The View from the Program Chair, Spring 2012

Irv Levy []
CHED Program Chair, 2011-2013

I’m composing this note in February in Massachusetts during the year that saw no winter.  I would have a hard time calibrating my seasons right now if not for the reminder that our national meeting in San Diego is right around the corner.

I’ve had the pleasure to work with a great team of organizers for the ACS meeting in San Diego. Please thank Bill Harwood and Amy Cannon for their efforts on your behalf in San Diego. A special thanks is due to Kate Anderson who will be providing a lot of onsite support in San Diego. Russ Davidson has worked diligently in his preparation of the High School Program. With the rest of you, I’m looking forward to the meeting that these folks have organized, with over 1,600 papers (oral and posters) in 39 sessions programmed during the week, including symposia honoring ACS national award recipients Diane Bunce and Loretta Jones. To round out our award winners we will also honor Roxana Allen during the High School Program.

As always, there are a number of people behind the scenes who provide direct and indirect support for the programming at a national meeting. Many thanks to the ACS staff who are the ones who bring it all together: Robin Green, Farai Tsokodayi, John Michael Sophos, and Nancy Bakowski are a great team and I very much enjoy working with them.

Though you may have thoughts of San Diego on your mind, don’t forget, the deadline for submission of abstracts for Philadelphia is the Monday after the San Diego meeting! Paul Rillema and Steven Fleming have assembled an impressive array of symposia for this meeting. Please visit to have a look at the symposia that range from Chemistry and Art to state-of-the-art symposia related to the meeting theme (Materials for Health & Medicine). The deadline for abstract submission is April 2, 2012.

Organizing a national meeting actually takes 12-18 months. Consequently, our co-chairs for the Spring 2013 meeting in New Orleans, Carmen Gauthier and Nicole Snyder, are already at work and they would be glad to hear from you if you have an idea for a symposium that you might like to organize when we return to the “Big Easy” in a 2013. The call for papers for New Orleans will come your way this summer. And, believe it or not, any day now Julie Smist and Tyson Miller will begin their work, organizing the Fall 2013 meeting in Indianapolis. Please send them your ideas for symposia at this meeting, our first national meeting in this great city.

Some news to share that may be of interest: The Program Chair is now a voting member of the DivCHED Executive Committee. This ACS Bylaw revision has been a multi-year task and many thanks are due to Julie Smist, Donald Wink, Resa Kelly, and others who led us through the process. And, of course, thanks to the membership for supporting this change. Hopefully, this will result in better communication of the needs of membership for programming at the division leadership level.

In addition to working with organizers for the upcoming national meetings, there are other items high on my agenda as chair of the Program Committee. They are, in a nutshell, a) venue selection for the national meeting, b) Internet connectivity in meeting rooms, and c) the overall volunteer experience in programming. Toward those agenda items we continue to work with ACS and others in the division to make the case that our program should be located in the convention center or in an adjacent hotel.  Likewise, I’ve become constant in the assertion that all venues for the technical program at an ACS national meeting should have free Wi-Fi connectivity. At present some venues do and some do not. It’s not uncommon for the hotels to charge an enormous fee for Internet connectivity if they do not provide it gratis. We will continue to work toward that goal. Finally, there are a number of resources that I have recently created for the use of the Program Committee that will allow the task of organizing a meeting to become more manageable. It is my hope that these resources will make it easier than ever for our members to step forward to organizer a symposium, or even the entire national meeting!

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 Diego.

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