Minutes of the meeting of the Board of Governors (BOG)
of the
IEEE Society on the Social Implications of Technology (SSIT)

Mudd Engineering Center of Columbia University, New York City

September 6, 2003. 10:30AM

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

2.   The agenda of the meeting was approved with the addition of two items.

3.   The minutes of the previous meeting (April 5, 2003) were corrected and approved.

4.   President's Report. (Clint Andrews)

(a)   June TAB Meeting

A new society was created, the Products Safety Engineering Society (Division 6)

The annual funding of the Edison Medal was taken up by TAB.

A prototype algorithm for distributing revenue from the IEEE "all societies periodicals package" was discussed. Once finalized, SSIT revenue will change slightly. Each society gets a base amount, then revenue is added in proportion to the number of hits on the Web site for the society's publications and the number of articles the society has on the site. The annual price of the IEEE Electronic Library is $101,950.

The IEEE BOG passed a resolution to give life members complimentary on-line access to IEEE Spectrum. Also, IEEE dues will increase. More money was allocated to IEEE Xplore.

Hydrogen Economy Meeting: TAB is thinking about new societies and future technologies. A group was formed to think about this. PE (Power Engineering), IAS (Industrial Applications Society), PELS (Power Electronics Society), and SSIT are proposing a workshop on the hydrogen economy to be held in Spring 2004 in Washington, D. C. The workshop is intended to inform legislators and others about this technology. The three big societies (PE, IAS, PELS) will each be responsible for 30% of the financial risks and rewards of the workshop. SSIT will be responsible for 10%. The total conference expense is expected to be about $100,000. The attendance is expected to be about 150 to 200.

The workshop is not an academic conference. It will consist of presentations of issues and tutorials from known experts in the field. Don Russell is the conference chair. He is a former president of the PE society.

Motion: The Board authorizes the president to join the other IEEE societies to organize a Hydrogen Economy meeting, with an appropriate budget, for Spring 2004. (Approved.)

(b)   Liaison with ASME T&S

Byron Newberry has volunteered to be the liaison from T&S Division (Technology and Society) of the ASME for SSIT. Byron is a professor of ME at Baylor University, and attended the SSIT Spring regional meeting at Urbana, Illinois and was a guest at the Spring BOG meeting.

(c)   IEEE All Societies Research Project

This was a Web-based survey conducted in June 2003 of randomly selected IEEE members, excluding student and life members. Members received a survey for only one of the societies to which they belonged. There was a 38% response rate from SSIT members. Copies of the overhead slides were distributed. Some of the branches did not work, and some respondents were irritated about that.

Why do people join SSIT? To stay informed in their field and to receive publications.

How satisfied are people with their SSIT membership? A fair number were less than highly satisfied with their membership.

Discussion: IEEE is often slow in servicing new members. People sometimes start receiving publications long after they have joined.

Do members like the Web sites and educational opportunities?

Discussion: The Web site is separate from the newly formed SSIT electronic newsletter. (Andrews:) SSIT's Web site is sporadically updated. Not much is there. Perhaps there should be a Web site committee and a Web site editor. (Perusich:) Web sites eat up time. Need to worry about compensation for whoever does this. (Herkert:) There needs to be a commitment to maintain the site. (Bookman:) There is a T&S web site under the IEEE web site. This has tremendous potential. (Andrews:) In the survey, members said that they wanted links from articles in T&S to related material. (Brooks:) The e-newsletter should have synopses of all meetings, a paragraph or two summarizing BOG meetings, and links. (Brody:) There should be abstracts from conferences on the Web site.

Action: the Publications Chair was asked to appoint a subcommittee to look into the Web site.

Conferences: The majority of respondents don't know about SSIT conferences.

What improvements could be made to T&S Magazine? Suggestions: add Web links, discuss emerging technologies, more interviews, increase the size of issues.

What amount of coverage would you like to see? Social, cultural, environmental, energy.

Demographic Data: The median years of professional employment is 20 years. The majority of members have degrees above the B. S., mostly in EE.

Other: Very few people are involved in chapters. About 5% have volunteered for SSIT. For 18.8% of respondents, SSIT is their only society. Of those who belong to two or more societies, 8.9% regard SSIT as their primary society.

Ad Hoc Committee on Review of the IEEE Survey: The Board directs the president to create a committee to study the survey, to determine issues and recommendations, and to report back to the Board at the next regular meeting. Chair: Karl Perusich. Members: Clint Andrews, Terry Bookman, Bradley Kjell, Bob Brook, Steve Unger, Michael Loui.

5.   Past President's Report (Perusich)

No report.

6.   Treasurer's Report (Stephan)

IEEE is continuously taking money from our reserves. This year looks about the same as last year. There is no cause for alarm. (See attachments.)

7.   Update on Email Membership Solicitation Initiative (Stephan)

An offer of a 1/2 year free membership in SSIT was made to IEEE members that checked off a box on their annual renewal. Six thousand or so offers were sent out, about 300 responded. SSIT should make the same offer next year, but the response will probably not be as good as the initial offering.

Discussion: IEEE is slow in starting new memberships.

Action: Terry Bookman and Clint Andrews were directed to write a letter to IEEE publications to express our concerns about this slow response.

8.  Publications Report (Loui)

(See attached) Aarne Vesilind relinquished his duties as Editor of T&S. Joe Herkert took over the duties in July.

Motion: Joe Herkert nominates Sarah Pfatteicher as the new Associate Editor of T&S, effective January 1, 2004, for the Spring 2004 issue. (Approved.)

SSIT has launched a new electronic newsletter edited by Karl Perusich. The first issue was mailed in August.

(Perusich:) The newsletter is easy to do. He asks for volunteers for member highlights. The newsletter will contain a link to the SSIT Web site and to the T&S Magazine Web site. The magazine will also publish a link to the newsletter.

The board went into executive session to discuss the 2004-2005 contract for Terry Bookman, the managing editor of T&S Magazine.

Motion: The Publications Committee recommends approval of the the 2004-2005 contract for Terry Bookman. (Approved.)

Motion: An abstract, not to exceed 300 words, be provided by the author for each article submitted to T&S Magazine. (Deferred.)

Discussion: Bad idea, because IEEE already generates abstracts and we don't want two versions floating around. We should ask IEEE for their abstracts, not generate our own. Perhaps a short annotation be used, instead? IEEE would be happy to receive author's abstracts. It is not common for magazines to request and publish abstracts.

Motion (Engel): Move to defer the issue to another committee. (Approved.)

(Bookman:) Redesign of T&S Magazine this has previously been approved. The work could stay within IEEE or be contracted out. It may be desirable to keep this within IEEE. They have been asked to estimate the cost, but have not yet done so.

9.  Ad Hoc Committee on SSIT Electronic Publishing (Brody)

SSIT should work to expand the audience for its publications. T&S Magazine and ISTAS are poorly covered in many indexes, such as Social Science Citation Index, Science Citation Index and Humanities Index. Usually such indexes expect a free subscription to a journal they cover.

We should at least have the titles from T&S and the conference proceedings on the SSIT Web page. The title page of T&S should say "indexed in..." for those indexes that cover it.

Discussion: IEEE Xplore has proceedings on-line. One can search abstracts and purchase articles. The president asked for the titles of all papers in past conferences in ASCII form for inclusion on the Web site. Kjell will do this.

The Publication Committee should think about strategic goals and long range issues for electronic publishing and electronic services to members. They should consider financial implications. Perhaps SSIT should start publishing a Transactions.

Motion: That the Publication Committee develop strategic thinking about electronic publication. (Approved.)

10.  Conference Reports (Andrews, Stephan)

Amsterdam 2003: This is jointly sponsored by SSIT and CPEDA, Crime Prevention through Environmental Design, and has received funding from the Dutch government.

There are some problems. The conference was proposed by Simon Byrn, who is still listed as conference chair. But Simon has been sick and has not been able to work on the conference. There was a long delay in obtaining a Memorandum of Understanding. We do not have a document that states that the rights to the transactions are ours. So far there are 60 people registered for the conference. This is not too bad for a European conference. But there are few registrants from SSIT.

SSIT has arranged for a judge from Connecticut to be the keynote speaker for the SSIT side of the conference. But it is not clear that the conference organizers are going to pay the judge's expenses.

Motion: Authorize the president as needed to pay the expenses of the ISTAS speaker. (Approved.)

Discussion: We should insist on MOUs for conferences. This is required by IEEE. The editor of T&S needs to be informed quickly if it looks as though a conference will not provide enough material for a special issue.

Worcester 2004: Lance Shackterly is doing a wonderful job. We have a signed MOU. They have an active planning committee. A Web page is planned.

Austin 2004: (Stephan) This will be a regional meeting. There is already a conference scheduled on ethics. The conference is free to students. ISTAS may coordinate with this conference to have a session on engineering ethics. They are willing to match $700 if we join with them. Most of the money will pay for invited speakers. This has been discussed with Steve Nichols (University of Texas) who is active in the ASME. SSIT may get hotel discounts and a room for the BOG meeting at UT. There may be a conflict with the Hydrogen Economy Conference.

Motion: Provide Karl Stephan up to $1000 to organize a regional SSIT meeting at UT Austin April 16-17. (Approved.)

11.   Committee Reports

Nominations/Elections. (Perusich) There are three positions open on the BOG. There are six candidates for these positions. Ballots are about to be printed and mailed.

Brian O'Connell put his name in for SSIT President for 2004. He was voted in by the Secretary. Karl Perusich put his name in for SSIT Vice President for 2003. He was voted in by the Secretary. The chair of the Nominations/Elections committee was directed to convey these results to IEEE headquarters.

Motion: Provide Brian O'Connell with funds so he can attend the Seattle TAB meeting. (Approved.)

Fellow Nominations. (Engel) There is a brief note in T&S that has links to the process. Two more members are needed for the committee. Both must be Fellows. The deadline is March 15, 2004. There is an initiative to advance members to senior membership.

Membership. (Brook) Currently our membership is higher than is several years. Probably due to the e-mail free membership initiative. The ISTAS session that had been planned for the EMC Symposium in Istanbul was cancelled because many American companies pulled out of the conference. (See attachments for membership statistics.)

Awards. No report.

Technology and Public Policy. No report.

Ethics. (Unger) The Ethics Help Line, part of the On-line Ethics Center, is lightly used. IEEE is supposed to inform members about the help line, but is lax in their efforts. (Discussion:) There is a link on the IEEE Ethics Committee Web site to the help line. We should put a link to the help line in the SSIT e-newsletter.

PACE. No report.

Chapters. Alex Brown in Boston is trying to revive the local chapter. Perhaps he should contact the people organizing ISTAS 2004 in Worcester. The Japanese chapter wants the SSIT president to visit them.

(Stephan:) There is a small conference for engineering educators in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia in January. Thirty or forty attendees are expected. Karl Stephan will check into making an offer of trial memberships to the attendees and look into other types of offers that could be made.

12.  Old Business

No old business.

13.  New Business

(Engel:) Jerry Engel is the Computer Society representative to IFIP (International Federation for Information Processing), and attended their World IT Forum in Lithuania. They seem good at political connections. They are funded by UNESCO. Their area TC9, Computers and Society, is looking for volunteers. Most of the work is done by e-mail. The next meeting is January 12 in Belgium.

(Unger:) We used to spend half an hour discussing some topic, such as the growing trend of companies cutting their engineering costs by importing workers, or exporting work. Usually the other countries involved are China, Eastern Europe, or India. The cost of a technical professional in India is 1/5 to 1/10 the cost here. Engineering unemployment is higher than it has ever been. The only solution seems to be regulation. SSIT should get involved.

(Andrews:) The current issue of The Institute mentions Janet Rochester. Karl Stephan is mentioned on p.8 of IEEE Spectrum.

14.  Next Meeting

The next meeting is on December 6, 2003 at Rutgers University, New Brunswick, NJ.

There will be an information-only meeting at ISTAS 2003 on September 26, 2003 in Amsterdam, Netherlands.

15.  Adjournment

The meeting adjourned at 2:20PM.

Attendees at the Sept 6, 2003 Meeting
* = @
Clint Andrews President c.j.andrews*ieee.org
Terri Bookman T&S Managing Editor t.bookman*ieee.org
Roberta Brody BOG roberta_brody*qc.edu
Bob Brook BOG, Membership Chair rbrook*att.net
Gerald L. Engel BOG g.engel*computer.org
Joe Herkert Editor T&S joe_herkert*ncsu.edu
Bradley Kjell Secretary kjell*ieee.org
Michael Loui BOG, Publications Chair loui*uiuc.edu
Andrew U. Meyer Div. X, Control Society meyer*njit.edu
Robert Newcomb BOG for CAS newcomb*eng.umd.edu
Brian O'Connell Vice President oconnellb*ccsu.edu
Karl Perusich Past Pres. kperusic*galaxyinternet.net
James Pfafflin BOG  
Julian Reitman Division V jreitman*stam.nconn.edu
Janet Rochester BOG j.rochester*ieee.org
Karl Stephan Treasurer kdstephan*txstate.edu
Steve Unger BOG unger*cs.columbia.edu