chair, 2013; chair, 2012; chair-elect, 2011. Purdue Section: councilor, 1985–2010; chair, 1983; chair-elect, 1982; vice chair, 1981; secretary-treasurer, 1978–81. Great Lakes Regional Meeting: chair, 1985. Biennial Conference on Chemical Education: treasurer and exhibits chair, 2006; cochair, 1988

Member: Member of ACS since 1969. American Association of Chemistry Teachers, American Association for the Advancement of Science, Royal Society of Chemistry, National Association for Research in Science Teaching, Association for Science Teacher Education, Phi Lambda Upsilon, Sigma Xi. ACS Division: Chemical Education

Related activities:Chemistry Education Research & Practice, associate editor, 2004– ; Journal of Science Teacher Education, associate editor, 2006–10; Journal of Research in Science Teaching, associate editor, 1993–98; organized and/or chaired 30 symposia at ACS meetings; program chair for chemical education for the 241st ACS National Meeting (Anaheim, 2011), 233rd ACS National Meeting (Chicago, 2007), and 201st ACS National Meeting (Atlanta, 1991); published 150 papers, eight textbooks, and a book on research methods in discipline-based educational research; presented 516 papers at technical conferences and more than 575 invited lectures, including almost 200 talks at ACS local section meetings

Bodner’s statement

Six years ago, I began my position statement with a famous quote from Dickens: “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times. …” Little did I know how perceptive this quote would be for my term on the ACS Board of Directors.

I still maintain that in many ways it is the best of times for ACS. Every time I work with ACS staff, I am impressed by their exceptional levels of competence and commitment to the society. This combination is something one might expect from the executive leadership team that reports to the executive director and CEO, but it extends far beyond this group to characterize ACS staff at all levels. And it has been the basis upon which extraordinarily productive interactions between staff and members of the board have been built in recent years.

The good news about the past few years is the unanimity of purpose exhibited by the board of directors in the development of a strategic plan that is far more than a pleasant set of phrases printed on cards that fit in one’s wallet, but a true commitment to vitally important strategic themes that guide decisions about what projects and programs the society will fund.

From my biased perspective, the best news in recent years has been the commitment by the society to fund the creation of the American Association of Chemistry Teachers (AACT) and then the enthusiastic support of AACT by so many ACS members. As we noted when the creation of AACT was first proposed, the society used to do things to K–12 teachers, then for K–12 teachers; at long last, we are doing things with K–12 teachers. Nothing I have done since joining the society in 1969 has given me as much pleasure as being able to walk into the High School Day program at a national ACS meeting several years ago and tell the participants that the board had funded the creation of a new organization to be run by K–12 teachers of chemistry for K–12 teachers of chemistry.

Programs such as Project SEED, the ACS Scholars Program, AACT, the ACS Science Coaches program, and a host of other efforts are going to help us ensure a future in which the chemistry enterprise continues to make major contributions to solving so many of the problems the world faces. And these efforts are particularly important in what some of our members see as the “worst of times,” when the term “retrenchment” does not begin to describe what is happening to the careers chemists have undertaken since a group of 35 individuals met on April 6, 1876, to create what has become the world’s largest scientific society.

There is another famous quote that has been attributed to a disparate group of individuals that includes Niels Bohr, Mark Twain, and Yogi Berra: “It is difficult to make predictions, especially about the future.” I disagree; it is easy to make predictions. What is difficult is making accurate predictions of the future. Over the short term, I will posit that the society needs to become more flexible, more able to adapt to rapid change. It has to fight to ensure recognition of the role chemistry can play in solving many of the problems the world faces. It also has to be willing to take on difficult tasks, such as rethinking the role that local sections, divisions, and other groups within the society will fulfill and how they will meet the challenges we face. The good news is that the members of the ACS Board of Directors have demonstrated the ability to work well with each other in recent years, and they are ready to tackle the difficult questions about how to best adapt to the forces that shape society as a whole. They also have a realistic view of what can be done. The board cannot magically create new job opportunities for chemists, or reduce the unacceptable levels of unemployment we’ve recently experienced. But we can provide information that helps chemists understand new career opportunities that arise as well as provide the framework for networking that helps our members build successful careers.

Once again, I would like to thank the members of District II for having faith in my ability to represent them as a member of the board of directors. I hope to have the opportunity to continue working with the board on the issues ACS will face as we look into the future.

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