Member-at-Large, Jimmy Reeves, Fall 2015

As reported in the last newsletter, Tom Holme has resigned as director of the ACS Examinations Institute, and I am pleased to report that Kristen Murphy, Associate Professor of Chemistry at the University of Wisconsin Milwaukee, was unanimously chosen by the Board of Trustees to be the next director of the Institute.  In her former role as Associate Director, Kristen worked closely with exam committees, ensuring that their needs were met and that exam creation proceeded in a timely manner, and oversaw research efforts designed to identify and track core concepts in chemistry as they are represented in various ACS exams.  She is eminently qualified to lead the Institute as we face the challenges and opportunities to come.   Her role as Associate Director will be assumed by Professor Jeffrey Raker of the University of South Florida. 

In order to facilitate the transfer of the Institute from Iowa State to Milwaukee, Tom Holm has agreed to serve as Assistant Director for Operations for one year, and the business office will continue to reside at Iowa State during that time.  The Board will consider the proposal, drafted by former office manager Julie Adams, to permanently locate the office off campus.  Julie has already assumed the role of Assistant Director for Online Resources and is working diligently to address the significant challenges of delivering on-line exams.  But perhaps the most significant challenge facing the Institute and its directors is the ease with which students with cell phones can compromise the integrity of our exams.  Instances of students photographing exams have been reported.  While there is no reason to believe that these instances have resulted in widespread dissemination of exams, other users of these exams have been informed of the possibility that exam security has been compromised.   Steps are also being taken to inform proctors of the dangers associated with cell phones, but the issue presents a significant challenge that will likely get worse as technology provides even more ways to secretly record the contents of exams.  Kristen is vigorously pursuing having the exams trademarked, which would substantially increase the penalties for such activities.  Nevertheless, in the end there can be no substitute for vigilance on the part of proctors who administer the exams.  On a brighter note, the Board has enthusiastically agreed to sponsor the Award for Achievement in Research for the Teaching & Learning of Chemistry, an effort spearheaded by current Division President Marcy Towns.  In addition, the Board of Publication of the Journal Chemical Education has agreed to sponsor the Conant Award, and the Division will sponsor the Pimentel Award.

The Division of Chemical Education Executive Committee continues its support for the ACS sponsored American Association of College Teachers with the appointment of Roxie Allen of Saint Johns School in Houston, Texas as our representative to the board.  A high priority of the ACS, the Association works to support high school teachers with resources and facilitates efforts to increase training and communication, as well as support for teachers to attend regional and national chemistry meetings.  The Board will also be moving ahead with work on establishing a Safety Committee and providing a more substantive structure for supporting the Biennial Conferences in Chemical Education, as well as efforts to foster leadership development.  The role of the Board in supporting the nomination of ACS Fellows will also be discussed.

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