Message from the Chair, Stacey Lowery Bretz, Spring 2021

Stacey Lowery Bretz, 2021 DivCHED Chair

Greetings from Ohio! As I write this, the last of the snow has melted away, and spring may well be just around the corner. Given that we’ve now endured this pandemic for a full year, spring and its renewals are more meaningful than ever before. Some of you may have already gotten your vaccine(s), and others of us are still waiting. But your elected leaders for the Division of Chemical Education have been working hard throughout the pandemic to stay engaged with our members and to reckon with what seems like ever-changing fiscal realities. Below is a summary of just some of the happenings since our last newsletter – highlights of what our members and leadership have been moving forward, congratulations, and thank yous. Please be sure to read the entirety of our newsletter for more detailed updates on many of these!

Stacey Lowery Bretz

Thank You!
I must begin with a heartfelt THANK YOU to both Irv Levy and to Dawn DelCarlo for their exceptional leadership. Irv completed his 3-year term in the Chair Succession, and I offer my sincere thanks, Irv, for all you’ve done to grow and improve our community. Dawn completed her year of service as Chair, and will serve as Immediate Past Chair during 2021. Last year was the most unusual one we’ve ever had as a Division, and Dawn stepped up and provided exceptional leadership with detailed, frequent communication and making sure we still carried out essential governance functions via Zoom and email. Mere words are inadequate to capture the gratitude of the entire membership of CHED for Dawn’s leadership, but humbly, we say, thank you, Dawn!

Please take a moment to welcome colleagues to their new (or reappointed) roles here in the Division of Chemical Education! Thanks to all for generously offering your leadership! If you’re looking to get involved in DivCHED by offering your time and talents, please click here for information on how to volunteer.

  • Vicente Talanquer begins a 3 year term in the Chair Succession as our new Chair-Elect. Vicente and I got straight to work in 2021 by attending the ACS Leadership Institute, which is now structured with a January kick-off weekend and then continuous professional development throughout the year.
  • Rick Moog is our new Treasurer, and Blue Moon Consulting now provides our controller & bookkeeping services.
  • Alex Grushow and Thomas José were both reappointed to the Exams Institute Board of Trustees for 3 year terms.
  • Maria Oliver-Hoyo is the new Chair of the Board of Publication, while Deborah Herrington and Thomas Bussey will serve 3 year terms on BOP overseeing the Journal of Chemical Education and ChemEd Xchange.
  • Roxie Allen and Clarissa Sorensen-Unruh begin terms as CHED Councilors, and Steven Fleming and Marty Perry have been elected Alternate Councilors.

Virtual Committees, Business Meeting, & Social
As you’ve no doubt gathered by now, all DivCHED committee meetings associated with the spring 2021 ACS National Meeting are taking place virtually. Please click here for information on how to register to receive the zoom link(s) for the meetings you wish to attend. Please note that both our CHED Business Meeting – where the slates for fall elections will be shared and nominations accepted from the floor – and our CHED Social will take place virtually on Sunday, March 21, starting at 5:30 pm (business meeting), with the Social immediately following.

Please note that all DivCHED committee meetings associated with the fall 2021 ACS National Meeting will also take place virtually. While ACS is planning for a hybrid meeting in Atlanta, and we all sincerely hope that our vaccines will be in our arms by then, it’s challenging to plan ahead for when we might be able to fly. Therefore, for planning purposes, the Chair succession (Dawn Del Carlo, Vicente Talanquer, and I) decided that our fall governance meetings would also take place virtually. We sincerely hope that spring 2022 finds us all gathered together, face-to-face, in warm, sunny San Diego!

Harassment Free Meetings
ACS has released detailed guidance on appropriate conduct of its members and volunteers at all meetings (national meetings, regional conferences, Division and Local Section meetings, committee meetings, etc.). The DivCHED Executive Committee will discuss how to improve our compliance with these guidelines at the session of our spring 2021 governance meeting. Please click here to read more about this important initiative.

Finances & Funding
The Divisional Activities Committee (DAC) has proposed a new (but transitional) formula for allocation of ACS dues to the 32 technical divisions. Please click here for detailed information, and then reach out to our CHED Councilors (Roxie Allen, Dan King, Sally Mitchell, and Clarissa Sorensen-Unruh), Alternate Councilors (Laura Anna, Rachel Morgan Theall, Steven Fleming, and Marty Perry), and your Local Section Councilors to let them know your thoughts before they vote at the spring Council meeting.

Under the leadership of Cathy Middlecamp, the CHED Finance Committee has improved the division budget as expenses have historically exceeded revenue. Our new treasurer, Rick Moog, and Blue Moon Consulting (who provide our Controller and Bookkeeping functions) are quickly improving our ability to read out budgets by separating out our annual operating expenses from those supported by endowments. And a new Investment subcommittee will bring fresh eyes to how we invest and use our endowed division resources. The work of Cathy, Rick, and the rest of the Finance Committee is greatly appreciated for their leadership and stewardship!

Not only did we sign a new contract with Blue Moon Consulting as our bookkeeper & controller, but we also renewed our contracts with

  • John Michael Sophos as our Meeting Planning Partner for the BCCEs. (We expect to sign a contract with ACS to renew our use of MAPS (the ACS Abstract system) within the coming weeks.)
  • Heather Johnson as our Executive Assistant

Executive Assistant
And speaking of Heather Johnson, our creative and talented Executive Assistant – she deserves a continuous and hearty thank you for all she does to keep DivCHED organized and focused! When the pandemic sent us all reeling, Heather figured out how to keep us together with Zoom. She’s completely rebuilt our CHED website (click around to check it out!) and is continuously updating committee membership, operations manuals, good news, and important announcements. She’s rebuilding our CHED Google Drive so we can keep track of all our important documentation and processes. And Heather is the one who put together this newsletter that you’re reading right now! Heather is the constant north star for CHED as our volunteer leaders come and go. Please take a moment in the next few days to send Heather a thank you note at!

National Awards
The ACS National Awards Banquet will be held virtually on Friday, April 9, 2021 at 8pm (EST). Please congratulate our own CHED Chair-Elect, Vicente Talanquer, for this important recognition by his peers as winner of the ACS Award for Achievement in Research for the Teaching & Learning of Chemistry. Congratulations, Vicente!

I also wanted to provide the CHED community with an update on the George C. Pimentel Award in Chemical Education. The Division of Chemical Education has been a co-sponsor of this award for many years. However, the cost of cosponsorship had significantly increased, and given our budget constraints, the Executive Committee of DivCHED made the difficult decision to withdraw our co-sponsorship. Until such time as a sponsoring organization steps forward to cover the costs of the award, ACS has decided that the Pimentel Award will not be awarded.

Happy Birthday!
And… last but certainly not least….Happy 100th Birthday to the Division of Chemical Education! 2021 marks exactly one century for DivCHED! Irv Levy and Patrick Daubenmire (Program Chair) are co-organizing a celebratory symposium for the fall 2021 meeting to mark this momentous occasion, look backward on all we’ve accomplished, and challenge us to look ahead and keep growing!