Minutes of the meeting of the Board of Governors (BoG)
of the
IEEE Society on the Social Implications of Technology (SSIT) (SIT-30)
at the Bloustein School, Rutgers University,
New Brunswick, New Jersey

Oct 6, 2007

(minutes corrected and updated, Nov. 15, 2007, March 3, 2008)

1. Welcome and Introductions

The meeting was called to order at 10:50 AM. President Perusich welcomed the attendees. Attendees introduced themselves.

2. Adoption of the Agenda

The agenda was approved.

3. Approval of Previous Minutes

The minutes of the past meeting were approved. (Several people e-mailed corrections to the on-line minutes.)

4. President's Report

Our current financial situation will be discussed during the treasurer's report. The IEEE Earth Observations Committee would like us to suggest an associate editor of the new Journal, IEEE Journal of Selected Topics on Earth Observation and Remote Sensing. Please forward suggestions to the president.

5. Past President's Report

No report.

6. Director's Report

a. The Engineering Management Society is phasing out as a society and becoming a council, the Technical Management Council. A council operates as a society, except that the members are societies, not individuals. Fourteen societies are members. This is the first time a society has become a council. Usually councils become societies. (Discussion: we should keep a close watch to see how this change benefits them.)

b. The IEEE Board held a strategic planning retreat this summer. Janet Rochester represented us.

c. There is a debate about whether articles should be published in languages other than English. IEEE is hoping to become more international. But there are problems publishing articles in languages other than English. Libraries may stop subscribing if they perceive that journals are inaccessible. There would be problems in finding reviewers. Articles would be inaccessible to many engineers. English has become the world wide language of science and engineering. (Discussion: IEEE is too American and should work to become more international.)

7. Treasurer's Report (See Attached)

Membership numbers are down from what they usually are at this time of the year, but the drop is not alarming. Our net worth goes up somewhat at the end of the year when all the numbers are in and we are charged less for infrastructure than was projected. It usually takes several months before we see the end of the year figures. We are on the IEEE Watch List, but this is not a major problem. Our periodical income is steady. We have a comfortable surplus.

President: The President gave a presentation to the IEEE Finance Committee about how we propose to get out of deficit. Our deficit problems are due mostly to the indirect infrastructure charges. The formula keeps changing, so it is hard to plan. We are in good company: The Computer Society, Communications Society, and the Product Safety Society are also on the Watch List.

Our deficit problem will continue. There are no expenses we can cut. We can't charge more for our conference because its appeal to social science people, who are accustomed to much cheaper conferences than industry-supported engineering conferences.

There is little reason to transition to a council (see attachment, e-mail from Denise Hurley). The same infrastructure problems would continue.

Pres. Perusich recommends that our policy be one of maintaining the status quo, and watching for opportunities for additional income, such conference co-sponsorships.

Discussion: Perhaps SSIT should integrate with the Management Council. Then the infrastructures would be shared. Comments: this would be an awkward alliance.

Discussion: IEEE has invested our surplus in the stock market. This is how they go into trouble when the market crashed in year 2000. We have no control over this. The IEEE Board has a committee made up of professional investors who make these decisions. TAB itself has a surplus of $27 million. One of the candidates for IEEE President is much in favor of using this surplus for various projects.

IEEE is in no danger of going out of business; the problem with societies and watch lists is largely an artifact of various ways of moving piles of money around. The watch list does not make sense. Running a deficit two times in a row will put a society on the watch list; but this merely means poor budget projections, not necessarily financial problems.

Discussion: a new infrastructure allocation algorithm is in place now. Charges are now taken off the top, and the remaining money proportionally distributed to societies, rather than societies charged a fixed amount for infrastructure. We may expect to see less money from the publication package, but we won't be hit with big infrastructure charges.

We need to increase the number of hits on T&S through the library publications packages since this will increase our percentage of the publication revenue. 0.2% of hits on the IEEE site are for SSIT. This is less than our percentage of articles. Perhaps we should create courseware that features SSIT publications. Karl Stephan has a bibliography already on our web site. (Karl agreed to update it, and Terri Bookman agreed to move it to a more prominent location.)

We need more publicity, but no one is working on this. Perhaps there should be a publicity committee?

8. Publication Report (See Attached)

1. Technology and Society is in good shape. Twenty-four papers were submitted for regular issues in 2006; enough of them have been accepted to provide a healthy backlog. Keith Miller, the new editor, has assumed responsibility for the review of papers submitted in 2007. So far in 2007, 21 papers have been submitted. Four special issues are in line: December 2007 on ethics education, March 2008 on wireless communications, September 2008 the ISTAS 2007 special issue, and March 2009 on engineering volunteerism. Two additional special issues are under development.

2. Sarah Pfatteicher continues as an associate editor. Jun Fudano of the Kanawaza Institute of Technology (Japan) has been asked to become a second associate editor. He is the director of an engineering ethics institute and a frequent participant in ethics conferences.

3. Terri Bookman's contract as managing editor is up for renewal:

Motion: Accept the contract for the managing editor. Motion passed.

4. The next e-newsletter will be late October or November. Send items for inclusion to Karl Perusich.

5. Katina Michael wishes to communicate that the 2nd Workshop on the Social Implications of National Security will be held on Oct 29. Fourteen papers will be presented, some of which might be submitted to T&S.

9. Conference Reports (see attached)

The Conference Committee met by teleconference, Oct. 2, 2007.

ISTAS 2007, Las Vegas. This is nearly wrapped up. A $1,500 surplus is expected. Papers for T&S are under review.

ISTAS 2008, Fredericton, NB. This is going along nicely and getting support from the CNRC. The web site has been updated and now includes videos. The conference will include video conferencing and may feature several prominent Canadians. Gene Hoffnagle visited the site and was very favorably impressed.

The conference will span three days. The first day at the CNRC is focused on teleconferencing. The other two days are a more normal conference. Dorm housing and hotels are available. A reception is planned at a local art museum. Registration will be handled by IEEE through the conference web site. Conference fees are higher than usual.

Note: the Life Member fees will have to be made no higher than the Student fees as per IEEE rules.

ISTAS 2009. We still do not have a site. We are discussion a proposal with Brad Allenby at Arizona State.

ISTAS 2010. Two possible sites for this are Torino, Italy and Sidney, Australia. Torino had the Winter Olympics and has many local attractions. (Discussion: The Australian chapter has been very active and might provide a good turnout. Australians are willing to travel great distances to chapter meetings. Japan is our most active chapter. However, it is not clear how many Americans would go to an Australian conference.)

Gene Hoffnagle is directed to look at Australia for 2009 if Arizona does not work out.

Linking with other conferences: The IEEE USA conference on Plug-in Hybrids in Washington, DC in September was really good. But our logo was not included on the conference program. This has happened several times in the past. We may need to design a smaller logo that is more suitable on co-sponsored programs.

Piggybacking onto a giant engineering conference was discussed. SSIT would provide the social implication track. This would target a different audience than our usual. Cross-registration arrangements would have to be worked out. (Discussion: what happened to the idea of adding a professional ethics training session to some engineering conferences? Some employers require their employees to attend ethics training.)

A Best Practices Handbook for our conferences is being put together.

10. Committee Reports

Nominations. Three Board positions, for 2008-2009, are open. A slate was proposed:Joe Herkert, Bradley Kjell, Luis Kun,Susan O'Donnell, Ilene Ruhoy. Motion: Approve the slate. Passed.

Motion: Approve Janet Rochester as President. Passed.

Motion: Approve Gerald Engel as Vice President. Passed.

Motion: Approve expenses for Janet Rochester to attend the final TAB Board meeting. Passed.

Fellows. It was proposed that the committee be split into two parts: one part to deal with nominations, one part to do fellows reviews. Discussion: then it would be difficult to find enough Fellows that can do the endorsements. Fellows citations need to be carefully written. Fellows must be nominated, so be sure that anyone qualified gets nominated. The database should be searched for possible Fellows. Our web page should list a resource person who could help through the nomination procedure.

Student Membership. (See Attached) Emine Cagin is getting in touch with IEEE student chapters and making them aware of SSIT and ISTAS 2008. This is a great deal of work because e-mail addresses and officers keep changing. There have not been many responses yet. At University of Michigan there was a mass IEEE student group meeting. Most of the students did not know that the technical societies existed. They became interested in the possibility of inviting distinguished lecturers. SSIT can send a package of T&S to student chapters on request.

Distinguished Lectureres. (See attached) Several presentations have been made since the last board meeting. Ken Foster gave two lectures to the Argentine section of IEEE. Janet Rochester gave a presentation to the GOLD track at the IEEE-USA Annual Conference. Most of our lecturers have completed their information in the IEEE Distinguished Lecturer database, but there have been delays within IEEE in implementing it.

Michael Loui wishes to join the SSIT Distinguished Lecturers. His topics include : "Incident at Morales: an Engineering Ethics Story" and "Ethical Issues in Scientific Research: Authorship, Confidentiality, and Plagiarism".

Motion: Include Michael Loui as an SSIT Distinguished Lecturer. Passed.

Motion: Include Janet Rochester as an SSIT Distinguished Lecturer. Passed.

Karl Perusich will be giving a distinguished lecture in October to a local chapter of the Society of Broadcast Engineers.

Discussion: the Distinguished Lecturer program might be more successful if it were clear to organizations what financial support SSIT gave to lecturers. Usually the local group pay lodging and meals, and travel is sometimes supported by SSIT. Often the lecturer is able to combine trips. Our web site is vague about this. Its statement of "limited support" might be discouraging. But we don't want to be more definite, because then organizations might not seek alternate funding. Perhaps the wording could be changed to be more encouraging. Emine Cagin suggested that she could work with student organizations to find funding and make arrangements.

Virtual Community. (See attached) We are getting hundreds of hits a month, but the number varies widely. T&S has links to the forum, the number of hits is probably affected by the publication of an issue.

Chapters. (See attached) Most chapters do not meet over summer, but some chapters may not have reported meetings. The Swiss chapter seems to be revitalizing; Japan and Boston are particularly active. A new chapter is being formed in Oregon. The ISTAS 2008 call for papers was sent to all chapter chairs.The part of the SSIT web site for chapters has been updated. Photographs have been added. Tariq Durrani has formed a subcommittee with the objective of assisting with the formation of new chapters in Region 8.

GOLD. Not much has happened. E-mail was sent out a year ago to chapter chairs, but there was not much response.

Awards. Start thinking of good candidates for the SSIT Distinguished Service Award. The deadline for submissions is 31 March, 2008. The Awards Committee provided information to board members on the nomination of Michael DeKort for the Barus Award. The nomination was approved by e-mail. A public announcement and a suitable site for the presentation are still being worked out.

Ethics. The June 1999 issue of T&S has an article by Steve Unger on the history of how IEEE suppressed the Ethics Hot Line. That article was originally not included in the electronic version of that issue. It took some work, but that article is now included in the electronic version. There was some hope that IEEE's censorship of the article would renew interest in the original subject, but that did not happen.

Discussion: the Connecticut teacher who was indicted for failing to keep students away from a school computer that was displaying pornography is an example of how technological incompetence on the part of the Judge can have dire social consequences. Possibly a test case, such as this, could be used to affect how expert witnesses in the area of technology are certified.

11. Other Business

a. The Board sends Brian O'Connell its best wishes.

b. The Board gives a vote of thanks to Clint Andrews for providing lunch and a meeting place.

c. The Discourses project is at the end of its second year. Several on-line videos are available. Google IEEE TV to find them (or go to ieee.tv). These videos may be useful at chapter meetings. Peter Weisner and Clint would like feedback about how useful these videos are in various contexts. The project has led to possible partnering with a NY science museum to put together a pilot for a network TV series.

Discussion: Should be presentation of the Barus Award be video taped?

13. Next Meeting

1 March, 2008 at the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA.

Adjourn: 3:30PM.

* = @
Clint Andrews host c.j.andrews * ieee dot org
Emily Anesta chapters eanesta * ieee dot org
Terri Bookman Manag. Ed. T&S t.bookman * ieee dot org
Emine Cagin Student Rep. cagin * eecs dot umich dot edu
Joe Herkert Editor of T&S joe_herkert*ncsu dot edu
Irving Engelson Div. VI Director i.engelson * ieee dot org
Gene Hoffnagle Div. V Rep g.f.hoffnagle * eng dot umd dot edu
Peter Zilahy Ingerman Board pzi * ingerman dot org
Ken Foster Board, Fellows Com. kfoster * seas dot upenn dot edu
Bradley Kjell Secretary kjell * ieee dot org
Michael Loui Publications Chair loui * uiuc dot edu
Keith Miller Assoc. Ed. T&S miller.keith * uis dot edu
Karl Perusich President perusich * sbcglobal dot net
Janet Rochester VP j.rochester * ieee dot org
Karl Stephan Treasurer kdstephan * txstate dot edu
Steve Unger BoG unger * cs dot columbia dot edu