At Large Delegate, Jimmy Reeves, Fall 2012

Let me start by apologizing because this is the first article I’ve written as the At Large Delegate, serving on both the Executive Committees for the ACS Exams Institute and the Division. Sadly, due to a previous commitment and a tropical storm, I was forced to miss my first two Division meetings (in Anaheim and Denver) and one of the Exams Institute meetings (also Denver), but I dove right into the fun in San Diego, and I’m looking forward to Philadelphia this August. It is a privilege to be involved in the discussions and decisions that affect all of our lives as chemical educators, and to support initiatives such as the Chemistry Teachers’ Association(CTA), which will be an independent entity of the American Chemical Society that supports high school teachers and will (hopefully) be run substantially by them. The Division plans to be heavily involved in the establishment of the organization and to provide significant collaborative support. I was also pleased to support changes in the travel reimbursement structure designed to provide total reimbursement for travel and two nights’ accommodations for those appointed or elected to executive committees, so chemical educators chosen to serve will not incur a financial burden. I hope this broadens enthusiasm for such service and makes it possible for members at institutions with modest to nonexistent travel budgets to become involved. On a related note, the Executive Committee of the Exams institute voted to invite exam committee chairs and members who have served on several exam committees to attend Executive Board meetings so they can be exposed to the vital work of the Executive Committee and potentially develop an interest in serving. It is vital to the health of the Institute and the Division that we expand the pool of chemical educators willing to lend their expertise and ideas to help guide its future.

Of special interest to me is the effort on the part of the Exams Institute to move to computerized testing. In addition to moving traditional tests to an on-line format, work to create the first ACS exam designed for an on-line environment will come to fruition with the release of the ACS General Chemistry Laboratory Exam, a scenario-based test that includes video and expands the types of question that can be asked in a nationally normalized exam. I am hopeful that this effort will pave the way for future exams in all disciplines to use media, multiple question types and interactive tools, thereby enabling alternatives to the traditional four question multiple choice format. I applaud Tom Holm for having the vision and the Board for providing the resources needed to break this new ground. Look for the release of the Laboratory Exam sometime in the Fall.

The experience of serving in the At Large Delegate has been both eye opening and exciting. I hope each of you will consider becoming more involved in service to the Division.

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