American Chemical Society

161,000 members
Education staff lead: Mary Kirchhoff,

The mission of the ACS is to advance the broader chemistry enterprise and its practitioners for the benefit of Earth and its people.

Goal 3 of the ACS strategic plan is to "Foster the development of the most innovative, relevant, and effective chemistry education in the world." The mission of the ACS Education Division is to serve learners and educators by building communities and providing effective chemistry education products, services and information. The Education Division's longest running programs – the ACS approval process and undergraduate stduent chapters – date back to 1936 and 1937, respectively. These programs reflect the Society's commitment to undergraduate education and are described in more detail in the next section.

"Undergraduate Professional Education in Chemistry: ACS Guidelines and Evaluation Procedures for Bachelor Degree Programs" and a series of supplements promote excellence in postsecondary education. They are prepared and administered by the Committee on Professional Training (CPT), which was established in 1936. There are currently 673 ACS-approved programs.

- A report summarizes the impact of the 2008 revisions, as determined via a survey of ACS-approved programs in Spring of 2012.

- Results of other surveys and reports submitted to CPT are shared via the CPT Newsletter.

"ACS Guidelines for Chemistry in Two-Year College Programs", revised in 2009, are the basis for a self-assessment tool and a collection of case studies.

ACS student chapters, chartered at over 1000 campuses, form a network of undergraduate chemical science majors and faculty advisors that offers professional development, networking, and funding opportunities.

The ACS Scholars program awards renewable scholarships to undergraduate students from underrepresented racial and ethnic groups who want to enter chemistry or chemistry-related fields. Since 1995, nearly 2,500 students have been selected as ACS Scholars. The recognition of their ability and potential, combined with mentoring and financial support, has benefitted the recipients of these awards, more than 90 percent of whom complete their undergraduate degrees.

"Chemistry in Context", the textbook designed for non-science majors, introduces students to chemistry in the context of societal issues. The 8th Edition will be released in 2014. Professional development provides instructors with additional tools for effectively using the text in their classrooms.

The ACS Division of Chemical Education Examinations Institute (DivCHED) provides quality assessment materials and engages chemistry educators in their development.

Premier Contribution to Faculty Development

An on-going series of symposia, workshops, and special events offered at a variety of venues, including ACS national and regional meetings and the Biennial Conference on Chemical Education, introduce faculty to and assist them with the implementation of various resources, programs, and strategies. The network of faculty advisors to ACS student chapters engage in leadership opportunities through chapter report review and an annual peer review conference.

The Postdoc to Faculty workshop engages potential faculty, providing increased awareness of the range of academic institutions, responsibilities, and strategies for enhancing student learning, along with an introduction to research-based teaching strategies.

The Postdoc to Faculty workshop was initiated in 2008 by the ACS Education Division. The first workshop, supported by a grant from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, was held at Clemson University. Feedback from the 30 postdoctoral scholars who were selected to participate was very positive. Based on this model, the ACS has conducted a series of workshops in conjunction with every fall ACS national meeting since 2010, serving a total of 155 postdoctoral scholars. Workshops continue to receive high praise from participants, some of whom have returned to contribute as faculty facilitators.

The November 10, 2008 issue of Chemical & Engineering News published an article on the initial workshop. ACS has since partnered with Hope College to support the Postdoc to PUI Professor Workshops held in 2011, 2013, and a third to be held in 2015.

Additional Undergraduate Education Activities of ACS

  • The faculty workshop for newly-hired chemistry faculty at research universities focuses on implementation of evidence-based teaching practices in the classroom, integrating teaching and research, student mentoring and effective time management. Organized by the Cottrell Scholars Collaborative with support from Research Corporation for Science Advancement, the workshop is co-sponsored by and held at ACS.
  • The Academic Employment Initiative prepares academic candidates for faculty position interviews by enhancing the candidates' understanding of academic career options and recruiter expectations and providing a platform for them to interact with recruiters.
  • The Journal of Chemical Education, the official journal of the Division of Chemical Education launched in 1924, publishes peer-reviewed articles and related information on chemical content, activities, laboratory experiments, instructional methods, and pedagogies.