Biennial Conference on Chemical Education Committee Report, Spring 2016

The Biennial Conference is the signature event for our Division, typically having more than 1400 attendees presenting posters and papers, participating in workshops, and exploring research that can help all of us improve how well our students’ learn chemistry.  The 2016 BCCE is July 31 – August 4 at the University of Northern Colorado in beautiful Greeley, Colorado.  Richard Schwenz, Julie Smist, and Matt Miller have put together a great meeting to “elevate chemistry education to new heights”.  Early registration begins March 3rd! Visit their website at

Looking forward, our 25th Biennial Conference will be held in 2018 at the University of Notre Dame.  As Cathy Middlecamp announced, this will be the first conference were we will use the ACS MAPS system for abstract submission.  The committee appreciates the efforts of the chair-succession in negotiating with ACS to make this possible.  For the many attendees who also attend ACS meetings, this means using a familiar system for both conferences.  For the organizers (Steve Wietstock and Cate Reck) this means a much more straightforward process that will allow them to concentrate on program development rather than the mechanics of delivering the program.

The Biennial Conference Committee is also working with Heather Johnson to use the Division website for hosting future conferences.  The result will be that the Division will have these archived for maintaining our own history.  For future BCCE organizers and the committee, this also means one less negotiation with the host institution. 

In other news, the committee welcomes DivCHED Chair-elect MaryKay Orgill who will serve as our link to ExComm.  MaryKay brings personal experience as a former BCCE Program Chair and will help us establish a more efficient and effective communication with division leadership.  We anticipate that this link will be ongoing and facilitate discussion of policy issues that affect the membership and their experience of the Biennial Conference.

On that note, the committee has agreed to conduct meetings several times a year in online format in order to allow us to conduct business more efficiently without the constraint of the short meeting time typically scheduled during an ACS meeting.  Our goal is to provide organizers with the support they need to put together an outstanding meeting for the attendees.  It is a challenging and exciting task and we appreciate all the organizers who have taken it on.  As a committee, we want the process of creating a BCCE to be as easy as possible and provide the maximum benefit to the attendees, the organizers, and the host institution.

At the upcoming ACS meeting, the committee will be considering a proposal for the 2020 BCCE from a west coast institution.  We encourage folks interested in hosting the 2022 or 2024 BCCE to contact Sherril Soman ( or Bill Harwood (  We can share templates and a check-sheet to make putting the proposal together a straightforward process that covers all the bases. 

We look forward to see you at the ACS meeting in San Diego and at the BCCE in beautiful Colorado!

Bill and Sherril

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