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An Update from the SIGCHI President

Joseph Konstan, President of ACM SIGCHI, reviews some of the highlights of the past few months.

First, everything is coming together for an outstanding CHI 2006.  Conference chair Gary Olson provides a summary of changes and highlights in an article in this issue, but I'd like to briefly mention three things.  First, I'm tremendously excited by the new format--it is the result of more than two years of planning in reaction to feedback from conference attendees and detailed experiences of conference chairs and volunteers.

Second, I really welcome the opportunity to have courses right alongside the other technical content.  If you were the type of person who "never attends tutorials," please take a look.  These compact and diverse offerings may make you re-think that position.  Finally, I'm immensely grateful to the incredible collection of volunteers who make it possible for us to have this conference--this year and every year.  Hundreds of SIGCHI members come together to create this event, and we all owe them a debt of gratitude.  Thank you.  And if you would like to join these volunteers, please come see any of us at the SIGCHI Booth at CHI 2006.

Third, SIGCHI's elections are underway.  You should receive both an e-mail invitation to vote and a postcard.  By moving to electronic ballots, we are able to speed up the voting process worldwide, and ensure that all SIGCHI members have an equal opportunity to cast their votes.  If you are unable to cast votes online, it is still possible to receive a paper ballot, of course.  If you haven't received ballot materials, please contact Election Services Corp.  directly at:

Next, I'm very pleased to tell you about ACM's new membership grades.  For some time, ACM has been receiving requests to find a way to recognize outstanding scientists, engineers, educators, and other practitioners.  As indicated in the nominations article, ACM is adding the categories of Senior Member (for people with ten years of professional experience and five years of ACM membership), and Distinguished Engineer, Scientist, or Member (for people with fifteen years of professional experience and significant accomplishments in and/or impact on the field).  I know that a large number of SIGCHI members qualify for these honors--I encourage you to nominate yourself, or to consider nominating others you know are qualified.  The forms are still being developed, but the announcement includes links to pages where you can sign up to receive the nomination kits as soon as they are finished.

A few other items of note:

  • With the support of SIGCHI and the other ACM SIGs, the Computer Science Teachers Association is making excellent progress in developing into a professional organization and support group for pre-collegiate computer science teachers (primary through secondary levels).  At a recent briefing I discovered how challenging some of the issues are as teachers struggle against sometimes contradictory certification procedures and licensure requirements.  Having a professional organization that can catalog the requirements (and help teachers organize to change those that make little sense) will help as we try to improve computer science education in the US and worldwide.
  • ACM's Publications Board has recently adopted a new and important policy on plagiarism.  This policy, which can be found at policy.html is a significant step forward for our field, spelling out the responsibility of authors to properly acknowledge work that is not their own.  I use it when teaching students about professional ethics, and recommend it to you as well.
  • It has been just over one year since Interactions editors Elizabeth Dykstra-Erickson and Jonathan Arnowitz published their first issue.  I hope you've been enjoying the fruits of their efforts as they've been working hard to make the magazine easier to read, more entertaining, more lively, and more inclusive (their words, from their debut editorial).  SIGCHI remains committed to providing its members with the best content on HCI.  If you have suggestions, please do send them to our editors at ( or feel free to send your comments to me ( and I'll forward them along.

 I look forward to seeing you at CHI 2006 in Montreal

-- Joseph A.  Konstan Professor of Computer Science & Engineering University of Minnesota


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