Chapter Chairs Meet to Discuss Better Coordination and Opportunities
On May 16, the Chairs of the Geographic Activities Committee and the Distinguished Visitors Program Committee held a joint WebEx meeting with chapter chairs to discuss the ways these committees can support the chapters.
Geographic Activities Committee Reorganization
Dr. Andre Oboler, Chair of the Geographic Activities Committee, introduced the creation of a new multilayered structure for chapter representation that will increase human-to-human contact between chapters and the rest of the society. The new structure will also increase the visibility of chapters, including through the use of INTERFACE, and expand the number and reach of chapters.
In the new structure, Chapter Chairs of both professional and student chapters get a seat on an Area Committee. The Committee will be chaired by an Area Coordinator (a past professional chapter chair) with a Young Professional (who is a past Student Chapter or Student Branch Chair) serving as Vice Chair. The Area committee will facilitate cooperation and support.
Importantly, the Area Coordinators will also serve on a Regional Committee, headed by a Regional Coordinator with a Young Professional as a Vice Chair at this level as well. In this way, chapter chairs can bring matters to the regional committee via the area committee. The Regional Coordinators all serve on the Geographic Activities Committee. This connects to our existing structures meaning there will now be a line through GAC and MGA Board that can ultimately see both good ideas and concerns rise all the way to the Board of Governors and the Society President, or be directed along the way to the right volunteers or staff to ensure our chapters get the support they need.
While the new structure adds–or rather reinstates–a new layer, it will not add bureaucracy, since Area Coordinators/committees neither control the chapters nor provide approval for chapter activities. The extra time in communication, estimated to be about 30 minutes a month for chapter chairs, is urgently needed and very important because right now we have a communication breakdown, where information from the chapters doesn’t necessarily get back to the Society, and chapters don’t know what is going on with the society at large. “The change will help us close the communications gap, open up more leadership positions and better support our chapters,” Dr Oboler explained.
There are currently vacancies within the new structure, and past chairs–or those looking to step down and pass on management of their local chapter to someone new–should contact Kerry Cosby (firstname.lastname@example.org) if they are interested in the new roles.
Offerings of the Distinguished Visitors Program
Chair of the Distinguished Visitors Program (DVP) Committee, Dr. George Proeller, explained the benefits and guidelines of the Distinguished Visitors Program, which provides direct access to cutting-edge technology leaders and innovators from every sector of the computing industry.
Dr. Proeller outlined the process for requesting and hosting a Distinguished Visitor, indicating that for best results a chapter should designate a project lead, who could work directly with the Distinguished Visitor to ensure that both the Visitor and chapter both get the most out of program. He offered the idea that the chapter could work with neighboring chapters, and/or student branch chapters to develop a tour, which could include speaking engagements, as well as more informal dinners/conversations with students and professionals.
“[The Distinguished Visitors Program is] going to pay the transportation between the different cities, and that cuts down the cost for the chapter…. The point of contact for the chapter can work this [schedule] with the Distinguished Visitor. In this way, the chapter could prepare plans for the Distinguished Visitor to meet students, have lunch with chapter leaders, and give second talks at a different venue and to a different audience the next day,” Dr. Proeller explained.
Dr. Proeller further emphasized the need to take notes on the visit for reporting to improve the program, and to share ideas through INTERFACE, so others can learn from the chapter’s experience.
Chairs who would like to request a Distinguished Visitor can find a list here.
Communicating Success through INTERFACE
The meeting also covered the opportunity for chapters to share their experiences and successes with their counterparts around the world through INTERFACE. Kerry Cosby, Chapters Manager for IEEE Computer Society, provided an overview of the INTERFACE with a particular focus on Chapters Network, which gives chapter chairs a forum for sharing success and best practices through short, informal articles.
Kerry explained that articles for INTERFACE should:
- Be 1000 words or fewer
- Contain a tight focus—i.e a single topic, such as an activity, the development of the chapter, member support, etc.
- Have the point of the article in first or second paragraph
- Consist of three or four sections (with snappy titles)
- Maintain a casual tone
- Include quotes from participants/members
- End with advice for other chapters
Anyone interested in watching the presentations and listening to the meeting can click here.