1. QUESTION: What are IEEE's strengths?
Terman: The volunteers are perhaps the most
important strength; it is their enthusiasm, expertise, and time which is
key to the success of the Institute.
Another major strength is the IEEE's generation and dispersion of high quality Intellectual Property, including archival publications, conferences/meetings, and standards. It is this IP which produces the revenue streams that financially enable the IEEE and create the information flow which is so valuable to the technical community. The IEEE publishes over 30% of the published material in IEEE's fields of interest, and its conferences/meetings around the world enable rapid dispersal of new results, as well as networking and face-to-face discussions.
A third major IEEE strength is globalization: RAB's structure of geographical based entities extends around the world in over 150 countries, allowing networking and the interchange of technical information at the local level.
Fourth, the IEEE has recovered from the recent downturn to a strong overall financial position. Reserves are at an all-time high, though some problems remain for specific O/Us. The financial performance of the Societies and Councils has been very important.
Finally, the IEEE has an excellent staff supporting the volunteers and working with them for the Institute and its goals.
Vig: The IEEE's main strengths include:
2. QUESTION: What are the major challenges facing the IEEE?
Terman: Membership has been essentially flat
in recent years, and the number of higher grade members has been decreasing.
A major problem has been the retention of new graduates, now below 25% three
years after graduation. Society membership continues to decline, and the
fraction of IEEE members without society membership is now over 43%. Much
of this can be attributed to a perceived lack of value of IEEE membership
relative to its cost. Increased support of member career development is
important. IEEE membership will be 50% in Regions 7-10 within 10 years with
current trends; the implications (and opportunities) need to be thoroughly
examined. The long-term impact of IEL on membership could become significant.
Open Access is the major long-term question for publications - if all publications are available for free on the web, the IEEE publication business could collapse. Publication timeliness has been a problem, new publications are launched too slowly, and there is a strong need for practical publications to engage the practitioners/bench-top engineers. Finally, there is the impact of going to full electronic publishing and on what schedule it might occur.
While the overall IEEE financial position is good, there are specific units with problems; further reduction of the infamous Infrastructure Charge is needed through continual evaluation of the efficiency of our operations. With the continuing growth of reserves, long term financial plans/goals for the reserves and their use must be developed.
Finally, the IEEE needs to react to new technologies faster to claim leadership positions in these technologies as they emerge. We must continue our search for effective and fair governance.
Vig: How to provide sufficient value to
justify the membership dues is a major challenge. A growing number of
members who work for institutions which provide free access to IEEE's
publications and conferences are asking, "I get everything I want
from IEEE for free, so, why should I be a member?"
3. QUESTION: What are the major changes IEEE needs to be making?
Terman: Membership: increase (and actively
market) membership benefits around the world, broaden the base of membership
such as aggressively moving into software, services, applications and solutions.
Follow up the China initiative with similar efforts for India and Eastern
Publications: establish a faster track for new publications, pilot new publications that are more practically-oriented, and establish a reward system for reducing the submission-to-publication time. Develop the best search capability for technical material, and make it a membership benefit.
Education: the Expert Now program for continuing education is off to an excellent start; aggressively push it and make it available to members.
Financial: drive good financial behavior for Operating Units with reserves by giving them more access to those reserves as the ratio of the O/U's reserves to expenses increases, allow access to an increased percentage of the reserves. Continue to work on decreasing the Infrastructure Charge and increasing revenues, though not at the cost of making IEEE's prime goal increased surpluses/reserves. Develop a long-term financial plan/goals for the IEEE reserves.
Governance: the current governance structure is not egregiously broken; continue to work towards streamlining operations and governmental efficiency.
Finally, work across the IEEE major Boards to establish a spirit of working together, understanding each others problems, and working with staff on identifying and solving tactical and strategic problems.
Vig: To improve the IEEE's agility, e.g.,
with respect to entering new technologies, I have proposed that we establish
an IEEE Venture Capital Fund. Any person could propose an idea, and, if
the idea is judged to be worthy, receive up to $100,000 to implement,
or show the feasibility of, the idea.
4. QUESTION: What are some of the important challenges facing IEEE as a publisher in service to its membership?
|Lew Terman: Issues raised by Open Access will need to be anticipated and managed. A major implication is to at least maintain the revenue stream which our publications generate. IEEE needs to help members navigate the mass of data available from IEEE, other technical publications, and on the web. Practical publications need to be developed with the collaboration of RAB and TAB. Goals for article publication timeliness must be set, and rewards established for publications to meet or exceed the goals. Establish a fast approval track for new publications. Maintain the importance of peer review. Keep monitoring the possibility of going to all electronic publishing, and establish when or if it should occur well before any critical point occurs.||
Vig: Open access, the worldwide movement
to disseminate scientific and scholarly research literature online, free
of charge is a serious challenge because half of IEEE's revenues result
from the sale of publications. Google, at
5. QUESTION: Do you see IEEE in future years as an organization based on its strong membership base, or do you foresee other models?
|Lew Terman: IEEE should remain a membership-based organization. Membership is critical; it is the members through whom we serve our technical communities, and who provide the volunteers that are critical to the success of IEEE. Members also provide a means of measuring how relevant we are to the technical world, and provide the mechanism for engaging emerging technical and geographic areas.||
Vig: I see the IEEE continuing to be a
membership-based organization - with its tens of thousands of volunteers
and its membership diversity as its pillars of strength.
6. QUESTION: What changes in IEEE would you advocate in response to quick industrialization and potential IEEE presence in large Asian countries?
Terman: The two major Asian countries of
interest are quite different in technical environment and social structure.
I believe the current China initiative is appropriate; we need to understand
the environment and the current approach seems a good first step. We need
a deeper understanding of the specific needs and opportunities and how to
involve that community to effectively stimulate IEEE membership and volunteerism.
India is also a key growth area in the 21st century, and currently has more IEEE members than any country outside the US. We need to understand why they join, and focus on the appropriate member and technical services to support their interest. India has a strong university structure with which we should be working.
Vig:? IEEE's presence in large Asian countries
is actual, not just "potential." For example, in 2005, we held
59 conferences in China, and a total of 129 in China, India, Japan and
Korea. Our publication sales, in China alone, amounted to ~$5M in 2005.
Total sales to the four countries was ~$20M. In 2005, our combined membership
in these four countries was ~45K.
7. QUESTION: What do you see as the power of the IEEE President and how would you exercise this power?
Terman: The IEEE President has three major
Running the Board and ExCom meetings effectively, including setting up the meetings. This is important as the members of the governing bodies of the IEEE meet for only a short time, and it is important the meetings be efficient for the most effective interaction.
Providing leadership to the Institute: setting directions, establishing committees and study groups to get information and sift through alternatives, work with the staff, work with the IEEE Boards and governance levels. It is in this area that the President can have the most effect. I would focus on bringing the various groups in IEEE together, and on listening to their input, getting an open airing of issues and suggested solutions, and generating and following through on new ideas.
c. Showing the flag around the world, to both IEEE geographies/groups and non-IEEE entities - geographical, technical and political. The interactions with IEEE groups are very important to generate mutual understanding, and the interaction with non-IEEE entities is important to present the IEEE and the technical community it represents, and to understand their needs, views, and to understand possible opportunities.
Vig: The president's duties are to: chair
the meetings of the IEEE Board of Directors, Executive Committee and Assembly;
perform ceremonial functions such as meeting with dignitaries, presentation
of awards, opening remarks at conferences, etc.; promote the objectives
of the IEEE; and be the Chief Executive Officer of the IEEE.
8. QUESTION: In the 2005 IEEE elections, only 14% of the membership voted. What, if anything, would you do to increase members' participation in IEEE elections?
|Lew Terman: I think what we are doing this year is pretty good -- talking to the Regions and other entities which invite us (with Q&A sessions where time permits), sending these 10 questions to the Newsletters, participating in the Philadelphia debate and making available recordings of the debate and presentations of the candidate platforms on the IEEE web site, and making additional information available on our personal web sites.||
Vig: In 1975-77, when a controversial candidate,
Irwin Feerst, ran for IEEE president, 36% voted. In those days, the membership
was more involved in IEEE issues than they are today.
9. QUESTION: What have been your three most important contributions to IEEE?
Terman: In the late 1990’s, I was instrumental
in the conversion of the Solid-State Circuits Council to the Solid-State
Circuits Society. This was very successful; the SSCS is now the 5th largest
Society in the IEEE, and the Journal of Solid-State Circuits records the
highest number of hits in IEL. I served as the first SSCS president elected
by the Society.
In the mid 90’s, IEEE and TAB were going through financial difficulties. I was appointed TAB treasure, stabilized the situation and improved the communication with TAB, and served a second term as Treasurer.
In 2001, I was on the Board as the bottom fell out of the IEEE financial situation. As part of a team effort, we were able to put in place a number of changes which arrested the slide.
Vig: My three most important contributions
10. QUESTION: What would be your single and most recognized contribution that will distinguish your IEEE Presidency from those of others?
|Lew Terman: I would like my presidency to result in the elimination of any silos between IEEE operating units, and attacking IEEE problems with coordinated efforts across IEEE.||
John Vig: The president under whose leadership innovation flourished in IEEE.