I feel honored to be writing this first article as your Member at Large delegate. I appreciate the nomination and appointment and I look forward to serving in this position. I would like to extend my thanks to Jimmy Reeves for his past six years of service as Member at Large and wish him the best as he transitions into retirement. Jimmy was kind to offer me guidance and suggestions that I am sure will help me as I transition to this new role.
Part of my position includes a seat on the Board of Trustees of the ACS Examinations Institute. This past year, we have followed the transition of the Exams Institute into a true small business (non-profit) operation. The intellectual property development operation is now managed by Kirsten Murphy, the Director of the Institute, at the University of Wisconsin in Milwaukee. Julie Adams manages the business operations side in Berthoud, CO. This is a pivotal time for the Institute and I look forward to being more directly involved.
Over the past few years, the BCCE organizing committee and the Executive Committee have worked to formalize the structure of the growing conference. ExComm voted at the Fall 2016 ACS meeting to hire a Meeting Planning Partner for a two-year term to work with the BCCE organizing committees. The two-year term was to begin January 31, 2017. This will hopefully lighten the load of BCCE organizers and promise an exceptional experience for the conference attendees. The 25th BCCE will be held during the summer of 2018 in Indiana at the University of Notre Dame. Speaking of conferences, ChemEd 2017 will be held in Brookings, SD at South Dakota State University July 23 -27. The conference organizers have announced that Andy Brunning, Bassam Shakhashiri and Lee Marek will speak at the conference.
As announced previously, the Journal of Chemical Education and ChemEd X have endowed the James Bryant Conant Award in High School Chemistry Teaching and the Exams Institute has endowed the ACS Award for the Achievement in Research for the Teaching and Learning of Chemistry. The permanent sponsorship of these two prestigious awards begins with the presentations at the San Francisco meeting. Since the Division also supports the Pimentel Award, the Division is sponsoring three awards for 2017. I would also like to remind our members that in 2006, the Division established an endowment to underwrite an Awards Program designed to recognize, encourage and inspire outstanding teachers of high school chemistry in the ten Regions of ACS. As a high school teacher myself, I have met hundreds of exemplary chemistry teachers, but it has been brought to my attention that the number of nominations received in many of those regions is very small. I encourage those of you that are involved with high school teachers to support this program by taking the time to nominate worthy candidates and also make your local sections more aware of these awards. You can find information about all of the award programs on the Division website. I am proud to be a member of a Division that has made such large financial commitments toward recognizing those involved with chemical education.
On a sad note, I want to note the passing of our friend, Jeff Hepburn, of Urbandale, IA. Jeff passed on February 23rd after a courageous battle with cancer. He was 61. Jeff was an active member of the Division of Chemical Education and served in many leadership roles. He retired from teaching high school chemistry, including AP chemistry and IB chemistry, in 2012. He will be sorely missed.
I am looking forward to attending the ACS meeting in San Francisco and to be more formally involved in discussions and decisions that affect Division membership and chemical education. I hope you will feel comfortable reaching out to me if you have any questions or comments.