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

Queens College, Queens, NY

December 3, 2005 10:15 AM

1.   President O'Connell welcomed the attendees.

2.   The agenda of the meeting was approved.

3.   The minutes of the previous meeting (September 10, 2005) were corrected and approved.

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

(a)   IFMBE. Brian O'Connell spoke about SSIT at their meeting in Stuttgart September 23 - 25, 2005 and brought samples of T&S magazine. He received many positive comments and e-mail and made many useful contacts.

(b)   Sections Congress. This is a large gathering of regional IEEE sections that is done every three years. The meeting was this year in Orlando. SSIT was the only society presenting at the Congress. Brian gave two presentations on what SSIT could do with Sections and Chapters, and on SSIT in general. There were good turnouts. IEEE may be more appreciative of SSIT than in the past.

(c)   ICITD. The International Conference on Information Technology Development will have their annual conference in May. SSIT is a technical co-sponsor of this, and it is listed on our web page. Brian was at the planning meeting for this conference and spoke about SSIT and brought samples of T&S magazine. T&S magazine might be used to publish some of the papers from this conference.

(d)   Technical Activities Board. There is an initiative in TAB regarding how TAB will be run. TAB has become too large, with 43 members or so, plus extras. Some members hope to reorganize TAB to create a more efficient organization. One proposal is to limit the involvement of societies to one meeting per year. But there are concerns that this reduces the input of societies on decisions. A Workshop on governance of TAB will discuss this in the next series, February 14 in Scottsdale AZ. It is important for societies to take part in this.

Motion: Support Brian O'Connell in travel and lodging to attend the next TAB meeting. Approved.

(e)   International Conference on Renewable Energy for Developing Countries. (see attachments) This conference will be held at the Omni Shoreham Hotel in Washington, DC, April 5-7, 2006. It is sponsored by the University of the District of Columbia. SSIT has been invited to become a technical co-sponsor of this conference. This means our members get a reduced rate at the conference and we help publicize it. There is no financial sponsorship and no assumption of liability.

Discussion: Does technical co-sponsorship potentially lead to future real sponsorship? Yes. A major benefit for us is that someone can show up and boost SSIT. Sometimes we have a session at the conference, and sometimes we have a representative at the planning sessions.

Motion: SSIT will be a technical co-sponsor of the ICREDC. Approved.

(f)   International Workshop on Telework. (see attachments) SSIT has been invited to be a technical co-sponsor of this conference. The previous 10 conferences have been successful. Brian O'Connell will be a keynote speaker at this conference. They expect 200-300 attendees and have published proceedings. The conference will be held in Fredericton, New Brunswick, Canada, the same site as our proposed ISTAS 2008.

Motion: SSIT will be a technical co-sponsor of the 11th International Workshop on Telework. Approved.

(g)   Fellows. All of the nominees of SSIT became fellows this year: Michael Loui, Luis Kun, and Swamy Laxminarayan (posthumus).

5a.   Past President's Report (Clint Andrews)

(a)   ASME. The American Society of Mechanical Engineers had a Congress in November. It had a track on Technology & Society, at which Clint Andrews spoke. They would like to get T&S Magazine to the members of their Technology and Society Division. We already have a IEEE/ASME sister society arrangement in place which can be used for this.

Motion: The publication committee will work out an agreement with the ASME Technology and Society Division for subscriptions to T&S Magazine. Approved.

(b)   Division 6. Clint Andrews has looked at other societies in division six. Most societies in this division cut across several fields. These societies can help each other. One proposal is for a joint information booth at large technical conferences. This may cost $1-2K per year. Other proposals are for joint brochures, or for holding joint conferences. These ideas were endorsed by the six presidents in division six.

Motion: Include a new initiative in our budget to support an information booth for joint use of Division 6 Societies. The cost will come out of our reserves. Approved.

(c)   NTDC. Clint Andrews and Peter Wiesner have been working on a project, the New Technology Discourses. This has two years of funding. The goal of NTDC is to communicate new technologies to IEEE members and to the public. The New Technology Discourses focuses on social implications of the new technologies. The intent is to use seed money to see if this is a good idea and if external funding can be attracted. People who are interested in this are welcome to participate.

During a break (later in the day) Peter Wiesner showed a video, Doing the Right Thing, that was produced with New Technology Discourses support. The video is about 25 minutes long. It consists of interviews with various participants at ISTAS 2005. Its budget was about $15K. It will be sent to chapters and student chapters for free, and possibly shown at the next RAB Forum and put on line. There was a long and interesting discussion about the video. The discussion might be continued on our Virtual Community.

5b.   Division V Report (Gene Hoffnagle)

Region I has a big concern that the sections rarely know when a conference is coming into their area. They are hoping for a method that lets them know when they can help with a conference and inform their members. The hope is for a 2-way communications between the sections and the societies. Gene Hoffnagle participated in the Sections Congress; several people from each section attend so there were about 400 attendees.

There have been many proposals about how to make TAB more effective. New faces keep showing up, and experienced members leave. Hard to get anything done. A bicameral TAB was passed in November. The hope is to split up the duties of TAB. There is a workshop in February to discuss this. The success of the year was getting RAB and TAB together. More time has been spent on larger issues and less on minutiae. IEEE has a new executive director who is highly qualified.

Publications and conferences are major sources of income for IEEE. Membership is only 15%. China and India would like be become regions of IEEE. The large size of IEEE is hard to manage. There are six regions in the US, but only four for the rest of the world . Reorganization will be difficult. Often unintended consequences show up. There is talk about changing how IEEE works so that the people most affected by IEEE decisions have more say in making them, and so that societies operate more effectively.

The allocation algorithm has caused problems for some societies, including SSIT and CS. Those two may be on the watch list within the next few years. CS has asked to break away from TAB. They have been running a deficit of about $2 million a year. Another idea is that any society with its own staff be allowed to break away from TAB. Four or so societies fit this.

Discussion: How bad is it for SSIT to be on the watch list? If we are on it two years in a row, IEEE steps in to fix the problems. This could be drastic. The reallocation of revenue due the the electronic publication allocation algorithm is designed more for medium-sized societies. Those at either end loose money. TAB now has rules so that a new society is on probation when they begin. It might be that in the future the idea of probation is extended to societies on the watch list. This is why SSIT needs to be represented on TAB,

6.   Treasurer's Report (Karl Stephan) (see attachments)

It is not clear if we will show a deficit at the end of the year. We have a budget that is close to break even; usually we end up with a small surplus. We have been marketing ourselves more heavily than in the past, so may get revenue from new members. IEEE may reduce the overhead charges, which would bring us into the positive again.

We are in danger of going into structural deficit because of the periodicals revenue formula. This may reduce our revenue by $30K in 2007. The minimum fixed revenue that goes to a society will be reduced. The plan is to keep it low and base revenue on the number of hits on a society's electronic publications. We have lots of reserves which we have not tapped. Perhaps we should look at ways to use it. Did we not pass a motion sometime in the past to fund the editor's travel to two BOG meetings a year?

Motion: Fund the travel of the T&S editor to two BOG meetings a year, effective 2005. Approved.

Karl Perusich will look into finding grants from outside organizations to fund SSIT activities.

7.   Publications Report (Michael Loui) (see attachments)

(a) Technology and Society Magazine. Submissions are running ahead of publishing. Given the growing backlog, we can increase the number of pages in 2006 by 16. We might anticipate a permanent increase in the future.

Motion: Increase the total number of pages in T&S by 16 for 2006. Approved.

The committee was asked to study the idea of using our surplus budget as a new initiative for increasing the page count. Will we cross a postage boundary with these additional pages? The committee should check. Postage rates are going up again and will affect us.

(b) Editor and Editorial Board. We need to add an editorial board member from regions 8–10. Send any suggestions to Michael Loui. We should check the member list for possibilities. Also, the by-laws should be checked to see how this editor will be approved.

We should consider extending Joe Herkert's term as Editor for one year through the December 2007 issue. We also need to start training an associate editor to become full editor.

Motion: To extend Joe Herkert's term as T&S editor through December 2007. Approved.

(c) Electronic Newsletter. The winter newsletter will be issued sometime in January. Publication dates are coordinated with BOG meetings so that the minutes are available.

(d) Web Site. PageHealer, a small New Jersey firm, will provide a revamped Web site for both SSIT and T&S Magazine. The work should be finished in January.

8.  Conference Reports

(a) ISTAS 2006, Queens, NY. The conference will be held June 9th and 10th, Friday and Saturday. There have been many inquiries and 17 abstracts and panel proposals. We do not yet have a keynote speaker. The hotel, Sheridan La Guardia East, seems good. It is walking distance to Shea stadium, and convenient to La Guardia and the Metro. Busses to and from the hotel and the conference are being planned. This is the second largest expense, about $2,200. The hotel has a shuttle from La Guardia.

Cost for AV equipment will be small since we will use the University's. The biggest expense will be meals. Not having a Saturday night dinner will save a considerable amount.

The conference site is close to the many publishers in New York CIty and Garden City, NJ. We should suggest to publishers that they sponsor a table.

Discussion: How much should be charged for a table? Have we done enough promotion. IEEE has various ways to publicize conferences; we should use them. We should place ads in Spectrum; maybe use the IEEE Communities, perhaps by starting a discussion on a topic that will be covered by the conference. Registration may be a problem. We should look at having the Computer Society co-sponsor the conference and use their conference registration facility.

There will be free parking while at the conference. There are break-out rooms and a ballroom available. The model is for 75 attendees, but we can accommodate up to 250, and can scale back. The hotel charges $600 for reserving a block of rooms.

Assuming no Saturday dinner, but including a Thursday evening reception the fees will be $275 per member, $350 per non-member, $150 for students, retired, unemployed. The current break-even number is 60 attendees.

Discussion: We should look for corporate supporters, perhaps of the shuttle bus. The UN staff might be interested. Is there a student paper session? Perhaps there should be a student travel award.

(b) ISTAS 2007, Las Vegas. (see attachments) This is proposed to be at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, with a topic of "Risk, Vulnerability, Uncertainty, Technology and Society." The conference chair will be David Hassenzahl. UNLV has the needed facilities. Dorm rooms are available. The site is not far from the strip. field trips are available. Technical co-sponsors might be the Risk Assessment and Policy Association (RAPA).

Motion: To accept the proposal to hold ISTAS 2007 at University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Approved.

Discussion: There needs to be more SSIT people on the technical committee. It needs a more specific topic. It needs to get an attractive keynote speaker to set the tone of the meeting. Gene Hoffnagle was recommended for the technical committee.

(c) International Symposium on Electronics and the Environment (ISEE). This will be held in San Francisco, May 8th - 11th. They want to add an ethics track. Joe Herkert, Brian O'Connell, and Clint Andrews are invited speakers. We are technical co-sponsors of this.

Motion: Support travel and lodging of Joe Herkert to the 2006 ISEE conference, and to support travel and lodging of Brian O'Connell if needed. Approved.

(d) ISTAS 2008, Fredericton, Canada. (see extra attachment) This will be hosted by the National Research Council Institute for Information Technology. They have sponsored many recent, successful conferences. The suggested theme is "Citizen engagement using information and communication technologies". The site is a 6 hour drive from Boston. We should promote this conference at or next conferences, perhaps with a video presentation. There are vacation deals already in place as add-ons.

Motion: Go forward with discussions to host ISTAS 2008 in Fredericton. Approved.

9.  Committee Reports

Nominations. The BOG election is on-going.

Motion: President: Karl Perusich. Approved.

Motion: Vice President: Janet Rochester. Approved.

Motion: Secretary: Bradley Kjell. Approved.

Motion: Treasurer: Karl Stephan, elected by acclamation and commended for his diligence. Approved.

Membership. (see attachment) There is essentially no change in the number of members. There have been lots of e-mails on the subject of why societies need new members; mostly the reason is to inject new ideas and innovative approaches.

The December 2004 IEEE Spectrum (see attachment) has an article describing the work of Faith and Anthony Harckham, who have introduced low-cost safe lighting to people of third world countries.

Student Membership/GOLD. Emily Anesta is no longer a student, but is now our GOLD committee chair. We are looking for a new student representative. Students might be involved in the next ISTAS.

The twenty-fifth anniversary of SSIT will be next year. Jeff Bogumil was one of the founders of SSIT and may write something up for our anniversary if we want. Karl Stephan has volunteered to write a history of the society. Founders will send in reminiscences which may be used. Perhaps this could be a session at the next ISTAS.

Distinguished Lecturers. The SSIT Web site needs to be fixed so that trolls do not pick up e-mail addresses. Our lecturers need to be brought to the attention of sections and chapters. The Boston chapter has invited Brian O'Connell to speak in February.

Motion: Endorse Steve Unger as a distinguished lecturer. Approved.

Awards. Negotiations continue to present the Barus award to Kym Harvin. This may be done in conjunction with Triple Helix at University of Pennsylvania.

Chapters. The Melbourne chapter is being developed. Six members from Australia are planning to show up at ISTAS. The Boston chapter is being resurrected.

10.  Liaison Reports

Andy Meyer sends our reports to Division X.

11.  Old Business

No old business

12.  New Business

Motion: Thank Brian O'Connell for his service during his term as President. Approved.

13.  Next Meeting

The next meeting will be in April, possibly at the University of Wisconsin.

14.  Adjournment

The meeting adjourned at 3:40PM.

Attendees at the Meeting
* = @
Clint Andrews Past President c.j.andrews*ieee . org
Emily Anesta GOLD/Boston Chapter eanesta * alum . wpi . edu
Terri Bookman T&S Managing Editor t.bookman*ieee . org
Bob Brook membership chair, SSIT rbrook3*yahoo . com
Roberta Brody SSIT BOG roberta_brody * qc . edu
Joe Herkert Editor of T&S joe_herkert*ncsu . edu
Gene Hoffnagle Div. V Director g.f.hoffnagle * ieee . org
Bradley Kjell Secretary kjell*ieee . org
Michael Loui Publications Chair loui*uiuc . edu
Andy Meyer Div. 8 / Control Society meyer * njit . edu
Brian O'Connell President oconnellb*ccsu . edu
Karl Perusich VP/BOG perusich*sbcgloba l . net
Janet Rochester BOG j.rochester*ieee . org
Steve Unger Ethics Committee unger * cs . columbia . edu
Peter Wiesner IEEE Staff p.wiesner*ieee . org