A Message from Dr. Jacek Zurada, 2014 Technical Activities Vice President (May)

Jacek ZuradaIEEE is becoming increasingly global as evidenced by rapid increases in Society membership in Regions 8, 9, and 10. Our expanding global presence parallels overall globalization trends and reflects the rapid emergence of large and burgeoning national economies. In this reshaped landscape, IEEE Society members from developing countries are contributing more and more to IEEE as authors and conference participants.

But as we all know, the IEEE is not solely a member-based organization; it is an organization driven by both members and a dedicated cadre of volunteers. Our volunteers, supported by staff, will move Technical Activities (TA) forward in the next few years. As such, plans have been made to cultivate a more globally diverse set of volunteers.

During the second half of the year, Technical Activities will train a new generation of volunteers in underserved parts of the world. The TA Volunteer Training Workshops, designed to expand volunteer skills beyond those of authors and conference attendees, will be held in China, India, and South America. The Workshops will focus on volunteer engagement and leadership. They will indirectly benefit IEEE Societies and Councils and empower those members who aspire to be future leaders in our profession. The training will promote a more uniform and balanced network, or volunteer infrastructure, that will help us lead future technical activities in all countries that receive our products and services.

As an example of the need for more volunteers, IEEE Editors-in-Chief believe there is an increased shortage of qualified and responsive paper reviewers. According to approximate statistics, eight reviews are required for each paper published in a journal (including reviews of rejected papers). Hence, a paper requires handling by at least eight experts in the field who are recruited from among active researchers, mostly authors. Additionally, assuming each submitted paper has two co-authors, each co-author would need to review four papers from other researchers to achieve a balance in the pool of authors and reviewers.

Technical Activities not only needs reviewers to support our mission, but a legion of technical and thought leaders which we must nurture. Such leaders could serve as future chairs and organizers of technical sessions at conferences, propose special issues of journals, or serve as associate editors, program chairs, technical committee or Chapter chairs, to name a few. Our message is that professional volunteering within a research network or your technical community is what nurtures a responsible, engaged IEEE member.

Technical Activities leaders are partnering with local leaders to foster a new generation of volunteers in their countries. Attendees at the Workshops will be IEEE members with graduate degrees in underserved geographical areas, who have published technical papers or have had some significant initial involvement with Technical Activities. Recruitment will be done in tandem with local IEEE leadership in Societies/Councils and Sections. The 2014 training workshops will foster excellence in volunteering, a hallmark of this organization, and will hopefully continue to be an attractive value proposition to our members worldwide.

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Comments

  • Thanks – This is a great step forward, Prof Jacek Zurada.

    As one of the two 2014 TAB reps on the IEEE MGA MRR committee I can say that this meets a felt need. We welcome the proposed training of volunteers in the emerging nations which now have large membership bases but which have to make their voices felt in the IEEE at large.

    Best wishes

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