The Journey of Change, Editorial, Susan C. Nurrenbern, Immediate Past-Chair, Fall 2011

Welcome to the first total electronic edition of the CHED Newsletter. The decision to discontinue publication in paper format was part of the CHED Executive Committee’s response toward resolving the impact that a variety of issues and events had on Division operations. At this time the journey to respond to the cultural changes generated by electronic opportunities for rapid and widespread communication has just begun. Please bear with me to review how this journey began, where we are in the journey at this time, and plans for where the journey may take us.

Planning for the Journey

The decision to discontinue paper publication of the CHED Newsletter was made as part of an overall review of Division activities and a consideration of how the Division could best leverage its resources to meet the needs of its members. Discussions and decisions were made within an overall context of the issues and situations that directly affected the Division operations and programs. The following issues, documents, and situations guided the discussion and review.

  • CHED Strategic Plan
  • Journal of Chemical Education (JCE) editorship move to the University of Iowa 
  • JCE and ACS Publications joint agreement to publish JCE
  • Outreach Task Force Report to the CHED Executive Committee 
  • Division Office Task Force Report to the CHED Executive Committee
  • Information from workshops pertinent to fiduciary and legal issues for nonprofit organizations
  • CHED overall budget

The CHED Executive Committee met in Chicago for a two-day retreat to evaluate the status of its programs and explore ways to facilitate the process of maximizing communication with CHED members about Division and professional opportunities. Executive Committee made the decision to hire a half-time executive assistant to facilitate timeliness and continuity of communications as well as completion of routine Division tasks. This decision affected the Newsletter as well as other long-standing components of CHED (e.g., website, outreach) activities. 

Heather Johnson, Executive Assistant

The CHED Executive Committee hired Heather Johnson to fill the half-time executive assistant position. Heather works as an independent contractor for the CHED Executive Committee and reports to the current CHED Chair with the immediate Past-Chair as backup.

Current Status of the Journey

Heather has been onboard since January 1, 2011 and as expected, the beginning phase of this journey involved a great deal of learning in a short amount of time. Heather has been learning about CHED, what the Division provides for its members, how the governance structure functions, and how to work with Division members, committee chairs and ACS staff when planning national meetings. Part of Heather’s review of CHED activities and materials has generated her suggestions for improvement in some areas such as changing to an updated, user-friendly website design program. Heather provided alternate suggestions for hosting the Division website in order to move away from dependence on university resources for maintenance and access. We can now follow the ACS Division’s of Chemical Education groups on Facebook as a result of Heather’s initiatives. You are encouraged to join the group and check for updates regularly.

At the beginning of this journey, attention to CHED Outreach was delayed until the JCE working relationship with ACS Publications was clarified and a review of JCE staff job descriptions was accomplished. The JCE/ACS Publications agreement involved publication of the Journal only. The ancillary materials and services that were developed and evolved under the JCE umbrella (e.g., JCE software, Outreach) were not part of the publishing agreement and became issues that the Division had to address. Heather has been learning about Outreach, identifying potential outreach resources, in addition to where and how members can get these resources.

Future Plans for the Journey

The major part of the plan is to utilize the momentum, energy and enthusiasm that Heather has brought to her position to maintain the strengths of the Newsletter. Heather has indicated that she hopes to implement an automated Newsletter and messaging system in the future.

Procedures to move the CHED website to a commercial server, use a new website program for website design, and update the look and feel of the CHED Website by increasing the visual friendliness are in progress.

Although no formal discussion of a new or modified vision for an Outreach program has been held, it appears that the work Heather has done in this area will lead to a resumption of some form of Outreach.

Heather plans to maintain the ACS Division of Chemical Education group on Facebook and encourages all of you to use that option to share ideas, ask questions, and stay in touch with your chemical education colleagues and the Division.

Heather would like to receive your input and feedback, including photos*, regarding needs, suggestions, and activities in order to maintain a freshness and utility of information and services available to CHED members. Your input and participation will help CHED continue to be an outstanding technical division of the American Chemical Society.

*Care must be taken to obtain permission in order for CHED to post or use photos of individuals.

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