FIE Steering Committee Meeting Minutes

November 4, 1998

The meeting began at 6 PM with an introduction of the attendees. The meeting agenda was discussed, and the minutes of the June meeting were approved.

Agenda item: reports on past, present, and future FIE conferences

(1997) Cindy Atman reported that the conference surplus was approximately $29K, and she said that the surplus would be distributed among the supporting societies. She inquired about the 1998 experiences with Computer Society conference support services, and she reminded the group that the 1997 experiences had been excellent. Cindy also said that NSF funds received by FIE 97 were used to pay the stipend for 9 of the 10 1998 faculty fellows. The Computer Society will use funds from its share of the surplus to pay the stipend for the tenth fellow, who is a Canadian and therefore not eligible to receive NSF support.

(1998) Dave Soldan reported that 530 people preregistered by October 31. and that expectations were for between 550 and 600 registrants. He raised the following issues:

  1. What should be done about requests for last-minute emergency cancellations?
  2. NSF will not provide support for faculty fellows this year.
  3. Some copyright forms are still missing.
  4. Construction at the hotel led to some problems for the conference.

There was some discussion of how to handle last-minute cancellations. The program committee recommended a hard line, and asked for guidance from the steering committee. It was pointed out that other conferences have cancellation cutoff dates, after which a registrant can only receive a small refund, and it was recommended that FIE adopt a similar policy for the future. In particular, it was suggested that the cutoff date be a month before the conference, after which there should be no refund, and that negotiation is always possible for true emergencies. Dave Soldan said that he will talk to the Computer Society to learn their conference cancellation policy, and then report back to the committee.

(1999) Ramon Vasquez reported that the hotel in San Juan survived the recent hurricane, and plans for the meeting are moving ahead.

(2000) Jim Roberts presented a draft budget for this conference. The base registration fee will be $320. The budget includes a 10% contingency allocation, and it is based on 555 attendees. Potential local sponsors include Sprint, Hallmark, and Allied-Signal. The budget included a line item for NSF support, and $15K for University of Kansas conference management services (e.g. webpage design and construction, announcement preparation).

It was pointed out that the budgeted NSF support might not materialize.

Bob Herrick said that it was important to have realistic budget estimates, and that the proposal for NSF support needed hands-on involvement well before the submission date. Some further discussion of the potential for NSF support followed. It was mentioned that the plans for FIE 99 include asking NSF to support the graduate student fair.

Further budget discussion raised several concerns: whether the Computer Society had signed off on the budget, a possible inconsistency between the number of booths reported in two places in the budget, a budgeted abstract fee, and the absence of an explicit budget for the January program committee meeting. Jim will respond to the second and third concerns. Anne Marie, from the Computer Society is expected to arrive Thursday, and she will report back to the committee. The fourth concern was put off for later discussion.

Jim also talked about the conference location and potential workshop sites. He stated that he felt that the conference needs an overall program chair, in addition to the three society-designated co-program chairs. There was a general feeling that conference chairs should seek to maximize the amount of volunteer help.

It was announced that there would be a second meeting of the steering committee on Saturday (November 7) at 12:30, in the Jokake Room.

(2001) Ted Batchman said that he is currently negotiating with hotels in. Reno. His first preference for a conference date is October 17, 2001.

(2002) Hotel space in Worcester is apparently still an unresolved problem. Providence or Boston are alternative venues for the FIE 02 conference hosted by WPI.

Agenda item: organizational matters

Jerry Engel asked about the effectiveness of the January planning meetings. Dave Soldan felt that the January 1998 meeting had been very effective for him and for Don Evans. After some discussion, the committee concluded that the planning meeting should become part of FIE procedure. The following people will be invited to participate in a two-day planning meeting held in January of year n:

First day: general chair and program committee for FIE(n-1), general chair for FIE(n+1)
Both days: general chair and program committee for FIE(n)

Jim Roberts asked whether FIE should have a program chair to coordinate the entire conference program. Other alternatives would be to appoint one of the program cochairs as overall program chair, or to appoint two people from the host institution to serve as general chair and program chair. This led to some discussion.

Agenda item: NSF faculty fellows

In 1998, there were 44 applicants and 10 awardees, one of whom was Canadian. NSF funds could not be used to support the attendance of the Canadian awardee; funds for this purpose were supplied by the Computer Society. The applications were evaluated by six reviewers. A complaint letter was received, charging improper use of NSF funds because of the absence of minorities and non-native English speakers among the awardees. Jerry Engel said that NSF policy is to turn such letters over to the Office of the Inspector General to evaluate.

The committee then discussed the process of selecting faculty fellows. It was suggested that the review criteria be included in the announcement. The committee was also asked whether the conference wanted to continue to support this program, in the absence of external support. Another discussion topic was the restrictions to be placed on the use of any conference funds budgeted for this purpose.

An ensuing discussion dealt with including a line item for faculty fellows in the FIE budget. The Education Society representatives were concerned about expanding the budget, and want to consult with the Society before responding. This led to a discussion of the impact of the conference budget on the sponsoring societies.

The discussion centered around two issues: does the conference want to fund the faculty fellow program, and if so, where can it find the necessary funds. It was suggested that the conference look to industrial sponsors and foundations to support the faculty fellow program. All surpluses have to be turned back to the supporting societies. Jerry Engel said that he would encapsulate the discussion into recommendations for the Saturday committee meeting.

Agenda item: international activities

Vic Schutz spoke about possibilities for future international collaborations:

  1. 1999 ICEE conference in Ostrava (Czech Republic)
  2. 1999 ICECE conference in Rio de Janeiro (Brazil)
  3. 2001 conference in Oslo (Norway)

Trond Clausen spoke about the possibilities for the 2001 meeting. He will request support from the Norwegian government and universities. He hopes that this conference will incorporate ICEE and UICEE (a UNESCO conference). He requested FIE support for this meeting, and the sense of the steering committee meeting was that such support should be granted.

Agenda item: awards

This report is still to come.

Agenda item: publications

Dan Budny and Goranka Bjedov reported that the procedure has worked well.

Agenda item: exhibits:

In 1998, there are 18 corporate exhibits (17 of these are new to FIE) and 3 coalition exhibits. There was some discussion of the best way to get conference attendees to visit the exhibits.

Agenda item: sponsorships

There was no report on this topic.

Agenda item: other business

Jerry Engel asked whether FIE should consider new affiliates. Possibilities included other IEEE societies and ASME. Members of the committee felt that there was no room on the program for additional papers or tracks. There was also some discussion of the potential advantages of new affiliates (more attendees, increased visibility)

The meeting recessed until Saturday at 9 PM.

Continuation of FIE Steering Committee Meeting
November 7, 1998
Tempe, Arizona

Chair of the FIE Steering Committee, Jerry Engel, called the meeting to order at approximately 12:45 p.m.

Karan Watson was asked to give a report on the status of the awards. She reported that the awards program is in good order, and will follow a procedure similar to last year. She suggested that the steering committee consider in the future which evening of the FIE conference would be most appropriate for the awards banquet.

Chair Engel announced he had two informal requests for hosting future conferences: 2003 (University of Colorado), and 2004 (University of Nebraska). Written proposals will be requested.

Chair Engel requested comments on a policy regarding complimentary FIE registrations; discussion followed. He will consider drafting a policy for consideration at a future meeting.

Jim Roberts was asked to report on the FIE 2000 (Kansas City) budget. He reported that Anne Marie Kelly had reviewed the budget proposal and indicated that it looked acceptable. The income item for $800 will be removed, and workshop fees will be increased to approximately $40 to achieve a breakeven situation. He reported that with these minor changes a balanced budget would be achieved. A motion to approve the FIE 2000 budget was made by Steven Seidman, and seconded by Ted Batchman. The motion was approved unanimously.

The following proposed resolution was read by Chair Engel: "Effective with FIE 2000, budgeted expenses will include funds for attendance of the program committee and general chair, to attend a January planning meeting in year n, and year n+1, as well as funds for the general chair to attend this meeting in year n-1." A motion for adoption of this resolution was made by Karl Smith and seconded by Ted Batchman. The motion passed unanimously.

Chair Engel read the following proposed resolution: "Effective with FIE 2000, a minimum of $10,000 will be included in the conference budget to support at least ten 'new faculty fellow' awards. At the summer FIE steering committee meeting, the next general chair will supply the criteria and procedures for selection of the fellows. At the time of the conference, the general chair will report on the number of fellows selected and the number of applicants." A motion for adoption of this resolution was made by Steven Seidman and seconded by David Soldan. Discussion followed regarding the desirability of obtaining funding from outside corporations. Karl Smith reported that he had been appointed by the ERM board as the faculty fellows' mentor to follow-up with them after the conference and provide continuity. It was suggested that the other sponsoring societies join with Karl to assist in mentoringthe faculty fellows. The above resolution was adopted unanimously.

Chair Engel asked David Soldan to provide an update on the current (1998) FIE conference. Professor Soldan reported 586 registered and paid attendees. The sessions appear well attended and well run. He attributed this to informing everyone in advance, including the session chairs of the importance of following the time schedule

Jim Roberts suggested the steering committee investigate a process by which an FIE logo would be considered for adoption.

The following motion was made by Ted Batchman: "The immediate past chair of the FIE Steering Committee, if not already a steering committee member, will be made an ex-officio member for two years." This motion was moved for adoption by Ted Batchman and seconded by Karl Smith. The motion passed unanimously.

The meeting was adjourned at 1:45 p.m.

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