Sections Congress Recommendations See Progress

Check the status of ten suggestions volunteers at 2008 Sections Congress made for improving IEEE

8 January 2010

Progress has been made in implementing some of the top 10 recommendations for improving IEEE operations suggested at IEEE’s Sections Congress in September 2008 in Quebec. The Member and Geographic Activities (MGA) board is responsible for addressing the recommendations made by the volunteers who attended. By implementing the recommendations, the board hopes to better engage members, increasing their participation in IEEE activities and helping them excel as individuals and within their professions.

Recommendation 1: Every member should be entitled to a limited number of annual free downloads from the IEEE Xplore digital library.

Status: Due to financial implications, it is unlikely IEEE will implement this suggestion. Instead, a modified version is being explored that would provide downloads to members as an incentive for their future commitments such as renewing their membership.

Recommendation 2: Members need flexible payment options regardless of their geographic location and banking methods.

Status: A pilot program involving students in India starting this month and running through June allows payments to be made in rupees for member renewals and new applications. If it’s successful, the MGA board will consider expanding the program.

Recommendation 3: Provide a leadership training handbook for section officers.

Status: A Quick Start Training guide has been developed for the five top section positions, with additional modules to be released by June. Also, MGA volunteers and staff are evaluating the functions of IEEE’s geographic units and working on how best to align these functions with corresponding volunteer positions.

Recommendation 4: Develop user-friendly system and support services to enable sections, chapters, and affinity groups to deliver teleconferencing sessions, collaborative software, and webinars at low cost.

Status: A vendor has been selected to provide Web conferencing services. Training materials are being developed, with training sessions to be held in the first quarter of this year.

Recommendation 5: Develop smaller tiered packages of the IEEE Xplore digital library.

Status: A smaller package is in the works. The Member Digital Library (MDL) Basic will be launched with the 2011 membership renewal cycle. The proposed price is US $15 per month, with a minimum six-month subscription. Members can receive three downloads per month, and unused downloads will roll over to the next month. The current subscription plan, the IEEE Member Digital Library, requires a six-month minimum commitment and costs $35 a month for up to 25 articles.

Recommendation 6: Improve the pace at which recommendations identified at the Sections Congress are implemented.

Status: A final report on the recommendations, as well as improvements to the Sections Congress processes, is to be completed by December. Updates on the progress of each recommendation are being provided to 2008 congress attendees twice per year instead of being provided at the next Sections Congress, held every three years. Current section chairs will receive updates four times a year instead of receiving updates at yearly Regional Committee meetings. Progress on recommendations is posted on the IEEE Sections Congress Web site.

Recommendation 7: Implement similar member benefits across all regions.

Status: An MGA/IEEE-USA ad hoc committee on professional activities has recommended products, services, and programs for members in Regions 7, 8, 9, and 10, and the list is being refined.

Recommendation 8: Sections and chapters must be able to accept Web-based payments for small local events.

Status: A product that makes it easier for IEEE members to pay for local section and chapter events is expected to be available by the end of the year.

Recommendation 9: Provide support and tools for creating and maintaining easy-to-update section Web sites that include such features as blogs, meeting calendars, and member surveys and that use “single sign-on” authentication via IEEE Web accounts.

Status: A new system called MGA vTools has been released with some of these capabilities, such as a meeting calendar, planning tool, and a so-called Web-in-a-box capability that creates standard Web pages with common services. Other features being developed are expected to be available later this year.

Recommendation 10: Implement multiyear membership options for all membership grades.

Status: The MGA board has endorsed the concept of implementing two- and three-year membership options for IEEE and society memberships. This proposal is being reviewed, with final approval expected this year and implementation no earlier than the 2012 membership renewal.

The MGA board welcomes your feedback on its progress. Send questions or comments to

IEEE membership offers a wide range of benefits and opportunities for those who share a common interest in technology. If you are not already a member, consider joining IEEE and becoming part of a worldwide network of more than 400,000 students and professionals.

Learn More