From the Chair, Cheryl Frech, Spring 2018

People who are not teachers sometimes ask, “How can you teach the same courses over and over? Yet those of us who teach know that a particular course is never the same, even if taught frequently and/or regularly. The students are different, you are different, and the world is different each time you and your students work your way through the course material. The work of Division of Chemical Education is similar. Although it may seem that the division does the same things every year, we make improvements in our processes and policies to benefit the wider chemical education community. And each year brings new meetings, programming, and events.

What’s new in 2018?

Have you seen our division video? Ellen Yezierski graciously agreed to be the spokesperson for CHED and worked with production staff to create an excellent short video to encourage others to join the division. You can find it on the CHED homepage, http://www.divched.org.

In our ongoing efforts to professionalize the division’s work, we have hired a firm on a trial basis to handle much of the division’s business and to assist the Board of Publication and Board of Trustees with their financial affairs. Many thanks to the team of MaryKay Orgill, Cathy Middlecamp, David Licata, Rick Moog, Julie Adams, and Anna Wilson who created a job description, interviewed firms, and finalized the contract to hire the firm.

Many hours of work also went into the revision of the division bylaws, which were recently approved and certified. In 2018 we turn to the Operations Manual, which is posted on our website under the tab, “About CHED”. Each committee will be asked to revise their portion of the Operations Manual and we will implement a plan to regularly review this document. Our member-at-large, Deanna Cullen, will lead this effort.

A glance at our most recent division eRoster shows that we have about 4390 members. In only six years, we have lost about 1000 members. The reasons behind this rather precipitous decline are certainly complex, and may also reflect the move of some pre-college members to our sister organization, the American Association of Chemistry Teachers, AACT. Nevertheless, the eRoster also shows that CHED has some 822 members who are in their first year of membership. I challenge each of you to find one of those 822 people at your regional meeting, at the 2018 ACS national meetings in Orlando or Boston, or at this summer’s BCCE at the University of Notre Dame. Ask them why they joined, and help them find a way to get involved in the division. 

In a 1675 letter to his contemporary and rival Robert Hooke, Isaac Newton states, “If I have seen further it is by standing on the shoulders of Giants”. Many “Giants” of the CHED chair succession have preceded me. Cathy Middlecamp was the immediate past chair in 2017, but there is nothing “past” about Cathy. She has boundless energy and the willingness to tackle new projects. MaryKay Orgill, my predecessor as chair, is always working at least three steps ahead. Her attention to detail and careful analysis of any problem is extremely valuable. I am grateful to both women for their support, assistance, and kindnesses.

CHED hosts a reception at 5:00 pm Sunday at the New Orleans ACS meeting. We invite you to drop in and make a personal connection.

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