Program Committee Report, Spring 2012

Irv Levy []
CHED Program Chair, 2011-2013

 The Program Committee’s main responsibility is to oversee the division’s technical program, start-to-finish, at the fall and spring national meetings. In working toward this goal, we interact cordially and professionally with the many people involved in programming, respond to their diverse requests in a timely manner and have to follow the protocols and enforce the rules by which all who contribute to the program must play.

Working on behalf of the division requires my interaction with many others: presenters, organizers, program chairs from other divisions, and ACS staff. A number of ACS staff members have been especially helpful in the planning of this meeting. Sincere thanks go out to:

  • Nancy Bakowski, staff member at the ACS in the Undergraduate Program Office, who worked with the undergraduate students and us to address their needs and questions
  • Farai Tsokodayi and Robin Green for help related to PACS
  • John Michael Sophos, meeting planner, who helped with our various needs prior to the meeting and on site at the Westin San Diego hotel
  • Terri Taylor for her many contributions to the CHED High School Program and oversight of the High School Task force and Marta Gmurczyk who put together and distributed the high school flyer

CHED programming at the 243rd national meeting in San Diego, March 2012


CHED meeting co-chairs: Bill Harwood and Amy Cannon
High School Chair: Russ Davidson (San Dieguito High School Academy,
Encinitas, CA)
GSSPC organizers: Timothy Mui and other students from Cal Tech

CHED Technical Program Facts

  • Total of 1666 papers were accepted, including 1304 undergraduate posters
  • Total of 39 half-day sessions are programmed for oral presentations:
    • Multi-day symposia: One     (six sessions, Research in Chem. Educ.)
    • Full-day symposia:     Eight
    • Half-day symposia:    Seventeen      
  • All oral sessions will be held at Westin San Diego Hotel
  • General Posters will be presented Sunday evening in the hotel’s Ballroom Foyer
  • Undergraduate Posters will be presented on Monday afternoon at the San Diego Convention Center (Hall D)

Comparison data





General posters

Undergraduate posters†

San Diego

Spring ‘12












Spring ‘11





San Francisco

Spring ‘10





Salt Lake

Spring ‘09











San Diego

Spring ‘05





† Includes Undergraduate Research Posters and Successful Student Chapters
‡ Includes additional poster session
Source: compiled from data at


The division is cosponsor to symposia in the following divisions at this meeting:


The division’s symposia are co-sponsored by the following divisions:



We are grateful to have received financial support for various portions of this program. Since fall of 2011 we have received continuing support ($5,000) for the High School Program from the ACS Education Division. Three corporations, Bruker, Anasazi and Agilent, supported the NMR symposium in San Diego. In addition, the GSSPC organizers have received several very generous donations in support of their sessions.

CHED programming at 244th national meeting in Philadelphia, August 2012


CHED meeting co-chairs: Paul Rillema & Steven Fleming
High School Chair: Matthew Van Kouwenberg, Science Leadership Academy,
GSSPC: Emilly Obuya and students from Binghamton University

There are currently 21 symposia listed on PACS, in addition to the undergraduate posters, general sessions, and the high school program.

PACS is open for abstract submissions and closes to authors on April 2.

General issues related to programming

1. Internet access in meeting spaces

The frequent lack of availability of Internet access in meeting spaces continues to frustrate some symposium organizers, presenters and audience. In some cities (i.e. Boston) free Wi-Fi was generally available in all venues. In other cities (i.e. Denver) free Wi-Fi was available in some ACS venues but not in others. In San Diego, free Wi-Fi connectivity is available in the Convention Center. The cost to provide Internet access in venues that do not make it available on a complimentary basis is prohibitive. Some organizers have provided their own solutions such as using a cell phone as Wi-Fi hotspot.

At this point in the development of Wi-Fi technology, it is not unreasonable to expect Internet access in all venues at ACS meetings. On behalf of the program committee we urge all of those who are able to bring this concern to the attention of decision-makers to do so.

2. Location, location, location

The placement of CHED in hotels that are not near the convention center is an ongoing issue of concern to the program committee. At this meeting, we made a number of specific requests to ACS with respect to our desire to be in or very near the convention center. We have been told that San Diego was a particularly difficult meeting from a space point of view. However, other large divisions are, in fact, in the convention center or an adjacent hotel. Again, on behalf of the program committee we urge all of those who are able to bring this concern to the attention of decision-makers to do so.

3. Continued efforts to improve the volunteer experience

As the program chair it is my desire to make it exceptionally easy for our volunteers to perform the various tasks that they must perform. Toward this end I have prepared PACS tutorial material for our organizers, guiding them through the process of finalizing their program after abstracts are submitted. I also maintain a checklist that includes deadlines for the many tasks that meeting co-chairs and symposium organizers must complete. Finally, I have prepared an online document repository so that future organizers can draw from this resource as models when they are creating their own documents for a meeting.

These resources are available at URL

4. Graduate Student Programming at National Meetings

San Diego: A group of students from California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, CA are organizing a symposium titled “Chemical Biology or Biochemistry: When two heads are better than one.”

In addition, a Graduate Student Research Forum for Chemical Education Research will be presented at this meeting.

Philadelphia: A group of students from Binghamton University are organizing this symposium, topic to be announced.

5. High School Programming

Pre-college teacher registration fee is $90 for this meeting, paid to ACS. At the meeting we are providing a lunch buffet at a cost of $43 per person plus gratuities and tax. The lunch is provided without charge to the teachers who register for the meeting. Others may purchase tickets for $45.

Currently the Division supports the travel for the high school chair(s) to attend a national meeting prior to their meeting. In San Diego, Matt Van Kouwenberg, Philadelphia high school organizer, will join us. San Diego co-chair, Russell Davidson attended in Denver. Future high school program organizers typically attend the Program Committee and High School Task Force meetings on Saturday and then participate in the high school day itself on Sunday.

A consistent difficulty exists in providing adequate lead-time for the high school program chair to become familiar with our program. This is the purpose of the division’s support of the high school teacher; however, it would be more useful to invite the teacher to attend the meeting one year prior to their own meeting. This protocol will afford the teacher adequate lead-time to prepare a program. By comparison, the meeting in San Diego occurs one week before the fall meeting in Philadelphia is to be finalized in PACS.

The Office of High School Chemistry continues to support our high school program in a number of ways. For example, they commission a flyer to be professionally produced and then send it out to local teachers (within a 200 mile radius of the meeting site). They also collect feedback from prior meetings and provide analysis for the future organizers.

Terri Taylor will again convene a meeting of the CHED/SOCED High School Programming Task force on Saturday afternoon, March 24, 2012, in San Diego. This task force is composed of the CHED program chair, the meeting co-chairs, and the high school day chairs for three meetings (the current and two future), as well as representatives from CHED, SOCED, ACS Education, the Journal of Chemical Education, and other educators with an interest in programming for high school day.  Terri reports that “The task force meets at each national meeting and spends time reviewing the current high school day program and planning for future high school day programs.”

6.  Program Planning and Coordination Conference (P2C2)

I am grateful for division support to attend the P2C2 meetings in Forth Worth, TX during January 2012.

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