Minutes of the meeting of the Board of Governors (BOG)

of the
IEEE Society on the social Implications of Technology (SSIT)

at Pererira Hall of Loyola Marymount University, Los Angeles
December 5, 2004

1.   Welcome and Introductions

The meeting was called to order at 10:20 AM. President O'Connell welcomed the attendees. Attendees introduced themselves.

2.   Adoption of Agenda

The agenda of the meeting was approved.

3.   Approval of Previous Minutes

The minutes of the previous meeting were corrected and approved.

4.   President's Report (Brian O'Connell)

(a)   Membership

Membership is increasing. SSIT is the only Division VI society that has increased its membership.

(b)   IEEE Product Safety Engineering Society

Joe Herkert and Brian O'Connell attended their August meeting, which went well. SSIT may be a technical co-sponsor of their 2005 annual conference. They convey their thanks for our past support of them.

Motion: That SSIT be a technical co-sponsor of the 2005 Product Safety Engineering Conference, should it be offered. Approved.

(c)  IEEE Toronto

At the Toronto section meeting W. Zessner got a lifetime achievement achievement award from SSIT and an award from the Toronto section. IEEE Toronto has a combined chapter structure. The meeting was attended by about 200 people. Brian O'Connell was the keynote speaker. Ray Findley (past IEEE president) voiced support for SSIT. The Ottawa, Canada section is interested in having a similar meeting. Perhaps the BOG should meet there.

(d)   Collaborations

Ken Foster and Swamy Laxminarayan are working to get SSIT more involved with the International Federation of Medical and Bioengineering (IFMBE). IFMBE will have conference in The Hague, June 1-3, 2005. Michael Lightner, the President-elect of IEEE, will be their keynote speaker. SSIT is a technical co-sponsor of this meeting.

The National Institute for Engineering Ethics is interested in working with SSIT on several issues. They are interested in our ISTAS conference. Michael Loui is in contact with them. It is not yet clear if SSIT will be their connection to all of IEEE, or if they need a direct IEEE representative.

IEEE Oceanic Engineering Society is active in homeland security. Their past president Bob Bannon talked to us about technical co-sponsorship of their conference next year. Brian O'Connell will attend their December meeting at Valley Forge, PA to discuss this and other collaboration possibilities.

Discussion: perhaps SSIT should investigate actual co-sponsorship of some other conferences?

The IEEE Geoscience and Remote Sensing Society has been asking for SSIT representation on their board. Mostly they are interested in Earth observation. The IEEE Sensors Council also has approached the Computer Society about SSIT representation.

(e)   Outreach

SSIT sponsored two speakers to student groups at Loyola Marymount University. Emily Anesta spoke about international programs. Ken Foster spoke about about ethical concerns with brain imaging. Copies of T&S Magazine were distributed at both talks.

Janet Rochester spoke at a IEEE Region 4 conference at Purdue University. There were about 50 attendees from many universities and colleges from the region. She is on an IEEE national list of speakers. She has a tentative invitation to speak at Northwestern University.

Discussion: SSIT should revitalize our participation on this speakers program. Speakers often go to chapter and society meetings. SSIT would finance part of the speaker's expenses. Usually the chapter pays local expenses, SSIT pays for travel. The IEEE distinguished speakers Web site has details. Joe Herkert will go to Little Rock in January to speak as part of this program. Other societies Web pages have a section on the distinguished speakers they can provide. Perhaps we should do this.

5.   Past President's Report (Clint Andrews)

(a)   New Technical Directions Committee

This committee has been active. They held the Hydrogen Symposium in Summer 2004, which SSIT technically co-sponsored. The Proceedings of the IEEE will have a special issue on this. Clint Andrews will be a co-editor. The committee is looking at new initiatives in biotechnology. The possibility of a Transactions on Technology Assessment has been floated, but does not seem to be going anywhere.

(b)  IEEE Board of Directors

Clint Andrews is on the Board of Directors of IEEE as Division VI Director. Various news items: The executive director of the IEEE is leaving at the end of this month. The three presidents of IEEE will jointly function as the executive director. The Board approved two candidates for President Elect for 2006. An industrial advisory committee may be formed. The dues allotment to IEEE Spectrum did not change, but the page count has been dropped.

The 2005 IEEE President Cleon Anderson discussed his goals. He wants stability now that the needed changes have been made. Also, he is concerned that electronic publishing has undermined the societies. Users now buy articles electronically rather than subscribe to print publications. The focus on conferences and transactions are decreasing, and this is changing the revenue streams. There is much discussion about what type of publishing model to follow.

Discussion: there is still no clear archiving plan for electronic publications. When IEEE publications were all print, libraries were relied upon for archieving. But now libraries are looking for cheaper methods, and now often provided electronic versions of articles on demand and do not archive print versions. The open access model is much harder on the author. Pricing models may suppress graduate students or non-funded, non-corporate publication. Possibly this could be a topic for a future ISTAS. Roberta Brody will sound out her institution about this.

6.   Treasurer's Report (Karl Stephan, conveyed by Clint Andrews)

(See attachment.) Nothing much has changed since September. We will take a hit because of ISTAS 2004. Last year our reserves were $275,000. Our projected net worth looks about the same for this year. Year-to-date income and expenditure shows we are overspending by about $25,000, but this is likely to be an artifact of when things are reported. Our periodical revenue is lower than expected. The various trips and conference attendance has cost $13,000 out of $9,000 budgeted. We can afford some new initiatives, but not a lot. There will be a $6,000 to $8,000 infrastructure rebate from IEEE at the end of the year.

Motion: That the Board of Governors authorize an expenditure of 3% (of $117,000) in the 2005 expense budget for a presidential contingency fund. Passed.

Motion: That starting in 2006 the Treasurer budget up to 5% of the expense budget as a presidential contingency fund. Passed.

7.   Publications Report (Loui / Herkert / Perusich)

(See attachment.) There are two special issues per year, one including papers from ISTAS and another on a special topic. This year's special issues are for ISTAS'03 and and issue on nanotechnology. The electronic newsletter is quarterly. The next one will be at the end of December.

The Web site needs help. It needs a more modern design, dynamic content, and continuous maintenance. Responses in the membership survey often suggested improvements to the site. It is our front gate to the members and others. Perhaps we should pay someone to do this, or find a graduate student to help. There should be links between the virtual community and the publicly available Web site.

The BOG discussed the proposal for a special issue of T&S Magazine on Building the 'Middle East': Engineers and Engineering Education in Bahrain, Egypt, and Turkey. The topic might be too narrow, and the title needs work. One paper of the special issue is still open.

Motion: Suggest that the open paper be on the role of gender in engineering education and that the title of the special issue be reworked, and that the proposal be accepted with those modifications. Approved.

Emily Anesta has taken over the Web site and has redesigned the look, and will later change the content. Mac users should send reports about how the site looks, since the site is designed using Netscape. In the future there will be a constantly changing front page that shows trips and news and gives the view of a dynamic society. There will be pictures of current activities and notable events.

About 150 people have joined the on-line community. There is a modest amount of discussion. The Web site and the online community are means by which members in other countries can become more active. Some material is in both the Web site and the on-line community. Should it be in both places. Rahul Tongia of CMU has agreed to coordinate international outreach.

It would be nice to have a nice, colorful brochure on SSIT to hand out at meetings.

8.   Conference Reports

(a) ISTAS 2005 (Chmielewski)

The call for papers has gone out. Abstracts are due January 30. Not very many abstracts are being submitted. There should be a strong effort to disseminate the call for papers. We need to get local publicity going. Many departments of local universities, such as departments of planning, might be interested in this conference and might be interested in serving on the planning committee. The CPED (Crime Prevention through Environmental Design) is interested in having a track within the conference and think they could bring 50 paper submissions.

There is an IEEE conference organizers manual that should be sent to Philip Chmielewski and a write up about the successes and problems of the last conference from Lance Schacterle. We do not yet have a memorandum of understanding worked out and initialed. Arrangements need to be made so that the conference proceedings are available at the conference IEEE conference services may be helpful in this.

The annual conference on Ethics and Social Responsibility at Gonzaga University is going on at the same time, so there may be opportunities for joint meetings and common activities but this needs work. Their Web site will be used to accept registrations for ISTAS.

9.   Committee Reports

(a) Nominations

(b) Membership

See the Treasurer's Report for numbers. We have not lost membership in two years. Emily Anesta gave a talk to LMU students and gave a plug to SSIT and our Web site.

The membership survey conducted by IEEE asked why individuals dropped their membership. The main complaints were about the Web site, that members never heard about the conferences, and that they wanted continuing education. Perhaps we could do more with continuing education.

There is an Interdisciplinary Graduate Student Conference at AAAS headquarters on April 23-25, 2005, funded by the NSF. Several universities sponsor the conference. This is an opportunity to promote SSIT.

(c) Chapters (Paul Willis)

The LA Council has about 80 members. In the past they have taught XML and TCL courses to members for a small fee. Some SSIT members come to these events. SSIT has been promoted at these events, but no new members resulted.

(d) Awards

Dr. Kymn Harvin has been proposed for the Barris Award. Dr. Harvin's job at the Salem Nuclear Power Plant in New Jersey was to promote the safety culture of the organization. A nomination package was created and distributed by e-mail to the members of the BOG.

Motion: That the Barus Award be given to Dr. Kymn Harvin. Approved.

Discussion: When should this be presented? At ISTAS 2005? Or at the Power Engineering Society conference?

Motion: That SSIT pay travel and expenses for the presenter and the awardee and a companion to be present at an award ceremony at an IEEE conference. Approved.

Discussion: SSIT should create a Leadership in Engineering Ethics award. But a continuing award might need the approval of IEEE TAB. We should investigate the IEEE procedures for creating awards. A robust awards program would be beneficial.

10.   Liaison Reports

CCIP (Camp)

The CCIP (Committee on Communications and Information Policy) had been developing white papers for the new US administration, but this project was dropped. The committee is discussing municipal broadband.

11.   Old Business

No old business.

12.   New Business

An ad hoc committee will be formed to decide how to provide distinguished lectures. The committee will (i) look at the IEEE mechanisms for doing this, and (ii) decide on the necessary budget. Janet Rochester will be the lead on this committee.

13.   Next Meeting Data and Place

The next Board of Governor's meeting will be April 30, 2004 at University of Wisconsin, Madison.

14.   Adjournment

The meeting was adjourned at 2:50 PM.

Attendees at the Dec. 6, 2004 Meeting

NAME AFFILIATION EMAIL (replace # with @)
Clint Andrews SSIT BOG c.j.andrews#ieee.org
Emily Anesta   eanesta#wpi.edu
Philip Chmielewski Loyola Marymount Univ. pchmiele#lmu.edu
Jean Camp SSIT BOG    jeanc#gmail.com CHECK
Roberta Brody SSIT BOG roberta_brody#qc.edu
Gerald Engel SSIT BOG g.engel#computer.org
Joe Herkert Editor T&S joe_herkert#ncsu.edu
Bradley Kjell Secretary kjell#ieee.org
Brian O'Connell President oconnellb#ccsu.edu
James Pfafflin SSIT BOG 173 Gates Ave. Gillette, N.J. 07933
Janet Rochester SSIT BOG j.rochester#ieee.org
Paul A. Willis Cal Tech/ LA Council Chapter Chair p.willis#ieee.org