You are here

2005 Fall ConfChem: Current Status and Future Directions

10/14/05 to 10/17/05
Professor Morton Z. Hoffman Chair, Division of Chemical Education, American Chemical Society Department of Chemistry, Boston University 590 Commonwealth Avenue, Boston, MA 02215 e-mail:


The CHED Executive Committee (ExecComm) has organized this online conference to enable participants to examine the current status of the Division and explore the directions it might take in the future. ExecComm recognizes that few CHED members and other interested parties are able to (or wish to) attend its meetings on Saturday mornings at the ACS national meetings; this conference gives everyone a chance to be part of the discussion and to be heard. ExecComm welcomes all comments and suggestions.

The papers of this conference will be reprinted in the CHED Newsletter and will be linked on the CHED website. A distillation of the discussion, which will be fully archived on this website, will be transmitted to ExecComm for further discussion and implementation at its next meeting in Atlanta on March 25, 2006, and will be further disseminated.

The CHED ExecComm consists of fifteen members of whom thirteen are chosen by the members of the Division at the annual elections: Chair, Chair-Elect, Immediate Past Chair, Secretary/Councilor, Treasurer, Member-at-Large, Councilors (3), Alternate Councilors (4); the Editor of the Journal of Chemical Education and the Director of the ACS Examinations Institute are also members of ExecComm.

Conference Articles

Abstracts of Papers:

Morton Z. Hoffman
Department of Chemistry, Boston University
Boston, MA 02215


The Division of Chemical Education (CHED) is one of the 33 technical divisions within the ACS.  Its mission is to serve and enhance the interests and efforts of all who are involved in the teaching and learning of chemistry at every level.  Its goal is to provide a common ground for teachers and students of chemistry to examine chemical education in its broadest sense through its committee and governance structure, website, Newsletter, programs at national and regional ACS meetings, the ACS Examinations Institute, the Biennial Conference on Chemical Education, and the premier journal in its field, the Journal of Chemical Education. This paper will reflect on the perceived strengths and weaknesses of CHED, and its future promise.  It will discuss the following issues and attempt to provoke response and discussion: the seemingly popular opinion that CHED, its programs, and its members get no (or very little) respect within ACS; the static nature of the number and the resulting "graying" of its membership over the years; the unique and attractive resources that CHED has to offer its members and potential members; the responsibilities of the membership to reach out to its non-member colleagues and enlighten them about new directions in chemical education research and practice.

Julie Smist
Department of Biology/Chemistry, Springfield College
Springfield, MA 01109 (

Adele Salerno
Department of Chemistry, Mt. Notre Dame High School
Cincinnati, OH 45215 (

Jennifer Lewis
Department of Chemistry, University of South Florida
Tampa, Fl, 33620 (


The purpose of this paper is to raise several questions about membership in the Division of Chemical Education. We do not claim to have all the answers, but we are seeking input from any and all interested parties. First question: why would someone want to be a member of the Division? Here we hope to present a demographic sketch of our current membership as well as a discussion of the benefits of membership. Second question: from what populations should we be looking to recruit new members? Here we want to look at the needs of those populations, discussing if the Division can currently meet those needs and if not, should we change and how do we accomplish this? Third question: do we just want to focus on recruiting new members or do we want to get the members we have to become more active? Here we will present some of the difficulties associated with creating opportunities for active involvement and raise questions about possibilities for the future.


George S. Kriz
Department of Chemistry, MS 9150, Western Washington University
Bellingham, Washington 98225


The Biennial Conference Committee of the Division of Chemical Education is responsible for recruiting and developing sites for future conferences in the Biennial Conference on Chemical Education (BCCE) series. The on-line discussion will focus on future BCCE conferences and such issues as should a conference focus on one or two topics, rather than offering a broadly based program, what is the optimum size of a conference, where should conferences be located, how can the conference ensure strong participation from all levels of chemical education, what should be the role of workshops, what should be the role of vendor exhibitions, and what additional amenities should be available for participants. On-line participants are welcome to include their own topics for discussion.

Sue Nurrenbern
Purdue University
West Lafayette, IN


In the paper on behalf of the Long Range Planning Committee I hope to provide participants the opportunity to respond to many aspects of the entire DivCHED operation. The position will be that any organization must review its procedures, etc., periodically to maintain viable status. This gives the organization the opportunity to identify what is working well and meets objectives but also provides the opportunity to identify any changes or new procedures that may meet new objectives or directions.

In this light I hope to address some of the following issues. (As some of you know, I prefer concept maps to outlines so I will try to outline the major points I hope to cover in the paper.)

  1. Is it possible to identify and elicit the needs of all members of the Division. ( I know that Jennifer, Julie and Adele are looked at new members specifically.)
  2. Can the Division serve the needs of all members?
  3. How does the size of the Division influence the ability to meet the needs of all members.
  4. How does the diversity of the membership relate to the ability of The Journal of Chemical Education to meet needs of the membership?
  5. Are there other chemical education professions that the Division has not included such as those whose jobs involved handling and preparing chemicals and materials for laboratories or are responsible for demonstrations to whom the Division should extend a welcome?
  6. Is our current organizational structure meeting our needs. Can we/should we make efforts at building relationships and possibly sponsoring joint symposia with other ACS groups such as the Young Chemists' Committee?
  7. What are best practices for fostering leadership among the newer and younger members of the Division?