Minutes of the meeting of the Board of Governors (BOG)
of the
IEEE Society on the social Implications of Technology (SSIT)
Held on September 28, 2002 at Columbia University

Revised: December 16, 2002

1.   President Andrews welcomed the attendees. Attendees introduced themselves.

2.   The agenda of the meeting was approved.

3.   The minutes of the previous meeting (June 8, 2002) were approved.

4.   President Andrews gave the president's report.

(a)   The Slovak Society for Engineering Science requested and was sent free copies of some ISTAS proceedings.

(b)   The IEEE Career Alert (a weekly e-newsletter) asks if SSIT has anything for them. It was suggested that we send them a notice about the April 4, 2003, Spring Regional Meeting in Urbana, IL.

(c)   The IEEE Educational Activities Board asked if SSIT is interested in a project called Virtual Communities for Education and Research. This is funded by NSF. President Andrews told them that SSIT is interested.

(d)   An issue of the IEEE Computer Society publication Security and Privacy was examined. The publication has a different focus than T&S. It is mostly for security consultants.

(e)   Larry Marks at Northwestern asked if there were any examples of visa issues with foreign students or others that could be used in a talk The Scientist, the Immigrant and the Ombudsman that he is preparing for the US Ombudsman Society conference.

(f)   The IEEE Board meeting in Toronto, in June, focused on budget issues. IEEE is cutting into their headquarters budget and raising dues. The next Board meeting is in Chicago, in November. Budget issues are likely to be the main topic, again.

SSIT members cost $34 each (it is claimed) but are charged dues of $22. The cost of membership figures for the various societies is being studied by a group of Society presidents and by IEEE staff.

5.   The past president had nothing to report.

6.   Treasurer's Report

The Treasurer was not present, but submitted a report (see attached). The largest variance between the budgeted figure and the actual figure is -49.9 (thousand) in periodicals. Thirty thousand dollars of this is because the IEEE distribution of funds from the IEEE periodical bundle is not done until November. The remaining variance is due to declining membership and to half year memberships.

It is likely that the budget will be in the positive again by the end of the year. The fiscal year runs from January 1 to December 31. A surplus of $30 thousand is expected.

The budget line for "Grants" is $0.0 in all categories. This inactivity was questioned. An ad hoc committee was formed to investigate grants possibilities.

7.   Publication Report

No additional special issues are planned. An issue on nanotechnology has been proposed for 2004. There is a good backlog of papers. There is about a 50% rejection rate for submitted papers. The editor wished to thank the reviewers for prompt responses. An announcement in the next issues will encourage submission and review using the Internet. This will lower mailing cost, speed up results, be helpful for authors living abroad. IEEE may already have a mechanism for this, but it is expected to change.

The IEEE copyright form is still causing problems. The US State Department is worried about exporting sensitive information. The IEEE lawyers originally made the copyright form very complicated and put the responsibility of declaring that there is nothing sensitive in a paper on the author and on the conference committee. The form has been simplified since then. The current form is available on the IEEE Web site.

IEEE is encouraging the republication of conference papers without an additional copyright form required for the second publication. Some authors have been reluctant to sign over copyright twice.

Discussion followed, mostly on the ineffectiveness of the State Department restrictions on dissemination of information.

T&S is due for an updated design. The cost for this will be about $1,500 to $2,000 dollars. IEEE design staff will do this.

Motion: Request that $2,000 be allocated for a design update of Technology and Society.

Discussion: Publications have a major redesign every five years or so. T&S had a design update about five years ago. It cost about $2,000 then.

Changes in publication technology have made a design update advisable. T&S now uses more color and art than before. Case studies, letters to the editor, and other new features have been introduced and the editor has other changes in mind. There should be a consistent design from issue to issue. People have an expectation of what a professional publication looks like and T&S should meet that expectation.

The requested allocation will pay for a professional designer to look at the issues and listen to current concerns and ideas. The designer will make mock-ups of new designs and make electronic templates for the magazine.

Could the allocation be delayed a year? Perhaps, but T&S is a magazine, not a technical publication, so meeting membership expectation is important. It might be best to make the allocation now while there is still an expected budget surplus. Since this is the only publication of the society T&S should be as polished and as professional as we can make it. If T&S is to be entered into contests the design needs an update.

Motion Carried

8.   Conference Reports

ISTAS 2002

Joe Herkert Reports that ISTAS 2002 resulted in a $4700 surplus, but this does not include an IEEE audit fee expected to be $300 or so. The surplus is a 11.4% return. There were 125 registrants, 98 regular and 27 students. Two of the regular registrations were complementary. Of the registrants, 28 were associated with North Carolina State University; 44 were full IEEE members or ACM SIGCAS members, and 6 were student members. Some of those registered did not attend.

The opening reception was funded by NC State. The local IEEE society granted the conference $2000. The NC libraries paid travel expenses for the main plenary speaker. Registrants from NC State were partially subsidized by NC State.

The ACM SIG in Computers and Society co-sponsored the conference and organized three of the sessions. This was a successful cooperation. ACM C&S is interested in further cooperation.

The attendees came from all parts of the US and from several countries in Asia and Europe.

Discussion: It is odd how SSIT members account for only a third of the attendees. Somehow we should get more. Engineering faculty seem to submit fewer papers vs. people in policy studies and social studies.

ISTAS 2004

Brian O'Connell reported on a site visit to Worcester Polytechnic Institute at Worcester, MA. The visitors were Brian O'Connell, Clint Andrews, and Bradley Kjell. The visit was hosted by Lance Schachterle of WPI. The site has splendid facilities. There is a new conference building with great facilities, access to the site is good, and the administration is enthusiastic.

Lance Schachterle (WPI) presented a theme for the conference, Globalizing Technological Education. Rick Vaas (WPI) will be the program chair. He has a list of proposed topics and has talked to possible authors. WPI is planning on 125 to 175 attendees, but could accommodate many more.

Discussion: The dates of the ASEE conference has been avoided, but they are close. ABET requires study of global technological issues. Might this be used as a hook to get attendees?

Lance Schachterle has been talking to John Granded at Rhode Island where there is a double degree in engineering and foreign languages.

There needs to be a paragraph in the call for papers that submission on traditional SSIT topics is also welcome.

Joe Herkert and Michael Loui volunteered for the Program Committee. Joe has been at a conference at WPI previously (before the present conference facility) and found it well done and enjoyable.

Attendees would fly into Boston Logan, which is 40 miles away, to Providence which is a one hour drive from Worcester, or (perhaps) to Hartford which is an hour and a half away. There is regular train service from Boston, but getting to them from Logan is somewhat difficult.

The Atwater-Kent Building on the WPI campus is the oldest building in continuous use by an EE department. It has interesting historical interest.

Papers and presenters are expected from all over the globe, not just Europe and the Americas. WPI has programs and contacts in Asia as well as other regions.

Perhaps the ACM would be interested in getting involved? Or the Institute for International Education might be interested. However, we need to ensure that there are enough papers of interest to the regular SSIT attendees.

The proposed seed money is adequate.

Motion: that Clint Andrews and Lance Schachterle be granted permission to negotiate a Memorandum of Understanding to hold SSIT 2004 at Worcester Polytechnic Institute at Worcester, MA.

Motion Carried.

ISTAS 2003

Simon Burne has been seriously ill lately, so negotiating the Memorandum of Understanding is still in progress. There is a technical problem over who owns the publishing rights. The Dutch Government is a significant sponsor and does not want to hand over rights to the IEEE. A compromise may be that IEEE gets full rights, but it will grant liberal publishing permissions to the Dutch Government. The IEEE Publication Permission Department is being flexible about this. The conference is expected to go forward and will be held late September in 2003.

9.   Committee Reports

a. Nominations/Elections (Karl Perusich)

Production of ballots is on schedule. They should be distributed about October 18. Votes are due December 2, and the results will be in about December 6.

Thanks to Tony Robbi for previous years of service as elections chair!

Clint Andrews put his name in for SSIT President for 2003. He was voted in by the Secretary.

Brian O'Connell put his name in for SSIT Vice President for 2003. He was voted in by the Secretary.

b. Membership Committee (Bob Brook)

(See attached hand outs) SSIT has lost some membership, but this reflects the general slowdown in membership of all societies. The Electromagnetics Society shows a similar decline. There is some disagreement in the various membership figures. The February membership report is probably the most reliable. At one time the society had 2500 members, has been slowly falling since that time. We should ask the members about their interests. A questionnaire could be sent out.

Clint Andrews: The last time the President's Report in T & S mentioned these points there was only one response.

Bob Brook: In 1968 a questionnaire was sent to the membership by IEEE with a very good response rate of about 75%. Members wanted a portable pension and were interested in having IEEE work for it.

Discussion: The questionnaire should be balanced. Once in the past we tried to find a profile of our membership. IEEE has such a profile; SSIT members come from all engineering societies and professions, both working engineers and professors. Perhaps we should exchange ads for free with other society publications. We have a display ad ready for any publication that needs it.

It was stated that it is important to profile people who are potential members but who haven't joined to find out why they have not joined (apart from the fact that they probably have never heard of SSIT.)

The discussion continued on with the topic of how much of what the Society does is of interest to the young, working engineer. Opinions varied. Some BOG members suspect the Society interests only academics, others suspect that there are many outside of academia that are interested. They do not show up at conferences because their company does not fund them for that. Bob Brook was asked to get the most recent membership profile from the IEEE for the next meeting.

c. Ad-Hoc Committee on Membership Development (Michael Loui)

One idea has been to find other organizations with interests similar to SSIT and to offer affiliate status. This effort is underway. For the next BOG meeting in Washington, D. C., Brian O'Connell is organizing a joint get together with members of CPSR and other interested professionals. This may take place Friday evening, the day before the meeting.

A regional meeting of SSIT will be held at Urbana, Illinois Friday, April 4, 2003, the day before the BOG meeting (see attached announcement). Registration for this is free, but is required. There will be speakers, a poster session, pizza, and soft drinks. The University of Illinois Coordinated Science Laboratory is paying the costs of the staff involved in this. The suggested hotel, the Hampton Inn at 1200 W. University Ave., Urbana, is a three star hotel and has a free shuttle service from the airport. The expenses have so far been within the $1000 budget the BOG voted for this at its last meeting.

Discussion: Perhaps the posters should be judged, with the first place poster receiving a free membership in SSIT. There will be time for a notice of this meeting to appear in the Spring issue of T&S. There should also be a write-up in the Summer issue. Perhaps the winning poster should be described in T&S. The announcement will be placed on the SSIT Web site.

Further Discussion: Should there be an on-line newsletter? This is a hole in the membership services of the society. If the newsletter is an official, printed IEEE publication it must go through the whole IEEE procedure for approval and design. Perhaps just set up an unofficial newsletter. The first issue could be sent by e-mail to all members, with an easy way to opt-out of receiving it.

Karl Perusich volunteered to investigate this possibility, and was made head of the SSIT Newsletter Committee. He will attempt to find a list of all member e-mail addresses.

d. Awards Committee (Barus Award) (Steve Unger)

The Barus Award should be raised from $1000 to $2000. This makes up for inflation since the amount was first raised to $1000. This will not be a recurring annual cost because the award is given only every two or three years.

Motion: that the amount of the Barus award be raised to $2000.

A friendly amendment was accepted to raise the amount of the Barus award to $2500.

Discussion: Many awards are only $500, or so. The standing $1000 amount is enough to show our commendation of the awardee. But IEEE has been pushing to increase the amount of many of their awards so that the are more prestigious. Most IEEE awards are more than $5000.

By way of e-mail, the Treasurer expressed his concern about the amount and suggested written understanding that the award will not be frequent.

But since the award is approved by the BOG, and each takes two to three years of investigation, there does not need to be a written rule about this.

Motion, as amended, Carried

Motion: that David Monts receive the Barus Award.

A review of the case was presented by Steve Unger. An article on the case by Steve Unger will appear in T&S. It is available online at http://www.cs.columbia.edu/~unger/monts/ungArticle.html

Perhaps this case should be forwarded to Larry Marks for the US Ombudsman Society conference.

Motion Carried

e. Technology and Public Policy (Clint Andrews)

No report.

f. Ethics (Steve Unger)

There have been e-mail discussions about the career problems of engineers with H1V visa problems. There should be an ethics support fund supported by a check-off box on the IEEE dues notice. The IEEE-USA President, LeEarl Bryant, is seriously thinking about this and is discussing it with others. Interested people should e-mail their support to the IEEE-USA President.

This is important because an unethical company has a harder time crushing an individual if the individual has the backing of an organization.

The ethics help-line has been getting some traffic, but it is not very widely known. The hot-line is run by the Online Ethics Center for Engineering and Science, http://onlineethics.org/


No report.

h. Chapters

No report.

10.   Old Business

No old business.

11.   New Business

(Bob Brook) An IEEE standard for voting machines is close to complete. It may be done by February (see attachment). The IEEE P1583 committee that is doing this has about 30 members on it. They are being careful that no company will be handed a monopoly as a result of the standard. The standard calls for an ATM-like machine. A great effort is being made to ensure that the machines are easy to use, are accessible, and include self-testing. The Florida machines that recently failed were not close to the IEEE standard and did not include self-testing.

(Bob Brook) Efforts on the CEPA proposal are continuing (see attached). Politicians have been ignoring all communication, e-mail and regular mail, about this. Bob will now try communicating with the assistants of members of Congress and will enlist the aid of Chris Chamblis of IEEE.

(Bob Brook) There is an SSIT session at the May 2003 EMC Symposium in Istanbul, Turkey. Four people have volunteered to present papers for this session. The engineers in Turkey are enthusiastic about sponsoring an IEEE conference.

12.  Next Meeting

Saturday, November 23, IEEE-USA HQ, 1828 L St., (12th floor), Washington, DC.

The Spring meeting will be Saturday, April 5th, 2003, in Champaign/Urbana, IL.

13.  Adjournment

The meeting adjourned at 2PM.

Attendees at the Sept 28, 2002 Meeting
* = @
Clint Andrews President c.j.andrews*ieee.org
Terri Bookman T&S Managing Editor t.bookman*ieee.org
Bob Brook Division IV rbrook*worldnet.att.net
Joe Herkert Board of Gov. joe_herkert*ncsu.edu
Bradley Kjell Secretary kjell*ieee.org
Ron Kline   rrk1*cornell.edu
Michael Loui Board of Gov. m-loui*uiuc.edu
Andy Meyer Division X meyer*njit.edu
Brian O'Connell Vice President oconnellb*ccsu.edu
Karl Perusich Past President kperusic*galaxyinternet.net
Julian Reitman Division V jreitman*stam.nconn.edu
Janet Rochester Publications Chair j.rochester*ieee.org
Lance Schachterle Visitor  
Steve Unger Board of Gov. unger*cs.columbia.edu
P. Aarne Vesilind Editor T&S vesilind*bucknell.edu