The View from the Program Chair, Irv Levy, Spring 2013

The View from the Program Chair
Irv Levy []
CHED Program Chair, 2011-2013

As I write this note we’re about a month away from converging on New Orleans for what promises to be an exciting meeting. It will be our second consecutive meeting held in the convention center not a hotel nearby (or, all too often, distant from) the main venue of the meeting. The number of people participating in our division’s program is greater than any other meeting in the past three years with over 1,750 papers (oral and posters) in 45 sessions programmed during the week, including symposia honoring ACS national award recipients Mary B. Nakhleh (ACS Award for Achievement in Research for the Teaching & Learning of Chemistry) and Conrad L. Stanitski (George C. Pimentel Award in Chemical Education). To round out our award winners we will also honor Stephen Radice (James Bryant Conant Award in High School Chemistry Teaching) during the High School Program.

Our organizers Carmen Gauthier and Nicole Snyder have done an outstanding job, crafting a complex program that offers much for all of us who are interested in Chemistry Education. A special word of thanks goes out to Kate Anderson who is organizer for the High School Program – Kate has held leadership roles in our program for each of the past three meetings. We are lucky to have her talent and enthusiasm on our team!

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, John Michael Sophos, Beverly Johnson, and Nancy Bakowski are a great team and I very much enjoy working with them.

The organizers for our inaugural visit to Indianapolis are receiving abstracts as I write. The deadline for submission to the Indy program is April 1 (no fooling!). Julie Smist and Tyson Miller have done a great job of soliciting symposium topics to build a compelling program and Laura Slocum has put in many hours into preparation for the High School Program in Indy.

In the background, I have been participating in the ACS Abstract System Replacement Advisory Group. This team has had numerous meetings via conference call and video as we help ACS decide how to move forward with a replacement for PACS. For now, PACS is in place and will be for about one more year; however, we hope to put a replacement into action sometime during the summer of 2014 in advance of the 2015 meetings. My core requirement for the new system will be that it must makes it very much easier for organizers and program chairs to build their program. This happens in two different ways at opposite ends of the organizing timeline. First, the abstract data entered by the user must be more carefully managed to prevent common errors that should never come into the hands of the organizers in the first place. Second, once the organizer is ready to plan their program, the process should be as easy as moving rows in an Excel spreadsheet. I will be adamant that these points are key to a useful system moving forward.

Though it seems far away now is the time to be submitting your ideas for symposia to your organizers of the spring 2014 program in Dallas. Chris Jaworek and Beatriz Rios are ready and waiting for your creative ideas to come their way. The deadline for the Call for Papers for that meeting will be in the early summer so now is the time to get started.

Finally a special word of encouragement goes out to you. Yes you. The person reading these words right now. Let’s face it; if you’re reading this far into my report you either have an insatiable desire to understand what goes on in your division or you might be the perfect person to join our Program Committee and help us plan meetings in the future. Imagine your role during one of our meetings in 2015 and beyond: Denver, Boston, San Diego, Philly – you could be one of the leaders helping to craft our national meeting while imparting some of your own unique style. Do reach out to me if this sounds the least bit interesting. I can tell you that it’s very satisfying work and you will have the privilege to work with a dedicated and very interesting group of people!

Drop me a note ( with your ideas or say hello in New Orleans.

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