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

at the

Engineering Research Building, University of Wisconsin, Madison

April 1, 2006 10:15 AM

1.   President Perusich welcomed the attendees.

2.   The agenda of the meeting was approved.

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

4.   President's Report. (Karl Perusich)

(a)   TAB meeting, February, Phoenix. There were no matters that directly affect us. Brian O'Connell will attend the June TAB meeting.

(b)   TAB Periodicals Board. There was a presentation by Jonathan Dahl about proposed changes in how journals are being approved. Any journal that does not generate $100,000 per year in non-membership revenue is not viable. This should be revenue outside of the all-periodicals package. Many journals have been approved with the assumption that there will be abundant non-member revenue, but this does not always occur. Journals are now being reviewed for viability. Some new journals merely move readers from one journal to another. Several of the newly proposed journals may not get approval.

5.   Past President's Report (Brian O'Connell)

(a)   TAB Governance. Brian attended the TAB governance workshop, where a new infrastructure for TAB was discussed. Some members want a two-level structure for TAB. The majority regard this as an undemocratic structure, so the reorganization seems dead, for now.

(b)   Boston Chapter. There was a nice meeting at Lincoln Labs, with a nice dinner. Many interested members attended. They are interested in what we can do to help their chapter.

(c)   Sections Congress. The Sections Congress last summer in Florida has generated interest in SSIT. The Engineering Management Conference in Brazil is interested in SSIT doing a workshop.

6.   Director's Report (Clint Andrews)

(a)   China. IEEE's presence in China is moving forward. They will have an office in Beijing. There is much discussion of it being truly international, not just a US presence.

(b)   Computer Society. The Computer Society has requested investigating major organizational changes to their status. As a society, it is too big, and their budget is unpredictable and hard to manage. If it is changed to a major organizational unit, this might make it easier to manage and make other societies easier to manage. An ad hoc committee has already met on this issue.

As IEEE moves more to collective products, the allocation algorithms move toward the middle. Small and large societies both end up with problems. TAB governance is not going away. IEEE is a multi-level organization and initiatives should exist at many levels. Societies need more control over their activities. But this is not working very well, at present.

(c)   IEEE History Center. An evaluation concluded that it is doing good work, but is financially shaky. There is interest in making it more viable, perhaps by stressing innovation. Presently it is housed on Rutgers' campus. It may be transformed into a Center for Innovation Studies.

(d)   Discourses on Technology and Society. This works on getting technical knowledge out to the world of public policy and non-technical people through videos, pod casts, and Web sites. It tries to broaden the discussion of technical issues. One of the first efforts is the Wind power Workshop in Washington, DC to be held April 20-21. SSIT is a technical co-sponsor of this. Clint Andrews will be the master of ceremonies the first day of the conference. There will be a video crew present, similar to what was done at ISTAS 2005. The video will be aimed at students and general IEEE members. This is an experiment to see if IEEE can engage the public and its own members in these issues. The ISTAS video and others are available on the Web at IEEE TV. discussion: The NY Times Web site is a good example that we might study. The IEEE site should target journalists by presenting material that they can easily use. Science Central has short video downloads on science subjects that local news programs use. Maybe the SSIT Web site could do something like this. IEEE had a teacher in service presentation. The idea is to train engineers to train teachers. Perhaps social issues of technology might catch the interest of students who would otherwise not be interested. SSIT should have someone working on this. The Web site tryengineering.org has some material.

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

The membership chart has dips; IEEE periodically trims members in arrears. We have a high turnover of members. Comparing February 2006 to February 2005 shows that total IEEE membership has dropped 3%, society membership has dropped 6%, but SSIT has gained 0.1%. We need to repeat our half-year membership offer. The third page of the attachment is a summary of our current financial situation up to February 2006. It shows a deficit, but we get a lump sum at the end of the year that in the past has put us back in the positive. We made a little money last year, about $34,000 including investment income and book broker income.

The All Periodicals package funds revenue formula has been changed and there are changes in the Infrastructure charges which has an adverse effect on small societies. Our charges will nearly double. Twenty-five percent of the charges are common across societies. The formula does not take account of the number of members a society has. This will be 19% of our expenses.

The majority of societies are not affected. Midrange societies bring proposals to TAB based on their characteristics. Four societies are badly hit: SSIT, Professional Communication, Broadcast Technology, and Product Safety. SSIT does not have many parameters we can adjust to address this problem.

Various scenarios were discussed (see attachments). They mostly end up bad for us. If we do nothing, it looks like we will run a $40K deficit. The $90K infrastructure charge will happen. But the revenue formula may be changed again.

Discussion: There have been proposals that SSIT should become a council. Probably not a good option. Typically councils are societies about to become a society. As a council, we would have to sell T&S magazine to other societies and we would not have membership dues. We could raise dues, but with our membership of around 2000, this will not make a big difference. We have lots of older members and life members. Raising dues will not affect them.

Discussion: Removing CS from TAB might make it easier for IEEE to come up with an algorithm that works for all. CS has 130 staff that are doing things also done in Piscataway. Maybe we should write a letter protesting how we can't get the information we need. We should complain that the $45K extra charge appeared without notice. We may be put on the watch list, which is painful, be we have been on it before. We have lots of reserves. Perhaps we could become part of the EAB, a membership service. This entails a different set of risks. Or we could look for a society to merge with, probably another one from Division VI.

Motion: Raise dues by $2 ($24 to $26) for 2007 for regular members . Approved.

Motion: Set non-member subscription rate toT&S at the level recommended by IEEE. Approved.

Discussion: We should spend new initiatives money since that does not affect our budget balance. The Teacher in Service workshops could be funded by this.

Motion: Emily Anesta and Clint Andrews will write up a new initiative proposal for Teacher in Service initiative, up to $10K. Approved.

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

(a) Technology and Society Magazine. In December 2005, T&S received three awards of excellence by the Society for Technical Communications. Thirty papers were submitted for regular issues of T&S in 2005, plus two resubmissions. Requests for complimentary copies of T&S have increased to about 5 to 10 a month.

Motion: Keep the number of pages in T&S at 224 pages plus 16 cover pages for a total of 240 pages for 2007. Approved.

(b) Editor and Editorial Board. We need to add an editorial board member from regions 8–10 and a second Associate Editor from regions 8–10. This has not yet been done.

(c) Web Site. The Web site has been revamped. Most people like it. There have been some complaints, and some usability and accessibility issues. It is difficult to create a site that conforms to all of the standards. There are some browser compatibility issues. The site developers addressed these issues, but may not have succeeded on every one. Terri Bookman worked with the developers in transferring data from the old site. A previous agreement gave her up to $2K to maintain the site. Now there is one site for both SSIT and T&S .

Motion: Terri Bookman is made Web master to maintain the SSIT and T&S Web sites within a budget as specified by the previous agreement, under oversight of the Publications Committee. Approved.

Motion: That SSIT officers and others as designated by the President shall have access to the tools to update the Web site. Approved.

9.  Conference Reports

(a) ISTAS 2006, Queens, NY. The conference will be held June 9th and 10th, Friday and Saturday. Conference planning is proceeding; a fair number of details have been worked out. There have been problems with authors who have not heard back. Deadlines have already been passed. Problems with e-mail resulted in nearly all authors not receiving acceptance notices. This is being redone. About 40 to 50 abstracts were sent in. The IEEE paperwork has been completed. We will have an IEEE bank account for the accounting. The site details have been worked out. We don't have a keynote speaker, yet. There is still no way to register for the conference, but this should be up in about two weeks, handled by IEEE. We need to develop a institutional memory about how to run a conference. There are some things that the conference chair should not have to do, such as creating a proceedings. T&S has received some awards in the past year: Terri Bookman's article on wind energy and Kevin Bowyer's article on face recognition. Awards could be presented at the conference.

(b) ISTAS 2007, Las Vegas. This is to be at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. This is moving along well. There is already a Web site.

(c) ISTAS 2008, Fredericton, Canada. The is well organized. The MOU is in the process of getting signed.

(d) Wind Power, Washington DC, April 20-22. Enough people are currently registered so that this is at the break even point. We need an SSIT banner.

10.  Committee Reports


Motion: Emine Cagin as student representative. Approved.

Motion: To finance travel and reasonable expenses for the student representative to attend BoG meetings and ISTAS. Approved.

Fellows. Irv Engleson will chair. It needs nominations.

Distinguished Lecturers. [see attached] Steve Unger spoke to students at NJIT. Brian O'Connell spoke to the Boston SSIT chapter. Janet Rochester spoke to the Penn State Student Professional Awareness Conference. Extra copies of T&S for sample distribution at lectures need to be ordered from Terri in advance of publication. Small numbers of copies are usually available.

Virtual Community. It has quieted down lately. There are several logins per day. Articles in T&S need to emphasize links to virtual community articles.

GOLD. SSIT is relevant to GOLD members, but new IEEE might not be aware of SSIT. Emily Anesta will send e-mail to GOLD chapter chairs telling them about ways to get active. There are 113 GOLD chapters. We will offer to send sample copies of T&S to any that show interest.

Chapters. There is a chapter in Australia. We could e-mail chapters the same as GOLD chapters. We may get about 500 DVDs with the ISTAS video that could be used in chapter meetings. An officer of the Boston chapter is interested in software complexity as an important safety issue. Perhaps this could be a track at ISTAS 2007 or an on line discussion at the virtual community.

Awards. Janet has criteria from IEEE about what we need for an award. We have discussed a lifetime service award. We need to define criteria and policy for this award. Also, we need to make the criteria for the Barus award more clear. IEEE has established an ethics award, which is run by a member ethics committee. The recipient has to be an IEEE member.

11.  Liaison Reports

No reports.

12.  Old Business

No old business

13.  New Business

Thanks to Sara Pfatteicher for hosting us.

14.  Next Meeting

The next meeting will be in June at ISTAS.

15.  Adjournment

The meeting adjourned at 2:25PM.

* = @
Clint Andrews Div VI c.j.andrews * ieee . org
Emily Anesta GOLD/Boston Chapter eanesta * alum . wpi . edu
Emine Cagin Student Rep. cagin * eecs . umich . edu
Gerald Engel BOG g.engel * computer . org
Joe Herkert Editor of T&S joe_herkert * ncsu . edu
Bradley Kjell Secretary kjell * ieee . org
Michael Loui Publications Chair loui * uiuc . edu
Brian O'Connell Past President oconnellb*ccsu . edu
Karl Perusich President perusich * sbcgloba l . net
Sarah Pfatteicher BOG spfatt * engr . wisc . edu
Janet Rochester VP j.rochester * ieee . org
Karl Stephan Treasurer kdstephan * txstate . edu