ACS Office of Two-Year Colleges

Tom Higgins, Professor, Harold Washington College

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1. From your perspective, what are the two things that your disciplinary professional organization or discipline-based NSF-funded project does particularly well in support of your work as an educator? Please be specific about how this activity works and why it is effective. Add web links if available.

Recently, the American Chemical Society created an Office of Two-Year Colleges (OTYC) to specifically address the needs of community college chemistry faculty and to make the broader chemistry community more aware of the impact community colleges have on higher education and the workforce. This office has been active in collecting and sharing resources of general interest to chemistry teachers, as well as developing high-quality materials to support the work o community college chemistry faculty. A prime example of the latter is the "ACS Guidelines for Chemistry in Two-Year College Programs". (
This document has been an excellent resource for leveraging scarce resources and helping prioritize where those resources are applied.
The ACS OTYC has also worked closely with the ACS Committee on Chemistry in the Two Year Colleges (COCTYC) to identify and develop future leaders from the two-year college chemistry community both by inviting people to get involved in ACS Task Forces and by offer leadership development workshops at conferences relevant to community college chemistry faculty members.

2. If you could propose (and obtain funding for) one new activity to engage community college instructors in professional associations and other discipline-based projects related to teaching and learning, what would it be? Describe the activity, explain why it is needed and why it is not currently available.

I would work on cross-institutional leadership development projects that created new collaborations between two-year and four-year faculty members. Ideally, these would be intense, multi-day workshops where teams of faculty from different but geographically proximate institutions came together to solve problems of mutual interest such as developing new curricula, sharing expensive resources, or supporting student transfer. I think these types of activities are not happening because there is not enough faculty-faculty communication across different institutions, even though many of them are sharing the same students.