Minutes of the meeting of the Board of Governors
of the
IEEE Society on the Social Implications of Technology (SIT-30)


2001 L Street, NW, Suite 700
Washington, D.C.

Jan 31, 2009

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

1. Welcome and Introductions

The meeting was called to order at 9:40 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 approved. The results of electronic voting should be included in the minutes.

4. Recommendations from the Strategic Planning Meeting

A presentation will be given to IEEE TAB Finance Committee in two weeks on what we are doing about the financial situation.

(The following is a revised report of the ad hoc committee, copied from e-mail send Feb 2, 2009):

Essential points

IEEE needs what SSIT does as a focal point for social implications of technology

Allows members to engage with the concept of social implications of technology. More to engineering than just technical aspects.

What is SSIT doing?

  1. Publishing quality and peer-reviewed publications
  2. Holding conferences
  3. Conducting professional and public dialogue
  4. Interdisciplinary networking
  5. Informing and contributing to public policy
  6. Conveying value and potentials of technology to society
  7. Acting as a link between societal interests and IEEE

How does SSIT accomplish these objectives?

  1. Networking within TAB and the IEEE
  2. Publishing peer-reviewed articles in T&S - a unique IEEE venue
  3. Conducting international peer-reviewed conferences - a unique IEEE venue
  4. Partnering in multidisciplinary conferences
  5. Pioneering on-line communities
  6. Providing awards, recognition and education in social impacts and ethics
  7. Supporting active chapters
  8. Promoting synergy with WIE and GOLD
  9. Providing significant external visibility through T&S and conferences
  10. Serving both "professional" members and "interested" members

What else should we be doing?

  1. Promote on-line dialogues on timely issues (link to Xplore articles)
  2. Expand conference elements to include tutorials, exhibits, and on-line symposia
  3. Improve collaboration with other IEEE and non-IEEE societies, cross-linking
  4. Expand activities with GOLD and students
  5. Expand T&S web site with more interactive content and on-line only content
  6. Publish at least one general-interest article per issue in T&S*
  7. Design experiments on Open Access
  8. Explore opportunities for public policy dialogue
  9. Promote greater global engagement

What is the best organizational structure to continue SSIT's mission?

Society - best option

∑ Independent editorial control ∑ Brings members to IEEE ∑ Mission cannot be fulfilled by other entities

Independent or joint Council - poor option

∑ Does not solve financial problems ∑ Requires investment from supporting societies

Non-TAB entity

∑ Report to BOD - not likely ∑ Join EAB, MGA, or USA - not a good fit

(Discussion) We are on the watch list; the presentation to TAB finance Committee is to explain what we are doing about it. The immediate focus is on financial concerns.

The presentation to TAB should have fewer bullets and should stress a few big, essential points. But the presentation will have to be adjusted to the audience.

It would be nice to have representatives to SSIT from other divisions and societies to participate more in SSIT activities. Perhaps there could be jointly published articles, although the same article can not be published more than once.

Possible essential points: SSIT allows members to engage with the concept of the social implications of technology. SSIT members have been participants in various policy-influencing committees. The magazine has been sent to members of congress.

IEEE needs a society where leaders in technology and society can meet. The percentage of our members that are fellows is high. SSIT attracts leaders from all societies that become leaders. The presentation should have a slide that shows the influential members from all societies that are SSIT members.

Nobody else is doing what we are doing. Social implications and ethics needs to have a home somewhere in an organization the size of IEEE, and something like SSIT needs to exist.

Many people from outside IEEE participate in our activities, such as the web forum and the conference. IEEE members do not need to be an SSIT member to benefit from our activities.

The Barus Award should be stressed. It has always been given to working engineers.

Options for revenue: joint publication with other societies, co-sponsor conferences. Eg. the Computer Society has joint publications with ACM. SSIT could look for social science societies to coordinate with. We have already raised the bar on how much our conferences should return.

It would be nice to have rapid publication of papers that address current issues. This would increase the value of the publication to decision makers.

Perhaps we could publish science fiction that addresses the social impacts of foreseeable technologies. There is a killer robot play by Jim Epstein, who has produced plays for some past ISTAS conferences. Perhaps we could do tutorials or workshops at conferences of other societies. (But these do not profit the presenter and it would be hard to funnel some of the income to a sponsoring society.)

(Rahul Tongia: )The ICTD conference (International Conference on Information and Communication Technologies and Development) might be one for SSIT to co-sponsor in the future. The upcoming meeting of that conference has Bill Gates as a key note speaker.

Organizational Structure. Existence as a society seems to be the best option. Existence as a council is not a good option (as has been discussed at several previous meetings.) Some have suggested that we become a non-TAB entity, perhaps like WIE, or merge with some other TAB entity.

Some have proposed that we mere with the Management Council or the Plasma Society. Not clear what would become of T&S if this were done.

Our members span all other societies in proportion to the membership of those societies. Interest in social implications of technology is universal among the members of other societies. There is no obvious society we could merge with. Interest in the topic seems to increase as members gain experience and standing within their main area of interest. SSIT has a Whig percentage of senior members and fellows.

5. President's Report (J. Rochester)

(Copied from e-mail).

I attended the November TAB meetings in New Brunswick, NJ. Most of the meeting consisted of routine business. I went before the TAB Finance Committee to update them on our plans for getting off the watch list. Key TAB leaders are aware of the strategic planning meeting, held on 30 January and some of the subjects for discussion. I will be reporting on our implementation plans at the next TAB meeting in San Juan, PR, on 13 February.

At our Division VI meeting in November, we discussed the possibility of developing Division VI courses covering the main fields of interest of the societies that would constitute a "professional" curriculum. The concept is still being investigated.

We have been invited as a society to participate in an IEEE conference on the history of technical societies in Philadelphia in August. I have told the organizers that SSIT would be interested in participating.

We need to find a location where we can present Norm Balabanian, our 2008 Distinguished Service Award winner, with the award. We also need nominations for the 2009 award.

Our donation to the Brian O'Connell Fund at Central Connecticut State University has been received and acknowledged.

The Division VI societies in Toronto have formed a joint chapter of all the societies. SSIT has been well-represented in the previous joint chapter of SSIT/PCS/EM.

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

(See Treasurer's Report.)

7. Director's Report

(No report).

7. Treasurer's Report (K. Perusich)

(See Attachment). The 2008 budget has not been closed. ISTAS 2008 is nearly closed.

As of December 18, the has been a loss of $45K due to market fluctuations in SSIT reserves. Next year the new formula for conference and publications will kick in and the loss will be even worse. We need more hits on our material in Xplore. For the 2009 budget, IEEE assumes that we will loose 500 members in 2009.

If we increase dues too much we will loose members. However, if we don't increase dues at all, then there will be a future big increase in dues which will also drive away members. Currently dues are $26.

Motion (as amended): Make the dues $28 for 2010 budget. Passed.

Motion: Set the non-member subscription rate at the amount recommended by IEEE marketing. Passed.

8. Publication Report (B. Whelchel)

Motion: Direct the publication committee to explore the possibility of offering an on-line version of T&S as a choice, consistent with how IEEE does things. Passed.

Discussion: perhaps we could give non-paying life members only on-line access. (But this might send them the wrong message.) Look at the site for WIE for possible ways to go with this.

We need to find a process that allows Life Members (and others) to contribute money to SSIT if they want to.

T&S won another award from the Society for Technical Communication.

10. Conference Reports (G. Hoffnagle)

ISTAS 2009, Tempe, AZ. This is a joint conference with the IEEE Computer Society's Technical Committee on Sustainable Systems and Technology (http://www.ieee-issst.org/). The conference will be May 18-20, 2009. This is proceeding on track. The budget is based on about 70 attendees and has a 20% surplus built in, as required by IEEE. There is no dinner, but there is a reception. There are not as many submissions as we wanted, but there is a nice mix of topics. The three categories of papers that worked well in ISTAS 2008 is being used, and seems to be working well. The TCEE side of the conference is larger than us: they expect about 150 attendees.

The SSIT Board meeting will be before the conference (not the usual time). We made an attempt to coordinate with a local IEEE section, but this died out.

This is the 125th year of IEEE. Perhaps this could be tied in. IEEE are encouraging us to use their 125th year logo.

Motion: Approve the ISTAS 2009 budget. Passed.

ISTAS 2010. ISTAS 2010 will be held in Australia, June 6-9, under Katina Michael. The conference will be at the University of Wollongong or at Sydney; the organizing committee has not yet fixed this. The theme will be the social implication of emerging technology: nanobiology, microchip implants, automatic identification. It might be modeled on what was done at Fredericton, with workshops during the first day and papers in the remaining days. Some speakers have already been lined up. Another conference, Bionics 2010 comes right after ours and might be an additional draw for international visitors.

The organizers may look for publisher exhibits, and hope for attendees from Japan, China and India. Maybe we could make a special effort to bring attendees from China. We should have a brochure available by the time of ISTAS 2009.

Costs are expected to be US$400 for members, US$450 for non-members, and a lower student rate.

ISTAS 2011. This is still open. Perhaps we should again have a joint conference with TCEE as we are doing in Tempe.

The sense of the group is that the committee should investigate the possibilities of being a minority participant in other conferences. IEEE may require a MOU to show the expectations when we do this. Eg. it should show the people on the program committee, what SSIT will do in the conference. We should try to involve local chapters in conferences, and seek conferences with similar topics to our own.

In the future, participants may be less willing to travel to national and international conferences. We should look at greater involvement with regional conferences.

T&S has the best coverage of sustainability than other IEEE publications. We should continue to stress sustainability in publications and conferences.

Should the chair of the Conference Committee continue to travel to the site of future conferences? For Australia, this will be expensive. Perhaps the expense should be included in the conference budget? (Sense of the group: bad idea, since IEEE requires a 20% return and this would cut substantially into that.)

11. Committee Reports

Nominations (K. Perusich). Send suggestions to Karl. It would be nice to have four nominations for BoG this year.

Fellows: Applications are due March 1. Michael Loui will help with this.

Student Membership. Anna Gawkowska is the new student representative.

Distinguished Lectures. (Joe Herkert) Michael Loui spoke on "Authorship and Plagiarism: True Tales of Real Cases " at Southern Illinois University at Carbondale on Friday, January 23.

Virtual Community. No report. Clint would like to find someone else to manage this. Several new people are active in the community.

Awards. We need a location to present the previous Distinguished Service Award.

12. Old Business

No old business.

13. New Business

The Board has been asked to approved SSITís co-sponsorship of the 2009 IEEE International Workshop on Portable Information Devices, dealing with portable electronic devices. The workshop will be held September 20-22, 2009 in Anchorage, AL. More information can be found at: http://www.ieeevtc.org/portable2009/.

Motion: That SSIT become a technical co-sponsor of the 2009 IEEE International Workshop on Portable Information Devices. Passed.

Make sure that there is a MOU.

TAB Committees: Gene Hoffnagle has been nominated to Division VI representation to TAVARC. Emily Anesta is our representative to WIE. Peter Ingerman has his name put forward as representative to the TAB MGA.

We need a representative to the IEEE Committee on Earth Observation. Keith Rainey may do this.

Luis Kun has been awarded a Fellow Advocate Award of the AIMBE. The award will be presented next month.

T&S has been given an Award of Merit iby the STC publications contest.

Motion: Modify the Conference Committee budget to allocate $5000 to allow the chair of the conference committee to visit the conference site before the conference. Passed.

We should form Linked-In and Yahoo groups to spread interest in SSIT.

13. Next Meeting

The next BoG meeting will be in Tempe AZ, May 18, 2009.

Adjourn: 3:00PM.

* = @
Clint Andrews Div VI representative c.j.andrews * ieee dot org
Terri Bookman Manag. Ed. T&S t.bookman * ieee dot org
Gerald Engel U. Connecticut, Stamford g.engel * computer dot org
Ken Foster BoG kfoster * seas dot upen dot edu
Joe Herkert Arizona State U. joseph.herkert * asu dot edu
Gene F. Hoffnagle Div. V/ CC Chair G.F.Hoffnagle * ieee dot org
Jim Isaak BoG ssit2009 * jimIsaak dot com
Bradley Kjell Secretary kjell * ieee dot org
Luis Kun BoG kunl * hyo dot edu
Keith Miller Editor. T&S miller.keith * uis dot edu
Karl Perusich Perdue Univ. perusich * sbcglobal dot net
Janet Rochester President j.rochester * ieee dot org
Rahul Tongia BoG tongia * cmu dot edu
Robert Whelchel Chair, pub committee bjwangola * gmail dot com