Large and Thriving: New Outreach and New Opportunities, Arlene Russell, Immediate Past Chair, Spring 2012

The American Chemical Society places our Division of Chemical Education in the "Large" category. It is appropriate; at the end of 2011, we had over 5000 members in who cross-cut all other areas of the ACS. Nonetheless, despite all our diverse chemistry interests we share a common commitment—to further and improve chemistry education. In the Fall newsletter I wrote about three new Division task forces set up to address new opportunities for different segments of our community. All three groups have made impressive progress. Their work reinforces my belief in the strength and commitment of our Chemical Education community and I want to take the opportunity in this space to highlight how their efforts are reaching out in new ways to you.

Charged in September 2010, and based on a fruitful launch in Anaheim last year, the Younger Chemistry Education Scholars (YCES) task force submitted a proposal to the ACS Council Committee on Divisional Activities (DAC). Their successful Innovative Projects Grant for Divisional Enhancement (aka an IPG) will provide seed money for the year so they can grow and begin to sustain this new cohort of Division members. As an initial activity to build this community, the task force will sponsor a lunch for graduate students and postdocs involved or interested in chemical education research at the national meeting in San Diego. Watch for announcements on the Division website for time and location. During 2011, the smaller task force also reached out to the Younger Chemists Committee and have begun to collaborate with them; they have found that there are many opportunities for the two to mutually support those chemists who are beginning their careers. Last year, the YCES table became a go-to place at the Graduate and Postdoctoral Scholars reception at the National meetings. Be sure to attend this free reception if you are in San Diego and stop by the YCES area. Even if you are not able to attend the meeting send me a note if you would like to be connected to the Division through YCES or any other committee. (Alternatively, you can link to the committee membership application under the Membership button in the top menu bar of the Division website.)

Our second successful task force was formed at the Anaheim meeting. Kudos to the councilors and alternate councilors of the Division! In less than a year since I charged them to develop guidelines and policy for a Division travel award program they have completed their work. They brought a draft of the award criteria and application to the Denver ACS meeting where we devoted essentially all of the Executive Committee open session to this topic. I thank all of you who took time to attend that meeting and contributed your thoughts. The final award document is far improved by your input. The award is now in place and every member of the Division should have received an e-mail notice in February about the availability of the award and the application information. I am grateful to all the committee, but especially to Ellen Yezierski who chaired the task force, for its work in bringing into fruition a goal I had set for my year as your Division chair.

Finally, great strides are being made to meet the needs of pre-college chemistry teachers with our third task force. The joint CHED-SOCED task foce chaired by former Division chair Sue Nurrenburn, has completed its work in less than six months! Their recommendations emanating from the charge to "explore avenues for creating a chemistry teachers' affiliation or association under the ACS umbrella to meet the needs of teachers of chemistry at the middle and high school levels" will be discussed and voted on by both SOCED and CHED in San Diego. Again our open session of the Executive Committee on Saturday afternoon in San Diego will be devoted to this important report. Please attend and share your thoughts with us. The time and place for the meeting will be found on the agenda, which will be posted on the web site before the meeting. We look forward to hearing from you.

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