Biennial Conference Committee Report, Fall 2013

Biennial Conference Governance

For most of its history, DivCHED’s Biennial Conferences have been “governed” by a Biennial Conference Committee. Early on, this was a pretty simple task. The committee would review invitations, choose a suitable site, and step out of the way. Alas, things aren’t so simple any more. Contracts with host institutions have become complex and detailed, requiring lawyerly review to protect the Division in case something goes seriously wrong. Individual conference budgets have swollen into the half-million-dollar range, and the BCC normally deals with three upcoming conferences at any given time. With so much money involved, the Committee necessarily pays careful attention to conference accounts to minimize the Division’s financial exposure. Nowadays, the BCC also has to deal with a host of other issues ranging from liability insurance to abstract submission software to CHED branding on conference websites to Internet access for participants to…you name it.

Against this background, the Biennial Conference Committee has asked the Executive Committee of DivCHED to consider a change in the governance structure for Biennial Conferences. That request is scheduled to be considered by ExComm at its meeting in Indianapolis this September. The basic objectives are to develop a governance structure that provides more direct oversight by ExComm while introducing enough flexibility in conference planning to reduce participant costs. Stay tuned. This could be interesting.

Plan Now for Grand Valley State in 2014

The GVSU BCCE website is fully functional, and you should be able to get all your questions answered there. Go to and check out all the links. If you still have questions about how the organizers plan to “empower chemical educators for a greener tomorrow,” you can contact the Conference General Chair, Sherril Soman ( or the Program Chair, Julie Henderleiter ( Don’t be shy. They’ll be glad to hear from you. And, of course, mark your calendars for August 3 through 7 of next year.

Then Plan Ahead for Northern Colorado in 2016

Conference General Chair Richard Schwenz ( and his Program Co-Chairs, Julie Smist ( and Matt Miller (, are hard at work preparing for the hoards of chemistry educators who will make their ways to Greeley. They will be going public with all the plans shortly after the conclusion of the Grand Valley State Biennial.

And Start Thinking About 2018

By the time you read this, Steve Wietstock will have submitted a formal invitation to host the 2018 BCCE at Notre Dame. Steve has already chaired one highly successful BCCE (at Indiana in 2008), so the BCC is giving this invitation serious consideration.

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