In our efforts to work on assisting with Division efforts to provide venues for welcoming new members, since the Spring 2010 ACS meeting the NMC has been focused on the BCCE New Members brown bag welcome lunch that was held Monday, August 2, from noon-1pm. This event was announced in the BCCE program and on the NMC website.
NMC preparations for this event involved working with the BCCE organizing committee to identify a suitable time and location, requesting the e-mail addresses for committee chairs from Marcy Towns, chair of CPN, and then contacting each to request a representative from the committee to attend the event. Efforts by the NMC members ensured that we had representation from all of the DivCHED committees at the event. We also had representation from the Board of Publications, the Board of Trustees of the Examinations Institute, the Journal of Chemical Education, and the Examinations Institute. An addition to the event this year was a one page handout that gave a brief goal statement for each of the DivCHED committees and associated organizations as well as an FAQ section to facilitate new members becoming involved with the Division. The eight NMC members present at the event to help welcome and direct new members felt that this handout not only provided information for new members, but also provided a means for us to approach new members and talk to them about the Division.
We are grateful that the BCCE organizing committee arranged for first time attendees to be identified by badge holder color so that it was easy for Division members to locate them in order to provide a welcome throughout the meeting, not just at this event.
After the event the NMC held a brief meeting during which time strengths and weaknesses of the event were identified and plans were made for addressing the weaknesses at Penn State in 2012. First, we need a dedicated space that is clearly marked for the event. Second, we want to have larger signs for the tables so that they are visible from a distance. Third, while some “theme” tables are of great interest to new members (e.g., High School Committee, JCE, CER, Exams Institute, 2-Year Colleges, etc.), many new members are not sure what they are interested in and might be better served by just getting an opportunity to ask general questions about the Division and becoming involved. Last, we believe that a brief announcement at the opening ceremonies on Sunday night encouraging those who are new members/ first time attendees/ interested in learning more about DivCHED to attend the lunch would further increase the attendance at this event. We have already made contact with the organizers at Penn State regarding our space and publicity needs for this event in 2012.
We have asked all of the representatives to provide feedback to the NMC chair after the event regarding suggestions for improving the event, as well as insights into new member needs/concerns gained from being at the event. So far representatives report that the event was well attended, that new members found the personal contact and opportunity to ask questions of leaders in the division helpful, and that individual committees were able to get some useful feedback regarding their efforts. Daniel King, our web liaison, plans to post pictures of the event on the NMC website shortly.
1. Welcoming letters for new members. The NMC believes it is very important for the Division to welcome new members as they join. At the Spring 2010 meeting it was noted that in the past welcome letters were sent when people joined the Division, but this did not appear to be happening any longer. As such, we proposed sending a welcome email to new members. The NMC has tried to send out these emails on a monthly basis by dividing up the work; however, there have been some consistency issues. As such we would like to request that the Division Secretary send a welcome email to all of the new members each month. We have included a draft of an email below.
Greetings and welcome to the ACS Division of Chemical Education!
We have just received your name on a list of people who have joined the Division over the past year, and want to personally welcome you on behalf of DivCHED. If you have not done so already, I would encourage you to take a look at the division's web site (http://www.divched.org) to see some of the things going on in the division. In particular, the New Member Committee is charged with helping new members get oriented to the division and to engage in division activities. Their web page provides suggestions for ways that you can begin to get involved in the Division as well as contact information for the committee members who are always more than willing to talk to new members about their needs, questions, or concerns.
If you are a Facebook user, you may also be interested to know that the division has a Facebook group as well, with almost 200 participants at the present time. You can find the page by entering Facebook, searching on "ACS Division of Chemical Education" and requesting to join.
Again, welcome to the division!
2. A great deal of our communication with new and current members is done electronically, most notably through the web site. However, the current form of committee web pages makes it very difficult for the NMC to direct new members to the web page for more information regarding committees and activities. We would like to request that the Division makes the web page redesign a priority. We offer the NMC site as a possible template for other committees and believe that a reasonable time frame would be to have the committee pages redesigned by the Spring 2011 ACS meeting.