Minutes of the meeting of the Board of Governors (BoG)
of the
IEEE Society on the Social Implications of Technology (SSIT) (SIT-30)
Skirkanich Hall, University of Pennsylvania
Philadelphia, PA

March 1, 2008

(Draft. Contact kjell@ieee.org with corrections)

1. Welcome and Introductions

The meeting was called to order at 10:50 AM. President Rochester 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 corrected and approved.

4. President's Report

The president thanks the outgoing Board members, Michael Loui, Karl Perusich, and Sarah Pfatteicher, for their service. New Board members are Joe Herkert, Luis Kun, and Susan O'Donnell.

Peter Ingerman has been appointed membership chair, Joe Herkert distinguished lecturer chair, and Bob Whelchel publications chair. A chair for the Awards Committee is still needed.

IEEE has requested some changes to our by-laws. Some changes are essential; others would be nice to have. A By-laws chair is needed.

We will send copies of T&S to a conference of RFID in April.

IEEE is working on an alternate membership model, with three tiers of membership grade. This may be implemented by 2011. TAB is focusing on three areas: the growing membership in India, the wise use of IEEE reserves, and philanthropic/humanitarian initiatives. Membership in regions outside the US and Canada is going up. About 51% of IEEE conferences are in regions 7-10.

There is a move to develop a policy toward no-shows at conferences. Discussion: some societies already have firm rules about no-shows. People who don't show up, don't get their paper published. This is easier now that the electronic copy is the official copy of the conference proceedings. Also, conference organizers are reminded that they are not allowed to write letters of invitation to foreigners. Conference materials should not be sent to people until their credit card payment clears. IEEE is becoming more firm about closing out conferences.

TAB has an Ethics and Conflict Resolution committee. The TAB Strategic Planning Committee has been directed to develop recommendations and to report back to TAB.

The All-society Periodical Package allocation is now based on: usage 55%, content 35%, and 10% base. Print publications revenue is shrinking. Out of $30M in publications revenue, only $4M was for print. Pricing and open access issues are still being discussed. A web site that was intended to by-pass IEEE copyright has been shut down.

SSIT remains on the watch list. Because of this, we will not be charged overhead due to BMS overruns. We were advised to raise dues by two dollars and to be sure to charge enough for ISTAS.

5. Past President's Report (K. Perusich)

Keith Raney of John Hopkins University agreed to be our liaison to the IEEE Journal of Selected Topics on Earth Observation and Remote Sensing.

6. Director's Report (none)

7. Treasurer's Report (K. Perusich)

The 2007 budget is being closed. SSIT will get a rebate to our reserves of about $60,000. The 2008 budget is being created; it shows a deficit again. The deficit will be taken as a percentage of publication income rather than as a direct infrastructure charge.

A list of all societies and their dues shows that our dues are close to the most expensive. Discussion: compared with other division 6 societies our dues are about in the middle. Some large societies make most of their income through their conferences and have correspondingly low dues. The treasurer recommends not raising dues.

Discussion: there are other ways of increasing income; perhaps we could look for outside funding. However, we must be very open about whatever outside finding we get. Sometimes a corporation is willing to sponsor a reception at a conference. We should probably not accept advertising on our web site. We need to continue co-sponsoring conferences. However, we must be very open about whatever outside finding we get. Raising dues will do little to decrease the deficit, but will likely decrease membership. We don't know the elasticity of membership and dues.

In the past, we have had small dues increases with the hope that this will help retain members. But there are some individuals within IEEE that would like to see SSIT fail, and we must be careful to make an effort to reduce the deficit. IEEE has done some elasticity studies in the past, which seem to show that members are concerned with their total annual renewal bill and are less concerned with the individual society rates on it. We should be careful not to be the most expensive society on members' annual renewal. The most important thing for us is to keep members, not to balance the budget. We need to promote the value of SSIT to IEEE and to its members. If we do that, the deficit will not be a major concern. We should keep a high profile and keep going to outside meetings and activities.

Motion: To not increase member dues. Passed.

Motion: To keep the page count the same. Passed.

Motion: To set the non-member subscription rate at what IEEE marketing recommends. Passed.

Discussion: This needs to kept high because our revenue from the paper package is based on the subscription rate. If a person wants T&S, they can get it as an associate member for about eighty dollars.


8. Publication Report (K. Miller, via phone)

Technology and Society is in good shape. In 2007, 37 papers were submitted. Of these, 5 papers were rejected, 8 more rejected after review, 14 still under review or revision, 6 papers have been accepted, and 4 accepted as a letter or guest editorial. The March 2008 special issue on wireless communications will be out shortly. June 2008 is a regular issue, September 2008 the ISTAS 2007 special issue, December 2008 is a regular issue, and March 2009 on engineering volunteerism. Additional special issues are under development.

The June 2008 may include teaching tips, as has been discussed. Two of Karl Stephan's articles are in the top ten articles cited. IEEE is interested in international scope and in timely publication. These interests conflict, since papers from international sources take longer to publish. We have not yet found an associate editor from outside the US, but will keep searching.

Discussion: The new media are better suited for timely publications. New topics arise quickly, but with traditional publication a paper might not be published for years. There are some RFID papers in the pipeline. Privacy is another timely topic, but we have no papers on it. Should be allow outside advertising on our web site? Most think no, but conference announcements from other societies are OK.

Discussion: We have sometimes bundled T&S with the publication of another society when our issue was on a topic of interest to that society. Other types of coordination were suggested. T&S could do the social aspect of a topic; the other society's publication could do the technical aspect. This could be difficult if the two publications have widely different circulations. Cross-linking with Spectrum might be good. Sometimes Spectrum has articles relevant to the concerns of SSIT (often written by SSIT members).

Discussion: Perhaps we should coordinate with IEEE USA to make issues of T&S available to members of Congress, or distributed at seminars and briefings that IEEE USA holds.

The next e-newsletter will be out at the end of March.

The journal of the EMBS has published issues on engineering and bioterrorism, and homeland security. Various members of Congress published comments on these topics. An issue is being planned for critical infrastructure protection. Members of SSIT are invited to submit articles.

9. Conference Reports

The Conference Committee met by teleconference, Feb. 26, 2008. and discussed ISTAS 2009. IEEE has suggested that we work with other conferences. They also suggest building a ten to twenty percent surplus into conference budgets.

ISTAS 2007, Las Vegas. This is wrapped up, with about a $1000 surplus.

ISTAS 2008, Fredericton, NB. This is going along nicely. Susan O'Donnell and grad students will be proofing papers. Clint Andrews will produce the CD. Susan has asked if there is IEEE stuff to hand out at the conference. Discussion: IEEE has some membership development stuff. Do we have a SSIT brochure to hand out in circumstances like this? It would be nice to develop one. We should have a table at registration with recruitment material and perhaps a special membership offer. Copies of T&S will be available.

The conference will span three days. The first day at the CNRC is focused on teleconferencing. In effect, this is corporate sponsorship because we don't pay for the use of their facilities. Registration is now available through the conference web site. Conference fees have ten percent surplus built in. Sixty-two papers have been submitted; about forty-five have been accepted. There are not very many flights to Fredericton; the flight from Boston has been dropped.

ISTAS 2009, Phoenix, AZ. Joe Herkert and Brad Allenby at Arizona State are arranging a joint conference with the TCEE (Technical Council on Electronics and the Environment) in Phoenix, AZ. The conference will be sometime in May 2009, and will run two or three days. The ISEE (International Symposium one Electronics and the Environment) conference is bigger than ours, drawing 200-300 people. We might recruit members from these attendees. The two conferences are not merged, but will run side by side with some shared activities. There will be one fee for both. Food functions and keynote speakers are combined. We do not yet have an organizing committee or a general chair from our side. Too often the general chair for ISTAS ends up doing it all.

Motion: Create an organizing committee consisting of Joe Herkert, Clint Andrews, Gene Hoffnagle, and Luis Kun to work with TCEE on the joint 2009 conference. Passed.

ISTAS 2010. Two possible sites for this are Torino, Italy and Sydney, Australia. (Discussion: The Australian chapter is very active and might provide a good turnout. It is not clear how many Americans would go to an Australian conference.)

ISTAS 2011. Austin, TX has been proposed for this.

ISTAS 2012. This might be at Torino, Italy or Sydney, Australia, whichever is still interested.

A Best Practices Handbook for our conferences is being put together. Discussion: should we have a summer institute? It could consist of courses in our specialty. Maybe there is already a summer institute that we could join. The Energy 2030 conference is a IEEE New Technology Committee event. It will be held Nov 18-19 in Atlanta, GA. We could co-sponsor the conference for $3000. We have co-sponsored such conferences in the past, such as the Hydrogen Conference.

Motion: That SSIT be a financial co-sponsor of Energy 2030 to the amount of $3000. Passed.

Loui Kun: The IFBME (International Federation of Biomedical Engineering) is putting together a conference of global sustainability, "Achieving Global Sustainability and Reliable and Resilient Global Health through Interoperability." The world population is rapidly increasing, which affects global health. The conference needs a technical sponsors. It will be held the first week in December 2008 at the National Academy of Sciences. Attendance is by invitation.

Motion: That SSIT be a technical co-sponsor of this conference, subject to review of the proposal. Passed.

10. Committee Reports

Joe Herkert has been appointed chair of the Distinguished Lecturer Committee, Bob Whelchel chair of the Publications Committee, and Pete Ingerman chair of the Membership Committee. Motion: Approve the appointments. Passed.

Nominations. Anyone with suggestions for board members contact Karl Perusich. The term is three years. Members who's term is expiring are Jerry Engel, Sarah Pfatteicher, and Janet Rochester.

Fellows. No report.

Membership (Peter Ingerman). The new IEEE business management system has not been working. There have been problems with members and their data, which is impacting membership. We are not getting membership reports.

Student Membership. No report.

Distinguished Lectures. (Joe Herkert) One lecture was given since the last meeting: Karl Perusich gave a talk to a local branch of the IEEE Society of Broadcast Engineers. Our Distinguished Lecturers are on our web site.

Virtual Community. We are getting hundreds of hits a month, but the number varies widely. People need to sign up, but need not be a IEEE member to join. Forty-one people participated in discussions in the past month. Some of the Board should drop in and start threads. This should be mentioned in the e-newsletter. Maybe the site could be used as a place to hold white-papers on various topics. Our site is not used effectively.

Chapters. The Switzerland chapter has been reactivated. Australia is active and had a meeting in Beijing. Santa Clara has lots of members, but no meetings. Lots of members in Boston; perhaps ISTAS could be held there some year.

GOLD. GOLD was discussed at TAB. We mentioned that we had a GOLD representative.

WIE. Emily Anesta has volunteered to be our rep and has been participating is WIE discussions. Motion: Support Emily Anesta's travel to WIE in Anaheim, CA, April 20, up to a limit of $500. Passed.

Awards. The Barus Award was presented to Michael DeKort in Washington, DC, on Jan 28, 2008. The SSIT Web site needs updating on this. No Distinguished Service Award nominees, so far.

Ethics. Discussion: At least from Michael DeKort's experiences, the years of engineering ethics work and courses have had little effect. He had no support from fellow engineers during his years of concern about the failures of the Deepwater project. There is much evidence that the Coast Guard knew of the defective equipment, but individuals were afraid for their career and did nothing, even though that put themselves and others at risk. Engineers seem reluctant to join together to solve problems like this.

IEEE has an award for ethical practice. The deadline for nominations is July 1. This should be written up and put into the d-newsletter.

PACE. This is an IEEE USA technical committee that deals with US policy. Motion: Offer Ilene Ruhoy the possibility of being our representative to PACE. Passed.

11. Other Business

There are new opportunities to make SSIT more prominent. Some societies are making compendiums of articles on a particular topic. Membership could be built up. The greater the number of Senior members a society has, the more revenue they get from IEEE. Senior members have a higher renewal rate. We should search for potential senior members. Some societies have a committee that scans lists for potential senior members and looks for personal contacts to them. There should be a strategic planning meeting at ISTAS 2008.

13. Next Meeting

The next BoG meeting will be at ISTAS 2008, June 28th, in Fredericton, NB.

Adjourn: 4:00PM.

* = @
Clint Andrews Div VI c.j.andrews * ieee dot org
Emily Anesta chapters/WIE/GOLD eanesta * ieee dot org
Terri Bookman Manag. Ed. T&S t.bookman * ieee dot org
Ken Foster BoG kfoster * seas dot upenn dot edu
Joe Herkert Editor of T&S joseph.herkert * asu dot edu
Gene F. Hoffnagle Div. V/ CC Chair G.F.Hoffnagle * ieee dot org
Peter Ingerman BoG pzi * ingerman dot org
Bradley Kjell Secretary kjell * ieee dot org
Luis Kun BoG kunl * ndu dot edu
Keith Miller (by phone) Assoc. Ed. T&S miller.keith * uis dot edu
Andrew U. Meyer Div X/ Control Sys meyer * njit dot edu
James Pfafflin IAS  
Janet Rochester VP j.rochester * ieee dot org
Steve Unger BoG unger * cs dot columbia dot edu