View from the Program Chair, Irv Levey, Fall 2014

The summer is in full swing as I compose this note – and there is a lot of action in the programming world of the Division of Chemical Education to report to you.

We are gearing up for the 248th national meeting this August in San Francisco. Many thanks are due to Amy Cannon and Cathy Middlecamp who have assembled this impressive array of symposia for this meeting. Kate Anderson has organized a number of our high school programs in the recent past and she has done a great job again in San Francisco. I hope that you’ll be able to join us in San Francisco and, please, take the time to personally thank Amy, Cathy, and Kate for their work on your behalf.

It is often the case that the “fall” meeting has a sparser program than the “spring” meeting. That is certainly not the case in San Francisco! There is an impressive array of programming, some of which is explicitly linked to the theme “Chemistry & Global Stewardship”. We also have sessions that are designated as Presidential events. These sessions helped us make the case to locate our program in the Moscone Center in San Francisco, rather than in an adjacent hotel property.  The success in the past two spring meetings of the oral Undergraduate Research Papers, combined with the popularity of San Francisco as a destination prompted us to offer a URP session at this meeting.  We are delighted that 17 students will make a presentation.

There are a number of special events in the SF program that might interest you:

  • Advancing Chemistry and Communicating Chemistry – celebrating Bassam Shakhashiri’s 75th birthday. This day-long symposium on Monday will bring an elite group of speakers to our program in what is sure to be a lively event.
  • An International Student Summit on Global Climate Change – thanks to the dedication of Keith Peterman and Greg Foy, and support from MPPG and IAC, we will host a unique session on Tuesday at noon in Esplanade Ballroom 308. You can participate in student presentations occurring in five nations (Costa Rica, Israel, Malaysia, Poland, and US) via video linkage. Pizza & soda will be served.
  • Sustain-Mix – brings speakers from 25 of the ACS technical divisions along with three keynote speakers to discuss ways that chemists in the various divisions approach sustainability. Your program chair and Cathy Middlecamp organized this symposium. The Division has received the support of an IPG grant that, in part, will fund a luncheon reception open to all on Sunday in Moscone Center, South Building, Esplanade Ballroom 306. Come and have a bite and help us develop deeper linkages and sustainability strategies between divisions in the society. Please help us “pack the house”!

As always, there are a number of people behind the scenes who provide direct and indirect support for our programming at a national meeting. Many thanks to the ACS staff who are the ones who help us bring it all together: Robin Green, Brenda Philpot, Beverly Johnson, Vernar Beatty, Nikki Fisher and Nicole DiFabio are a great team and I very much enjoy working with them. As always Heather Johnson attends to a host of details that make the job of organizing a meeting so much more convenient. Many thanks are due to all the folks in the Division and ACS who work with our committee to produce a quality meeting.

The PACS system is officially gone as far as programming for future ACS meetings. This summer we have begun the transition to the “Meetings Abstract Programming System” that will be referred to as MAPS. I serve on the MAPS Advisory Board that selected the system and several of us from the division have participated in the testing of the new system. While there is a learning curve for any new system, the early indication is that we have made a great change. The submission of the Call For Papers for Denver was much easier with MAPS (and our ACS Liaison, Kelsey Danner) than it would have been in PACS.

Nonetheless, since MAPS will be new to all of us I strongly encourage you to submit early for the spring meeting. MAPS will open on August 25 and close for authors on November 3. We will send a number of reminders to the members but I would request that you set an informal deadline of October 27 – insuring that, if any issue causes a problem, we can resolve issues in a calm and gentle way. Your program chair and meeting co-chairs, Wayne Jones and Andy Marsh, will very much appreciate it if you submit early!

Undergraduate students comprise the bulk of our program in the spring. Please remind your students to be aware that their posters should be submitted to our division in one of the Undergraduate Research Poster categories, typically, rather than in one of the other technical divisions. Also, students who wish to make an oral presentation in the division will be able to do so through the Undergraduate Research Papers session.

Right after the abstracts close for Denver we will need to publish the Call For Papers for the August 2015 meeting in Boston. Please be thinking about your ideas for compelling symposia for that meeting, especially ones that link to the meeting theme “Innovation From Discovery to Application”. You can begin to send those ideas to me or to the meeting co-chairs Beatriz Rios-McKee and Iona Black.

Remember that my goal as the chair of your Program Committee is to make it easy for you to so “Yes, I’ll volunteer” by providing any support you might need. I look forward to working with you in the future whether it be as a symposium organizer, a meeting co-chair, or a member of the program committee. We are here to produce national meetings that serve your needs.  Please do let us know what those needs are and do consider what role you might be able to play as a volunteer. Drop me a note ( with your ideas or say hello in San Francisco!

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