Overview – I attended the 249th National Meeting of the ACS in Denver from March 20 to 26. During this time I attended the meetings of the Committee on Economic and Professional Affairs (CEPA), the CEPA Executive Committee Dinner, the CEPA Subcommittee on Public Policy (SPP), the Graduate Education Advisory Board (GEAB), and the ACS Council. I also attended the Region VI Caucus, the Presidential Town Hall, and the Western Regional Steering Committee meeting.
Council – Bryan Balazs and Allison Campbell were selected as candidates for 2016 President-Elect. Member Dues were set for 2016 at $162, using the standard formula based on CPI. The only real controversial topic was the increase proposed for registration fees for national meetings. After substantial discussion, the Council approved an advisory vote asking that the Board of Directors delay the implementation of this increased fee ($25 a year for three years) until the Board analyzes the need for this increase. Two thirds of the Councilors were in favor of this resolution.
CEPA – The following is from the official Council report:
“CEPA reported the 2014 New Graduate Survey Results which show the unemployment rate for new graduate chemists has dropped from 14.9 percent in the 2013 survey to 12.4 percent as of 2014. The drop is principally due to more new bachelor’s degree chemists finding employment. ACS members experienced three successive years of lowered unemployment, which could hint at a positive outlook for chemists in coming years. While unemployment is down, salaries have been overall stagnant.
The ACS Career Fair had 715 seekers, 27 employers, 85 positions, and 10 booths. The Virtual Career Fair had 918 seekers, 6 employers, and 38 positions. Additionally, 368 resume reviews, 218 mock interviews, and 23 Career Pathway workshops were conducted during the meeting.”
Additionally, CEPA is looking into ways to serve industrial chemists better and to understand what their needs are. 70% of ACS members are academically employed, while at least 65% of chemists are employed in industry.
CEPA also approved the extensively modified Academic Professional Guidelines.
SPP – This subcommittee, of which I am Chair, has several new members this year. Our ACS liaison, Ryan Davison, and I spent a fair amount of time orienting them on public policy initiatives within the ACS. We also spent time on the specific task of renewing the ACS Statement on Healthcare Policy, which can be found at http://www.acs.org/content/acs/en/policy/publicpolicies/invest/healthcare.html, along with other ACS Policy Statements. If you have any comments about this policy, I welcome your input.
GEAB – Individual Development Plans (IDPs) are becoming more common for graduate students in the sciences. NIH is beginning to make them a requirement for grant reporting. The ACS is looking into ways of providing tools to create such plans, which are used to plan and prepare for careers.
From the GEAB agenda book:
“A 2013 ACS survey of graduate students in the chemical sciences highlighted the need for more comprehensive career resources at the department, institution, and professional society level; only 38.8 percent of survey respondents indicated that their advisor provided information on academic careers to a “considerable” or “very great” extent, with the percentage dropping to 25.8 percent for non-academic careers.”
The ACS provides a number of tools for career planning, including the Career Navigator, ACS Career Pathways, and Preparing for Life after Graduate School, among other resources.
Summary – If you would like any more information about any of the programs mentioned in this report, or have any questions, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
by John Berg