Task Force Update, Spring 2012

Division of Chemical Education (DivCHED)/Society Committee on Education (SOCED) Task Force for the Exploration of a Chemistry Teachers Association

Sue Nurrenbern [nurrenbe@purdue.edu], Shelly Belleau, César Garza, Jeff Hepburn, Diane Krone, Laura Slocum, Mike McGinnis, Don Wink, Lee Latimer, Jason Ritchie, Terri Taylor, Marta Gmurczyk, Michael Mury

Note:  The official name of the Task Force was not correct in the previous Newsletter.  The correct name is as shown in the title of this report.

Task Force Report and Subsequent Procedures
The Task Force met on December 3, 2011 to address the mission statement of our task:  “to explore avenues for creating a chemistry teachers association or affiliation under the ACS umbrella that would meet the needs of middle and high school teachers.”   The Task Force prepared a final report as a result of the work accomplished at the meeting and the report has been forwarded to the Executive Committee of the DivCHED and SOCED for their discussion, review, and action at the San Diego meetings.  These meetings will be at the end of March 2012 and, hopefully, will result in a proposal to send to the American Chemical Society.

The Task Force report is a preliminary step in a process meant to refine, clarify, and implement the Task Force vision.  Discussion at all levels will add sophistication and workable solutions that fit within the ACS By-Laws structure and comply with necessary legal issues. 

The Task Force has put forth the following vision for an organization to meet the needs of teachers of chemistry as the future unfolds in its report.

Task Force Vision for An Association of Chemistry Teachers
The Task Force's vision is that an Association of Chemistry Teachers would strive to build a community of teachers anchored in part by the current and successful programs and activities of CHED and the ACS Division of Education. The Task Force recognizes that a variety of communication methods are needed to reach out and engage teachers of chemistry as they seek answers to their questions.  An Association of Chemistry Teachers would continue to support and develop useful programs at national, regional and local section ACS meetings to maintain the need for physical, personal contact among teachers of chemistry. In addition, the establishment of an Association of Chemistry Teachers in the current electronic world necessitates that a user friendly, on-line central source of high quality teaching and learning resources for chemistry teachers be created and sustained.

Success of this organization will depend on commitment, dedication, and input of the chemical education community at all levels.  Extensive and continued cooperation between CHED and the ACS Education Division at all times will be necessary.

In order to build this community of chemistry teachers the Task Force sees the following features as being critical for success.

  1. A well-organized web presence. Quality, relevancy, and indexing were identified as a value added for a chemistry teachers association web site. A strong online presence also enhances the ability to connect with a broader base and allows for the participation of the international community.
  2. Webinars as a mechanism for connecting individuals and classrooms; they are also a possible mechanism for delivering professional development.
  3. Involvement of local ACS sections
  4. Involvement of pre-service educators (and those who prepare them)
  5. Accessibility to and inclusivity for teachers who do not have a background in chemistry
  6. Visible benefits
  7. Incentives to join (at least early in the existence of the organization)
  8. Professional Development B virtual and physical
  9. Staff support

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