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ACS divisions are here to support you

by Rodney Bennett, Chair, ACS Committee on Divisional Activities
September 4, 2017 | A version of this story appeared in Volume 95, Issue 35

Credit: Picture People Studios
Photo of Rodney Bennett.
Credit: Picture People Studios

Another year has come and gone since the ACS Committee on Divisional Activities (DAC) updated you on activities within and for the ACS divisions. Thanks to our dedicated and innovative ACS members, the state of the divisions remains strong and growing.

ACS divisions, along with ACS journals, are the subject matter engines that drive the science within the society. Divisions are charged with the majority of the programming for the national and regional meetings and represent a foundation in which chemical disciplines can find a continuous and strategically focused group of scientists with similar chemical interests.

ACS remains an authority on chemical scientific information, and this information is distributed around the world by our divisions through scientific conferences, ACS journals, webcasts, and various media resources. Many of our divisions have overlapping programs, and rather than competing, they complement and strengthen the ability of ACS to remain a resource for peer-reviewed scientific information.

DAC continues to focus on our three main goals: (1) Enhance communication between DAC and ACS divisions, as well as among the divisions; (2) increase the percentage of ACS members who belong to at least one division to 66% by 2020; and (3) enhance collaboration and networking among divisions.

In the past year, DAC has catalyzed additional cooperation between the various divisions, local sections, regional meetings, and international groups. We are working on ways to incorporate incentives into the allocation formula that provides funding to the ACS divisions that engage regionally and internationally. New resources on making connections with programming among the divisions have been added to the DAC website.

Divisions can help you master difficult professional challenges and produce at a level that keeps your career moving forward.

A third of our divisions have completed formal ACS strategic planning and have already seen dramatic benefits. Many of these divisions have greatly improved their communication and outreach programs as well as attracted more members to their divisions.

We often don’t recognize that we are in a box. Our personal box defines much of our activity and can be a limiting factor to our growth and sustainability. Divisions also have their defined boxes. Are we willing to step out of the box to seek new opportunities? If so, we need to strategically plan how we are going to seek these new opportunities while maintaining existing activities that routinely provide value to division members. DAC fully supports these efforts and is happy to connect your division with our ACS strategic programming resource team.

If you are a member of one or more divisions, we hope that you will actively engage with the division. If you are not a member of at least one division, why not? Give our divisions a chance to grow with you. You are a vital resource and have a lot to contribute. The divisions provide networking opportunities and information resources that you may use for your professional and personal growth. Upon joining ACS, you can choose one division membership for free.

DAC is investigating additional ways to make it easier to find information about the divisions. We want you to find your home within our rich and varied family of technical and professional divisions. Membership in most divisions annually costs less than a few cups of coffee. Use the coffee to get you going each morning, and use the divisions to connect you to the people and the information that will advance your career for years to come.

ACS divisions have a rich history of helping chemists at all stages of their careers understand where their discipline has been, where it is today, and most importantly, where it is headed.

Chemists today operate in an intensely competitive, unrelenting, and dynamic environment. Divisions can help you master difficult professional challenges and produce at a level that keeps your career moving forward. If you belong to a division, engage more fully with it. Let your division leadership know how they can be of greater value to you.

From my conversations with division leaders, I know they are eager to hear from you. If you don’t belong to a division, join one. With 32 divisions covering disciplines from agricultural and food chemistry to small chemical businesses, there is at least one that can help you be a better chemist—and that you can help become a better division.

To learn more about ACS technical divisions, visit

Views expressed are those of the author and not necessarily those of C&EN or ACS.



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