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Meeting of the SIGCHI Executive Committee

The Hague, The Netherlands. April 7-8, 2000

Attendees

Elected Officers

Marilyn Tremaine

Chair (non-voting)

Wendy Mackay

Executive Vice Chair

Barbee Teasley

Vice Chair for Communications (minutes)

Jean Scholtz

Vice Chair for Finance

Dan Olsen

Vice Chair for Publications

Bob Mack

Vice Chair for Operations

Angel Puerta

Vice Chair for Conferences

Mike Atwood

Past Chair

Advisory Board (1 vote for the Board as a whole)

Gerrit van der Veer

Richard Anderson

Steven Pemberton

Non-Voting

Joe Konstan

Editor-in-Chief, SIGCHI Bulletin

Kristina Hook

Adjunct Chair for Membership

Kari-Jouko Raiha

Adjunct Chair for Volunteers

Steven Arnold

Adjunct Chair for Information

Austin Henderson

Adjunct Chair for Policy

Michael Tauber

CMC Member

Alisa Rivkin

ACM Program Director

Stuart Card

Distinguished Advisory Board

Gillian Crampton Smith

Distinguished Advisory Board

Judy Olsen

Distinguished Advisory Board

Carla Simone

Distinguished Advisory Board

Yvonne Waern

Distinguished Advisory Board

Gary Olson

SIGCHI member

(These minutes were created April 12, 2000, modified on May 21, 2000, and approved by a vote of  6-0-0 on June 21, 2000.)

Input from Distinguished Advisors

Five members of the SIGCHI community were invited by the Executive Committee (EC) Chair, Marilyn Tremaine, to serve as advisors to the Extended Executive Committee (EEC). The advisors attended the morning session of the EEC meeting on April 7. The advisors were asked to address the issue of whether SIGCHI is serving its members in the best possible way, and, if not, how we can better meet their needs.

The following is a summary of some of the recommendations from the advisors:

·         Do more in the realm of marketing, including changing the name of the organization

·         Provide more membership value through news and awareness of what’s happening in the field

·         Create an IEEE-style education program

·         Involve the design community to a greater extent

·         Work to bring the usability professionals back into the fold

·         Restructure and simplify the CHI conference

·         Have a 'student bazaar' at the CHI conference where colleges can show off whatever they choose

·         Look at other conferences for ideas

·         Utilize the power of the web  to provide resources for educators and professionals

·         Make it more widely known that SIGCHI has resources for projects

·         Look to the local SIGs members who are not members of SIGCHI to determine what SIGCHI could to attract people such as themselves

·         Create "sister SIGs" for local SIGs, especially for cities where people cannot attend the CHI conference

·         Expand our efforts to reach the public, the press and policy makers

·         Figure out a way to seed HCI activities in parts of the world where there are no local SIGs

·         Have workshops on how to teach HCI

·         Treat members and volunteers better.

Minutes

The minutes of the February and March 2000 EEC meetings were distributed to the attendees by Barbee Teasley. Corrections and changes were incorporated. The amended February minutes were approved by a vote of 8-0-0. The amended March minutes were approved by a vote of 8-0-0.

New Appointment

Steven Arnold has agreed to take over the position of Adjunct Chair for Information. Steven Liu resigned due to insufficient time to devote to the activities.

Report on CHI 2000 Conference

Thea Turner and Gerd Szwillus, Co-chairs for the CHI 2000 conference, visited the EEC meeting to provide a preliminary report on the conference and to receive the EEC’s commendations. The registration for the conference was the highest ever, at about 2,543. Registration for the tutorials was about 3890, which is the second best ever. There was a substantial amount of on-site registration for both tutorials and conferences, perhaps as a result of the extensive advertising done in Europe.  Income from sponsors and contributors was in excess of $218K, plus in-kind contributions from Diamond Bullet. The interim financials suggest that the conference will return about $208K to ACM, and $149K to SIGCHI.

The Co-chairs recommended that in the future tutorial instructors should receive a higher honorarium, but neither the tutorial fees nor the conference fees should be raised. They also recommended the continuation of scholarships for authors with accepted admissions who come from soft currency countries. They suggested that the CHI Kids program be re-evaluated. The expenses for the program were about $15K above donations and fees. Thus, the conference spent about $1K per attendee. We need to decide if the CHI community is receiving appropriate value for the costs.

The optional electronic submission process had some difficulties. The required .pdf format did not work well on some printers. There were over 400 submissions for short talks. A paper version of the submission was required for review to proceed, but not all authors followed the instructions. Thus, some authors did not have their submissions reviewed. The Co-chairs also had some difficulties regarding mailing the Advance Programs. Blind reviewing was used this year. Loreen Terveen is writing a report on the success of the process.

The EEC expressed their appreciation to Turner and Szwillus for a highly successful conference.

Future Conferences

Mike Atwood moved that CHI 2004 take place in Europe and Dan Olsen seconded. The discussion centered around the success of the CHI 2000 conference, along with the desire to draw in attendees from the Pacific Rim. We would like to build on our success in Europe and overcome the perception that ACM and SIGCHI are solely American. It is also important to involve local SIGs, wherever the conference is held. The motion was amended to say the CHI 2003 conference should be in Europe unless it proves financially or logistically impractical. The vote was 8-0-0 in favor.

Conference Operations

Due to excessive demands on his time, Angel Puerta resigned his position as Vice Chair for Conferences. The EEC expressed their appreciation to Puerta for his work to date in this position. Tremaine will seek a candidate for the position, to fill in the remainder of the election term. The SIG Board must approve the replacement.

The EEC discussed ways to improve the CHI conference, and to plan for the future. We need to manage our success, and keep up the high quality of the conference. A perennial problem is creating continuity. One solution may require employing more professionals. Another approach may be to modify the core conference. While this may lead to more consistency and higher quality, it may not be something that conference chairs will like.

The EEC would like to learn from the past conferences. However, the data from the conference attendee questionnaires has not been circulated to the EEC in the past. Further, there is some questions of the validity of the questionnaire that is used.

Other Operational Issues

As a result of the dialog on conference operational matters, the EC explored other issues related to operations. It appears that in some cases roles and processes are not well-defined, and communications can break down.

Konstan moved (Olsen seconded) that the Chair oversee the creation or updating of the following documents: The EC Operation Plan, the Conference Operational Plan, the Budget Summary, the EC job descriptions, the Core Conference document, and a Model Conference document. The Model Conference document would contain model scenarios, lines of communications, relationship to contractors, and the bases for future contracts. The motion passed, 7-0-0.

Scholtz moved (Teasley seconded) that the EC contract for an external audit of operations, including the EEC, the CMC, contractor positions, and the ACM program manager. The goal is to revise roles, communications, and processes to better match our current needs, and make operations more efficient and effective. The motion passed, 5-2-0.

Publications

Joe Konstan moved that the new version of the Bulletin, which will be in the form of a member newsletter to supplement the information provided in interactions, be provided only to members, and not to others who subscribe to interactions. Tremaine seconded. The motion passed, 8-0-0.

Currently, anyone can have access online to SIGCHI publications by registering online. Tremaine moved (Olsen seconded) that access to these materials become a membership service, and not publicly available. The motion passed 7-0-0.

Steven Pemberton requested funding for activities regarding interactions. He requested funds to support travel to an Editorial Board meeting in New York in the same time frame as the DIS conference to discuss the editorial direction. Currently the board only meets once per year, which is not sufficient. The meeting would involve up to 20 people and is estimated to cost $12.5K. The EC requested that Pemberton ask ACM publications to pay for half of the costs. Olsen seconded the motion, which passed 8-0-0.  Pemberton also discussed a proposal to carry out market research with the goal of increasing subscribers and attracting more advertisers, a second proposal to redesign the publication, and a third proposal to turn the top three tutorials from the CHI conference into articles. These discussions were tabled and will be reconsidered at a later date.

Pemberton proposed funding a hit rate analysis on the Digital Library, at $2K. ACM has already collected the data, but does not have the resources to analyze them. Olsen seconded the motion, which passed 8-0-0.

ACM approached the CHI conference organizers to discuss making videos of the conference tutorials part of the ACM Digital Library. This would make access to the tutorials a part of membership value, but would also reach others who have digital library access. The authors of the tutorials would need to receive compensation. The tutorials would need to have an expiration date, as tutorials are not archival in the way a research article is. The videos could be of advantage to those who do not have the resources to bring in a tutorial program. They could also raise awareness of the field due their ready access to those outside the filed. Tremaine moved (Olsen seconded) that we do a trial release of one video. It will be a trial both for us, and for ACM. The revenue model will be an important issue. The motion passed, 7-0-0. Tremaine and Mack will follow up.

Finances

Jean Scholtz reported that we are in very good shape financially. We currently have $1.8M in our fund balance, which is well in excess of the $840K required. Our budget is $609K. Of this, $154K is for special projects. Only $2K of this has been spent. Two categories that are over budget are travel and meeting expenses for the EEC. Underestimating EEC travel is a chronic occurence.

The EEC again addressed the issue of the CHI Conference contingency fund. The conference is required to return 8.2% of their budget to the EC. In addition, ACM requires a contingency of 6.8%. In the past, ACM has required the conference to put the return amount into the contingency, too. However, this impacts the ability of the conference chairs to budget and spend the funds. Because recent conferences have consistently met or exceeded their financial goals, the EC has asked ACM not to withhold the EC contingency. This has not happened. An additional factor is that the EC also pays for some conference-related expenses, such as Conference Management Committee (CMC) expenses and conference training expenses. Further, there is some danger is eliminating the contingency. If the conference does not meet its aggressive financial goals and must use the contingency, it is not as psychologically painful as having to cut into the returns (if there were no contingency available). Olsen moved that the required return be reduced to 2%. Atwood seconded. The motion passed, 7-0-0.

Awards

Olsen reported on the ongoing efforts to establish a SIGCHI service award. It is proposed that the stipend be $2500, which is the maximum allowed by ACM. It cannot go to a current officer of a SIG or to a member of the awards committee. The award will be presented annually at the CHI conference. Olsen moved that a service award committee be established, with six members appointed by the EC. Konstan seconded. The motion passed 8-0-0. Tremaine moved (Olsen seconded) that the award also include conference registration, travel and expenses. The motion passed 8-0-0. Austin Henderson agreed to chair the committee, which will report to the Vice Chair for Operations.

Olsen also moved that a program be established to create CHI Fellows, similar in nature to ACM Fellows. The goal is to recognize leadership in the development of the field of HCI. Initially, ten fellows will be selected by the SIGCHI Awards committee. Future members will be selected by a Fellows committee to be appointed by the EC. The goal would be to add 2 to 3 new fellows per year. The award would not include a stipend. However, SIGCHI would pay for travel, registration and expenses to attend the CHI conference at which the award is made. Puerta seconded the motion, which passed 8-0-0. The program will be managed by the Vice Chair for Publications.

Member Growth and Retention

Tremaine proposed that SIGCHI begin advertising at other, related conferences, such as those related to web design and e-commerce. The advertising would be a staffed booth with posters and a brochure to hand out. A local SIG near the conference venue could be contacted and offered $500 as an incentive to make sure the booth is taken care of. Tremaine moved that $10K be budgeted for this effort. Atwood seconded. The vote was 7-0-0 in favor. Teasley agreed to take on the project of updating the current member brochure.

The EEC discussed ideas on how to keep the CHI Conference vital and relevant to both long-term SIGCHI members and to those who attend only occasionally.

One area of discussion related to getting the Design community to feel more a part of SIGCHI and the conference. Feedback from members of the design community suggests that the format of the current conference venues does not match their typical way of presenting, and that they feel the reviewing process is biased against design submissions. The EEC felt that the best way to deal with this issue is to get designers involved in the conference processes and SIGCHI using a “grass roots” process.  Some activities in this vein have already been initiated, such as the special issue of interactions which was edited by designers. It is also important to identify other fields or emerging fields within the SIGCHI community and make sure they have a venue within SIGCHI. On such emerging field is information design. Tremaine will appoint an Adjunct Chair of Design. Their charge will be to inform the EEC of how we can best meet the needs of the design community. In addition, Olsen moved (Konstan seconded) that the EC provide up to $10K for a small workshop for 4-5 designers in conjunction with the EEC’s August meeting. The goal will be for these people to come up with an action plan to forward the interests of designers with SIGCHI.  The motion passed, 7-0-0.

Other ideas for serving the membership included creating an ombudsperson to establish and maintain connections; design certification programs with tutorials and/or a video course; designing online tutorials; and creating a briefing kit that can be used by members who are writing talks. Briefing kits could include slides and other materials, success and failure case studies, statistics about the profession, etc. Another idea was an email news synopsis, similar to the current ACM TechNews. Providing a list of speakers for outside sources, persuading SIGCHI members to become ACM lecturers, and nominating SIGCHI members for awards were also mentioned.  A sense of community can be created by offering funded workshops for small groups of 20 to 30 people. A valuable service could be provided by establishing a career center, which would include information on education and careers in HCI (broadly defined), as well as job placement. Lastly, SIGCHI should step up its efforts at branding and marketing.

Local SIGs

Richard Anderson gave a synopsis of the Local SIGs workshop at the CHI 2000 conference. More countries were represented at the workshop this year. The primary complaint is that local SIGs feel undervalued by SIGCHI.  While the relationship has improved over the years, there is room for further improvement. Areas where there could be improvement include involving local SIGs in the selection of conference sites and conference development; public representation of accomplishments (e.g., at the SIGCHI business meeting held at the CHI conference); and informing new or renewing members of SIGCHI that there is local SIG in their area (if this is the case). They liked the idea of having access to SIGCHI materials in the digital library as a benefit. Local SIGs would like additional help from SIGCHI in dealing with ACM. While this has improved, they still need more help. For example, some required bylaws do not fit countries other than the United States. Responses and funding from ACM is often delayed. Although the EEC had believed that some Local SIGs in Europe needed help regarding their legal status in their home countries, this does not appear to be the case.

Anderson is continuing plans for holding a Local SIGs congress, which would have a more formal status than the annual workshop at the CHI conference. Another ongoing activity is the establishment of umbrella organizations, such as one Nordic and/or Spanish-speaking Local SIGs.

The existing local SIGs model of ‘one size fits all’ may need to be updated. For example, national organziations and large non-national organizations have different needs than a lot of other local SIGs.  KAT CHI (Kentucky, Alabama and Tennessee) is an example of local SIG that serves as a point of contact only. Making the adjunct chair position into an elected, vice-chair position on the EC would provide more visible evidence to Local SIGs that their voice is heard on the EC.  Additionally, there could be an EC-sponsored award for accomplishments by or within Local SIGs.

Local SIGs in soft-currency countries, and student chapters are in need of more attention. For example, neither would have the resources to take advantage of the tutorials-to-go program as it is currently defined.

One difficult logistic is having an accurate database of Local SIGs membership. This is necessary to provide membership benefits fairly, e.g., access to the Digital Library.  However, there is a lot of overhead at the local level in maintaining such a database. Although there are some SIGs who are willing to share their database software, this may not be a complete solution. Anderson, along with Kristina Hook, Steve  Marshall and Bob Mack, will work with the leadership of local SIGs to create an online membership directory service.

Olsen suggested that SIGCHI create a Local Leadership award, including a plaque, travel to the CHI conference and conference registration. Anderson will take this back to the local SIGs to workout the details and bring a proposal back to the EEC.

Next Meeting

The next meeting of the EEC will be a conference call on Wednesday, May 17.


 

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