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Strengthening High School Chemistry Education Through Teacher Outreach Programs: A Workshop Summary to the Chemical Sciences Roundtable (2009)

Chapter: Appendix E: Origin of and Information on the Chemical Sciences Roundtable

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Suggested Citation:"Appendix E: Origin of and Information on the Chemical Sciences Roundtable." National Research Council. 2009. Strengthening High School Chemistry Education Through Teacher Outreach Programs: A Workshop Summary to the Chemical Sciences Roundtable. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/12533.
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E Origin of and Information on the Chemical Sciences Roundtable In April 1994 the American Chemical Society (ACS) held The mission of the Chemical Sciences Roundtable is an Interactive Presidential Colloquium entitled “Shaping the to provide a science-oriented, apolitical forum to enhance Future: The Chemical Research Environment in the Next understanding of the critical issues in chemical science and Century.” The report from this colloquium identified several technology that affect the government, industrial, and aca- objectives, including the need to ensure communication on demic sectors. To support this mission the Chemical Sciences key issues among government, industry, and university rep- Roundtable will do the following: resentatives. The rapidly changing environment in the United States for science and technology has created a number of • Identify topics of importance to the chemical science stresses on the chemical enterprise. The stresses are par- and technology community by holding periodic discussions ticularly important with regard to the chemical industry—a and presentations, and gathering input from the broadest major segment of U.S. industry that makes a strong, posi- possible set of constituencies involved in chemical science tive contribution to the U.S. balance of trade and provides and technology. major employment opportunities for a technical workforce. • Organize workshops and symposia and publish A neutral and credible forum for communication among all reports on topics important to the continuing health and segments of the enterprise could enhance the future well- advancement of chemical science and technology. being of chemical science and technology. • Disseminate information and knowledge gained in After the report was issued, a formal request for such a the workshops and reports to the chemical science and tech- roundtable activity was transmitted to Dr. Bruce M. Alberts, nology community through discussions with, presentations chairman of the National Research Council (NRC), by the to, and engagement of other forums and organizations. Federal Interagency Chemistry Representatives, an informal • Bring topics deserving further in-depth study to the organization of representatives from the various federal agen- attention of the NRC’s Board on Chemical Sciences and cies that support chemical research. As part of the NRC, the Technology. The roundtable itself will not attempt to resolve Board on Chemical Sciences and Technology (BCST) can the issues and problems that it identifies—it will make no provide an intellectual focus on issues and fundamentals of recommendations, nor provide any specific guidance. Rather, science and technology across the broad fields of chemistry the goal of the roundtable is to ensure a full and meaningful and chemical engineering. In the winter of 1996, Dr. Alberts discussion of the identified topics so that participants in the asked BCST to establish the Chemical Sciences Roundtable workshops and the community as a whole can determine the to provide a mechanism for initiating and maintaining the best courses of action. dialogue envisioned in the ACS report. American Chemical Society. 1994. Shaping the Future: The Chemical Research Environment in the Next Century. American Chemical Society Report from the Interactive Presidential Colloquium, April 7-9, Washington, DC. 58

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A strong chemical workforce in the United States will be essential to the ability to address many issues of societal concern in the future, including demand for renewable energy, more advanced materials, and more sophisticated pharmaceuticals. High school chemistry teachers have a critical role to play in engaging and supporting the chemical workforce of the future, but they must be sufficiently knowledgeable and skilled to produce the levels of scientific literacy that students need to succeed.

To identify key leverage points for improving high school chemistry education, the National Academies' Chemical Sciences Roundtable held a public workshop, summarized in this volume, that brought together representatives from government, industry, academia, scientific societies, and foundations involved in outreach programs for high school chemistry teachers. Presentations at the workshop, which was held in August 2008, addressed the current status of high school chemistry education; provided examples of public and private outreach programs for high school chemistry teachers; and explored ways to evaluate the success of these outreach programs.

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