Teaching and learning chemistry in the context of our world is a hallmark of the resources, services and products produced by the American Chemical Society. Students and educators equate ACS with quality. As a leader in science education, we strive to inspire students to seek knowledge and careers in science and prepare them for the realities of the global marketplace.
In 2015, we reached out to thousands of eager, young elementary and secondary school students in new and innovative ways. We provided a new generation of undergraduate and graduate students with opportunities to learn skills they will need to compete and succeed as they move forward with their careers. We also provided professional development experiences for hundreds of K–12 teachers of chemistry—in person and virtually through dozens of workshops and webinars held during 2015.
The American Association of Chemistry Teachers (AACT) ended the year with more than 3,000 members, 88 percent of whom are K-12 teachers. In 2015, AACT received $100,000 in grants from the Camille & Henry Dreyfus and Ford Foundations to support the development of online resources. The inaugural Dow & AACT teacher summit was held in Michigan in July. Twenty-one teachers and six pre-service teachers attended. On a-five point scale, with five being the most positive, attendees rated their overall summit experience a 4.8 and rated their overall impression of AACT a 4.9.
The ACS High School Chemistry Club Program celebrated its 10th anniversary with a virtual party. Over 120 clubs registered for the party and received a box full of activities. The program now has more than 485 clubs including 11 international clubs.
The ACS Science Coaches program was reauthorized by the ACS Board of Directors in August. More than 250 coach-teacher partnerships are being supported during the 2015–2016 school year.
The Society’s resources for middle school classrooms were also well received. The website has received more than six million visits from 234 countries and territories since launching in 2010. Site visits grew 55 percent in the last year alone.
ChemIDP, a new online Individual Development Plan tool designed specifically for graduate students, launched on September 30. Four key parts make up the ChemIDP platform: self-assessment, skill strengthening, career exploration, and goal setting. Over 125 interviews with graduate students, postdoctoral scholars, faculty, university administrators, ACS staff, and career consultants informed the development of ChemIDP.
The number of undergraduate student chapters has grown to 1,118, with 19,880 ACS student members.
The number of ACS International Student Chapters grew to 24 in 2015. Chapters have been established in Brazil, China (2), Colombia, Egypt, Georgia, Germany, Hungary, India (4), Italy, Jamaica, Malaysia, Mexico (2), Nigeria (3), Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, and the United Arab Emirates.
The ACS Committee on Professional Training (CPT) released the new ACS Guidelines and Evaluation Procedures for Bachelor’s Degree Programs in March. A major change to the Guidelines is the requirement for instruction on macromolecular, supramolecular, mesoscale, and nanoscale systems. There are 680 approved programs.
Updated guidelines for two-year college chemistry were released in November following approval by ACS Society Committee on Education (SOCED). Significant revisions include incorporating recommendations regarding chemistry-based technology programs and chemical safety, online courses, internships, transfer students, mentorship and advising, and partnerships.
ACS, in cooperation with the Society of Chemical Industry (SCI) America International Group, and the American Institute of Chemical Engineers, continues to collaborate in offering the SCI Scholars summer industrial internship program, which introduces chemistry and chemical engineering undergraduate students to careers in the chemical industry. The program hosted 30 internships in summer 2015. Every SCI Scholar selects a high school chemistry teacher to receive recognition and a $1,000 award.
The ACS Scholars Program continues to help underrepresented minority students achieve their dreams of degrees and careers in a broad range of chemical sciences. In all, 2,840 African-American, Hispanic/Latino, and Native American students have participated in the program since 1995. Of those, 1,590 have earned bachelor’s degrees in a chemical science. More than 240 of these ACS Scholars have gone on to earn doctoral degrees in chemistry, chemical engineering, or a related discipline.
The ACS Project SEED program places students in academic, government, or industrial research laboratories for eight to ten weeks during the summer to engage in hands-on science research projects under the supervision of volunteer scientists. In 2015, 460 volunteer scientists and coordinators mentored 423 students, in nearly 130 institutions in 39 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico. For the 2015–2016 school year, the Project SEED Scholarship Subcommittee awarded 28 Project SEED College Scholarships, totaling $140,000, to former SEED students for their freshman year. In addition, three Project SEED college scholars received the Ciba Specialty Chemicals scholarships for three renewable years beginning in their sophomore year.
The Office of Research Grants had a successful year, with the Petroleum Research Fund (PRF) awarding 187 grants worth $18.62 million. Teva Pharmaceuticals renewed its agreement with ACS, and the three 2015 recipients of the Teva Pharmaceuticals Marc A. Goshko Memorial Grants were announced at the end of the Teva symposium at the National Meeting in Boston. Each grantee will receive $100,000 per year for three years (2015–2017) to support research in the area of organic chemistry, with potential or direct connections with medicinal or pharmaceutical chemistry.