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CSC sets its vision for the future.

The 1991-92 year has been an active and, overall, a successful time for the Canadian Society for Chemistry (CSC). Although, not surprisingly, there have been some disappointments and frustrations, there have also been many fruitful activities and positive developments.

Visioning Exercise: As reported by Arthur Carry, FCIC, last year (ACCN, August 1991, p. 43) the CSC executive committee began in October 1990 a visioning exercise aimed at identifying the CSC's mission and priorities. Overall, three separate sessions held in conjunction with executive committee business meetings, were required to complete this process. During these activities the executive was greatly assisted by the leadership and expertise of David Laycock, MCIC and Bert Churchill of Dow Chemical Canada.

The vision statement that was formulated for the CSC is "A professional organization serving the chemical community and promoting the advancement of chemistry in Canada." The committee identified four primary vision elements:

* service; * public image/awareness; * science policy; * scientific and technical affairs/advancement of the discipline.

For each of these vision elements, a list of broad activities or objectives were identified and, for each of these, a specific objective statement was developed. Finally, all of the identified objectives were collectively ranked with respect to their achievability. This detailed exercise led to the identification of the following "top" nine objectives: 1) significantly increase industrial membership; 2) increase the number of symposia sponsored by CSC Divisions; 3) continue to improve the quality of CSC scientific meetings; 4) continue to increase the participation of local sections and student chapters in National Chemistry Week; 5) create an award for the public communication of chemistry; 6) increase lobbying efforts with groups and individuals who represent organizations or agencies that are responsible for funding of science and for setting science policy in Canada; 7) increase the number of active student chapters across Canada; 8) increase the number of technical reports in ACCN on issues of public concern; 9) achieve accreditation of all Canadian university chemistry programs.

Of course, although it is relatively easy to identify desirable objectives, it is more difficult to achieve them. The CSC board has set up a specific action team to deal with each of the nine objectives and we hope these teams will begin (or continue) to work hard at achieving the stated goals. For CSC members who are interested, a more detailed report on the entire visioning exercise and the derived conclusions is available from national office. The CSC board would welcome any feedback on this matter. Membership: Although membership in the CSC continues to decline somewhat, a number of initiatives have been undertaken to reverse this trend. Vice-president Bryan Henry, FCIC, has written to many university colleagues across Canada to encourage them to join the CSC and Hugh Rowlinson, FCIC, a CSC board member from Ontario, is working hard at increasing membership from the industrial sector. Clearly, declining membership in the CSC is a real concern and the board urges all members, in both the industrial and academic sectors, to encourage those of their colleagues and/or graduate students and postdoctoral fellows who are not yet members to join our Society.

The Canadian Chemical Conference and Exhibition in Hamilton: From a scientific viewpoint, the CSC Conference held in Hamilton last June was excellent. The attendance was very good and the diverse scientific program, which included an impressive number of outstanding symposia, was well-received by the conference participants. Of particular note was the fact that a significant portion of the program was related to industrial chemistry and a variety of special symposia were held in this general area. Increasing the proportion of CSC conferences devoted to industrial chemistry has been promoted and encouraged by the board and this trend is expected to continue in future conferences.

On a more negative note, the financial outcome of the Hamilton meeting was disappointing. Although the national office and the board executive committee have found it frustratingly difficult to obtain a final financial statement from the conference committee, it now appears that the Hamilton meeting will (approximately) break even financially. Since the good health of the CSC's yearly budget depends to some degree on a surplus from the annual conference, this result is disconcerting. Hopefully, future conferences will, in this regard, be more successful.

Division Chairs Workshop: On February 8, 1992, the second Division Chairs Workshop was held in Ottawa in conjunction with the winter CIC meetings. Organized by Diane Goltz of the national office in consultation with board member Don Arnold, FCIC, this workshop was well-attended and proved to be useful and beneficial to all the participants. A wide variety of issues related to divisional concerns and programs were discussed. This meeting, along with its predecessor (held in February, 1991), has made the divisions more aware of each other's programs and, hopefully, will lead to a further increase in divisional activities.

Although some CSC divisions have been, and continue to be, very active, others could do a better job of developing programs and of communicating with and serving their members. It is the hope of the board that the two workshops that have been held, as well as those that may take place in the future. will be instrumental in facilitating the crucial work that our divisions do for our society.

National Chemistry Week: The CSC continues to invest a good deal of time and resources to National Chemistry Week (NCW). If it continues to be held each year as planned, NCW has the potential to become a well-known, effective educational activity across our country. In fact, it is expected that NCW will increasingly serve to make the public more (accurately) aware of the role chemistry plays in our society and, hopefully, will eventually be instrumental in convincing more students to pursue careers in science.

The October, 1991, version of NCW was the best yet. Under the theme Discover Canadian Chemistry, a wide variety of activities were held at various locations across Canada. Furthermore, appropriate educational materials, including the magazine entitled Discover Canadian Chemistry, were distributed to every Canadian high school. The magazine, which contained a number of popularly written articles about science carried out by Canadian chemists, was produced primarily through the persistent efforts of the CSC board member Josef Takats, FCIC.

Indeed, it is important to note that the CSC was very fortunate to have Takats as the leader of the committee responsible for NCW in 1991. The organizational success of NCW was to a significant degree due to his commitment to this CSC activity and to his able leadership in this area. I am happy to report that Dr Takats has agreed to direct the NCW efforts for 1992 as well. We trust that this enterprise, to take place in mid-October of this year, will give evidence of continued growth and effectiveness.

Contacts with NSERC and the Science Council of Canada: In February, vice-president Bryan Henry, FCIC, executive director Anne Alper, MCIC and I met with NSERC president Peter Morand, FCIC and his colleagues Gilles Julien (executive vice-president), Mireille Brochu (secretary general), and Nigel Lloyd (director general, research grants). it is no secret that, in our community, there is a strong feeling (backed up by considerable evidence) that, over the past decade, NSERC funding of research in chemistry has suffered relative to that in other disciplines. Therefore, at our request, the discussion focused primarily on the concerns of our community in this area. Overall, this meeting was informative and useful and our concerns were received with empathy and understanding. It was gratifying to learn that chemistry had received a special allocation of $900,000, to be distributed over a three-year period, and that NSERC's budget will increase by 4% a year for the next four years. (With regard to the NSERC budget increase, I subsequently wrote to the Minister of Science, William C. Winegard, expressing our appreciation for his work on behalf of the scientific community in Canada). The CSC board believes that ongoing contact with NSERC and other agencies that are responsible for research funding and for developing science policy in Canada is important. Only through such regular contacts can the CSC expect to play a larger role in the decision-making processes.

Subsequent to the meeting discussed above, NSERC wrote to the CSC requesting comments and opinions about the proposed Collaborative Project Grants Program. This matter was discussed in detail at an April meeting of the board executive committee. A letter expressing the executive's collective views was sent to NSERC in late April.

A February meeting was also held with Janet Halliwell, MCIC, chair of the Science Council of Canada. For Bryan Henry, FCIC, Anu Alper, MCIC, and me, this was primarily a meeting to become informed about the activities of the Science Council and to determine how the CSC might assist in and benefit from, these activities. The nature and breath of the Council's (as yet incomplete projects were quite impressive and it was therefore disconcerting to learn, not long after this meeting, that the federal government had decided to abolish this organization.

Professionalism: Within the Canadian chemistry community, there is a growing interest in forming professional associations. Of course, l'Ordre des Chimistes du Qudbec (OCQ) is well-established and has the responsibility of licensing all chemists who work in Quebec. Recently, the Association of the Chemical Profession of Ontario (ACPO) has experienced rapid growth and, in Alberta, there is now a concerted effort to establish the Association of the Chemical Profession of Alberta (ACPA). Recognizing that professional status for chemists is an important issue, the CSC board, at the suggestion of board member Bill Cullen, FCIC, decided to sponsor a panel discussion on Professional Status for Chemists in Canada, held in conjunction with the Canadian Chemical Conference and Exhibition in Edmonton. Later in the week, a number of CSC board members met with representatives of the professional organizations to explore ways in which all of these groups might assist one another and work together on issues of common concern.

CIC-Constituent Societies Strategic Planning: The organizational complexities linked with having an umbrella organization (CIC) associated and interconnected with three constituent societies (CSC, CSCHE, CSCT), along with the accompanying inefficiencies and duplication of efforts, continues to be a source of frustration and concern for the CSC board.

Indeed, at the February board meeting, the board passed a motion that ".... the CSC Board urges that the CIC Management Council undertake restructuring of the CIC and its relationship with the Constituent Societies as an urgent priority." An April meeting, attended by representatives of the executive committees of the CIC and each of the constituent societies (CIC: C.E. Capes, FCIC; D.B. Mutton, FCIC; R. Gurak, FCIC; CSC: A. Carty, FCIC; B. Henry, FCIC; E. Piers, FCIC; CSCHE: C. Henry, FCIC; C. Crowe, FCIC; CSCT: J. Mackey, MCIC) and by executive director Anne Alper, MCIC, began to address this problem.

Organized by CIC president Ed Capes, FCIC, in consultation with national office, this meeting proved to be constructive and fruitful. A specific proposal for the organizational restructuring of the CIC was developed and plans for appropriate consultations and the eventual implementation of the proposed structure were generated.

obviously, a task of this complexity, requiring meaningful consultations with members of the various organizations involved and a thorough consideration of all issues and consequences related to the proposed structural changes, will take time and persistent work. The committee that is involved in this exercise is committed to seeing that this undertaking leads to a workable organizational structure that will allow the three Constituent Societies to serve their members more effectively and efficiently.

Conclusion: I want to thank all members of the CSC Board for their work during the past year. More particularly, I want to express my sincere appreciation to the members of the Executive Committee for all that they have done on behalf of our Society' and for making my year as President of the CSC enjoyable and worthwhile. it has been a pleasure to work with such an able, committed group of colleagues. Finally, a very, special note of thanks to Anne Alper, MCIC, whose hard work and unstinting, excellent advice made the past year much more tolerable than it might have been.
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Title Annotation:Canadian Society for Chemistry
Author:Piers, Edward
Publication:Canadian Chemical News
Date:Sep 1, 1992
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