Councilor Berg’s Report: Fall Meeting in Boston

Summary: I attended the Committee on Economic and Professional Affairs meeting and chaired the Subcommittee on Public Policy on Saturday. Monday morning was spent at the Graduate Education Advisory Board meeting, and Wednesday morning was the ACS Council meeting.

CEPA: From the report given at Council – “The committee reported that ACS ChemCensus data showed that Domestic Unemployment among ACS member chemists edged slightly upwards in the last year from 2.9% to 3.1%. Still, the current unemployment rate is lower than it was from 2009 to 2013. The ChemCensus also showed a modest salary increase year-over-year. For the first year since 2004, the percentage of ACS members working in manufacturing increased. These trends are mirrored by a slight decline in the percentage of members in academia. Other workforce categories remained relatively flat.”

CEPA continues to work on career guidance and employment policies. An updated Health Care Policy was approved in the Spring by the Subcommittee on Public Policy, and approved by CEPA at the Fall meeting. It will now go to the Board of Directors for final approval.

The Subcommittee on Public Policy looked at the issue of strategic materials from an employment point of view. China holds a monopoly on rare earths, for example, and if the supply were restricted, this would have an impact on employment and the economy in the US. SPP is looking into the possibility of an ACS policy statement addressing these issues.

Resource: Career planning –

Graduate Education Advisory Board: There was a considerable amount of discussion about graduate students’ Individual Development Plans (IDP), which are now required for NIH grants. It is expected that such plans will be required by other granting agencies in the future. The ACS is developing an IDP tool, which will be “live” by October. This online tool will assist students to generate their own development plans for incorporation into grant applications.

The Younger Chemists Committee described their next Program in a Box, Lab Safety, to be presented on 20 October 2015.

Resource: Graduate and Postdoctoral Chemist Magazine and other career information –

Council: Two major items were voted upon with very little controversy. Summary:

* On the recommendation of the Committee on Nominations and Elections, the Council VOTED to approve the Balloting and Preferential Voting Procedures for Elections of President-Elect, District Directors, and Directors-at-Large, contingent upon approval of the Petition on Preferential Voting.

* On the recommendation of the Committee on Membership Affairs, the Council VOTED to approve the Procedure for Expulsion of a Member, contingent upon approval of the Petition on Member Expulsion.

The other notable item was that National Meeting program books will not be free any longer, but will cost $10 in addition to registration fees. This generated quite a bit of controversy, but will happen nevertheless. The Society encourages use of the electronic versions of the program book.

Finally: I met with representatives of CEPA and CCPA (Committee on Chemistry and Public Affairs) about an initiative to do effective Congressional Representative visits in our section. Jan Hayes and I are in a science friendly congressional district, and we are looking for volunteers to meet with representatives in the other congressional districts within the Sacramento Section. Please contact me if you’d like to get involved in promoting the science mission to Congress.

And please let me know if you have any questions about this report –

Author: John Berg

John Berg is a Councillor for the Sacramento Section of the American Chemical Society. He serves on the Committee on Economic and Professional Affairs and chairs the Subcommittee on Public Policy.

Share This Post On