Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Everything's ooooookay

From the latest issue of C&EN. an update on ACS dues and member benefits:
Dues. [snip] These recommendations included monthly or quarterly (as opposed to annual) dues payment options; discounts for certain groups of members, such as high school teachers, perhaps based on wages or the economy of the home country; discounts during the first few years of membership, when the risk of nonrenewal is particularly high; institutional memberships; and bundling of dues with meeting registration.
Survey data and input from society members indicate that the top three member benefits are scientific information, networking, and professional advancement.
The task force reviewed member feedback on the full range of ACS services and determined that satisfaction with ACS is quite high among members. However, the task force also learned that while journals, Chemical & Engineering News, Chemical Abstracts Service, and national meetings consistently rank as the most popular and important ACS services, most members are unaware of the full range of ACS benefits. The task force recommended that more input should be solicited from members about the benefits they would like to have rather than simply asking members to rate the benefits presently offered. The recommendation was also made that benefits should be better publicized.
I think it's about time to extend the unemployment dues waiver to 3 years, but that's just me. It'd be interesting to know what the "certain groups of members" was.

I would love to see (and I could probably get) a report on the satisfaction of ACS members with the Society. I assume that the satisfaction levels look like a bell curve, with the median member being 1) employed and 2) reasonably satisfied with getting their copy of C&EN in the mail. But I also imagine that at the left end of the bell curve, there are those who are extremely dissatisfied with some of the policy directions of ACS as well.

I'd also like to know what kind of professional advancement the ACS offers; that's something that I'm not quite fluent on. But time (and e-mails) will probably solve that one.


  1. What is this "full range of ACS benefits" that they're talking about? Let me tell you, when I tried to use the discount for car rentals it turned out to not do anything (and I made sure to check prices with and without the discount code). Hotel discounts? Call beforehand to confirm that exact hotel accepts the ACS discount. Otherwise you'll get the "we don't participate in that program" BS.

    And yet I keep getting mail from them to join their life insurance policy. If it's anywhere near as good as the rest of their "benefits" my money is just as well spent on a card table in Las Vegas.

    Don't even let them try to start in with their BS about the personal career consultants. That service is so piss-poor it seems like the whole thing was setup as a joke. And yet that's the ultimate middle finger to the members; it's not. They advertise it proudly like it's some model program that they're using to revolutionize job hunting.

  2. I went to a workshop sponsored by ACS once for "improving your employment prospects". We listened to lectures for about an hour, a very old member of ACS reviewed my CV and told me *gasp* to increase the font size and delete two sentences.

    This is why I pay $140 a year?

  3. ACS lackeys will be first to get lined up when the revolution happens.

  4. I have to agree that the ACS career service - especially the advisors - is pathetic. One "advisor" gave me 200% useless formatting advice. The second one told me to teach at a community college instead of applying for a faculty job at his university and the third one just wanted to rack up brownie points with the ACS for having the max number of "advisees". Is David Harwell reading this?

  5. Maybe the ACS should start a campaign to help us make homemade antidepressants, teach us how to ask our family for extra income, and offer courses in "underground chemistry".

    That said, everything but pointing a gun to the head of the powers that be is not really all that effective.

    Maybe we need more tax incentives.

  6. I'm in the UK so I don't know much about the ACS, but does membership of it mean much from an employment / professional perspective? If not, perhaps it is time for members to leave?
    We have a similar problem with the RSC in the UK. It feels more like a society for employers, not chemists. Contrast this with the professional bodies for doctors, pharmacists and dentists.

  7. Well anon @1.07AM - I was a chemist in the UK for 18 years and not once did I join the RSC. You can attend the meetings, browse the careers site and read the journals as a non-member (company pays, so who cares how much it costs), and like you say, it always felt to me like it was run for the benefit of the employers, not the members.

    One example would be the joint policy statement with AstraZeneca and GlaxoSmithKline of about 6 years ago decrying the lack of chemists in the UK and how they had to go recruit Europeans. Epic fail on that one, Leaders!

    You hit the nail on the head - the chiefs at RSC don't think of it as a professional body whose primary stakeholder is the working chemist. There simply aren't enough chemists to compare it with the BMA - their membership is large enough to demand what they want.

  8. Anon 3:13, I'm surprised you got a hold of anyone at all. If you look for organic chem advisors in pharma only 2 of the 8 listed are accepting appointments.

    Anon 1:07, no, membership certainly does not correlate to employment and the RSC sounds very similar to the ACS. That's one of the big railing points you'll see about any ACS conversations that pop up these days; people accuse them of constantly badgering the government to fund more chemistry Ph.Ds when there's been a growing bottleneck of Ph.Ds for years and years. Membership means more dollars in their pockets and that has also been a source of contention (the head of this "non-profit" is paid about $1 million annually).

    Generally people can get by without being members once their careers are established, but grad students and postdocs must be members so they can get discounts to conferences and access to some of the job ads.


looks like Blogger doesn't work with anonymous comments from Chrome browsers at the moment - works in Microsoft Edge, or from Chrome with a Blogger account - sorry! CJ 3/21/20