From: David C. Finster <dfinster**At_Symbol_Here**>
Subject: Re: [DCHAS-L] ACS Community Values Survey - call for participation
Date: Thu, 30 Jun 2016 14:55:29 +0000
Reply-To: DCHAS-L <DCHAS-L**At_Symbol_Here**MED.CORNELL.EDU>
Message-ID: 7AB8F8BFE46C5446902F26C10EBF4AEAB3B583B8**At_Symbol_Here**

Overall, this survey was a good opportunity for those of us so-inclined to voice a strong case for highlighting safety as a core value for the ACS. 


But, questions #12 and #13 that raised my blood pressure a few points:


#12   Safety was characterized as a "soft skill"!!   Really??  Mr. Wikipedia says:


Soft skills is a term often associated with a person's "EQ" (emotional intelligence quotient), which is the cluster of personality traits that characterize one's relationships with other people. These skills can include social graces, communication abilities, language skills, personal habits, cognitive or emotional empathy, and leadership traits. Soft skills contrast with hard skills, which are generally easily quantifiable and measurable (such as software knowledge or basic plumbing skills).


How is "safety" a soft skill?  Perhaps this characterization conveys the notion that soft skills are not topics that chemical educators should address (such as "communication", "ethics", "leadership", etc.)  The CPT also characterizes these topics as "skills", not content areas, although they also, to their recent credit, now at least require these "skills" to be part of the undergraduate curriculum.   "Safety" as a soft skill?   Why, I could imagine that it would be possible to write an entire textbook on chemical safety - just like software knowledge or plumbing!   Should this not have equal footing with the traditional sub-disciplines?   One might die due to poor safety knowledge, (in contrast to poor leadership skills;)  this is "soft"?    (In my classes, safety knowledge is surely "quantifiable and measureable."  It's called an "exam.")


#13 was an odd collection of "barriers to better safety" that asked for the options to be ranked.   The list is "OK", I guess, except that "evolving chemical pedagogy" is a phrase that I doubt is well understood outside of academia.  And, the list of possible reasons is, I would think, situationally dependent upon the lab.   If one wishes to solve a problem, it is necessary to identify the local reason for the problem.  Some generic survey could lead to irrelevant solutions for local problems.  Ranking the items is not the best way to address the list; asking for simple checkmarks would be better - although, again, different labs may have different legitimate responses. 


This is progress, though.  I give it "four steps forward, one step back".


Finally: I must say that the "controversy" about adding "safety" as a core value of the ACS is just astonishing to me.  The four categories of core values are:  "passion for chemistry", "focus on members", "professionalism", and "diversity and inclusion".   In "professionalism" we find:  "integrity and transparency" and "high standards".   How can "safety" not be comfortably and appropriately included here??   People have died due to lack of safety knowledge.   Can this be said about other components of the Vision, Mission, Core Values and Goals of the ACS?




David C. Finster
Professor, Department of Chemistry
University Chemical Hygiene Officer
Wittenberg University


From: DCHAS-L Discussion List [mailto:dchas-l**At_Symbol_Here**MED.CORNELL.EDU] On Behalf Of Frankie Wood-Black
Sent: Thursday, June 30, 2016 9:18 AM
Subject: Re: [DCHAS-L] ACS Community Values Survey - call for participation


This looked great!

Frankie Wood-Black, Ph.D., REM, MBA

Principal - Sophic Pursuits

NOTE - ADDRESS CHANGE - Mailing Address - PO Box 433, Tonkawa, OK 74653

Note - new email address effective March 15 fwoodblack90**At_Symbol_Here**




On Thu, Jun 23, 2016 at 12:53 PM, Secretary, ACS Division of Chemical Health and Safety <secretary**At_Symbol_Here**> wrote:

In the wake of the various (CSB, NRC, APLU) reports on laboratory safety culture over the last few years, there is growing interest in updating the ACS strategic plan (see ) to be more explicit about the chemistry community's commitment to chemical safety as a value. In order to gather ACS member feedback on this idea, DCHAS is working with ACS staff to implement a survey of ACS membership to see what their reaction to this idea is.

In coordination with the more general ACS effort, the Division of Chemical Health and Safety invites its members to participate in this survey by going to
and answering the 17 questions there. There are no required essay questions, so I wouldn't expect the survey to take a long time to complete. We are interested in gathering the DCHAS-L response to the survey as a voice of the chemical health and safety community.

Let me know if you have any questions about this.

- Ralph

Ralph Stuart
Division of Chemical Health and Safety
American Chemical Society


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