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Minutes from April EC meeting in Florence

Executive Committee Minutes from April 11, 2008 After CHI Meeting

April 11th 2008
Florence, Italy
Meeting started at 10:00 am and concluded around 3:30 PM.

A.J. Brush

Participants: Joe Konstan, Fred Sampson, A.J. Brush, Dan Olsen, Paula Kotzé, Scooter Morris, Philippe Palanque, Gerrit van der Veer,  Arnie Lund, Richard Anderson,  Mary Beth Rosson, Nick Sabadosh,   Mark Apperley,  Brooke Hardy (ACM).

We congratulate and thank the chairs of CHI 2008, Mary Czerwinski, Arnie Lund and Desney Tan. 47% of attendees to CHI were from Europe! CHI 2009 Boston will be held April 4-9, 2009, CHI 2010 in Atlanta will be held April 10-15, 2010


Action Items:

  • Action Item (Gerrit): Handle figuring out who would be appropriate to write the letters to the vendors.
  • Action Item (Julie/Joe):  Determine which issues SIGCHI would like the ACM to address in relation to being an international organization.  Possibilities include currency issues, non-profit status in Europe, perhaps an office to handle publicity
  • Action Item (Phil) Make sure feedback from survey is sent to course instructors
  • Action Item (Phil):  Check with Carol about prizes for survey.
  • Action Item (Scooter) Setup wiki for local chapters
  • Action Item (Nick /Lauren) Understanding how the local sigs fit into the local chapters structure (e.g. ACM silicon valley chapters and also BayCHI chapters but they do not talk)
  • Action item (Nick):  Work with Lauren and ACM on developing a plan around membership discounts
  • Action Item (Paula): Work on the education issue to connect with appropriate people in the teaching association
  • Action Item (Richard):  Data with respect to local attendance with HCI International in Beijing, UPA conferences in China, attendance other International conferences
  • Action Item (AJ):  Contact folks to solicit nominations for practitioners we would like to nominated as ACM Distinguished engineers.
  • Action Item ( Brooke/Fran): Send examples of other screening questionnaires that other SIGs use for small conferences 
  • Action Item (Joe): work with Julie to figure out the next face to face meeting – it should be sooner rather than later, but must given enough time to organize.
  • Action Item (A.J.) Put historical data on the website (Gerrit’s slides, past slides)
  • Action Item (A.J.) Put CHI dates on website
  • Action Item (Scooter) sort out the problems with the mailing list so members can email sigchi ec more easily.


Detailed Minutes:


CHI 2008 report out and debrief  (Arnie)


  • Thanks the SIGCHI EC for support and to know they had a safety net. 
  • The conference chairs believe that it was successful conference.
  • 40+ exhibitors, a little low but understandable given the challenges (VAT, Customs). 
  • Good sponsorship, a little disappointed about lack of local sponsorship.   There was a sense that for several U.S. companies people are pulling back. 
  • We did much better with registration than expected, budgeting for 1925 we had roughly 2400.  Florence was highly desired.   We are not way under but probably won’t make money.  The VAT was a big surprise.  That really hit us.  
  • Very diverse program.   The theme worked out really well, obviously connecting with Florence and the plenaries.   Communities worked to pull our diverse communities together.
  • Challenges: 
    • Changes in personal that led to Mary/Arnie having to work remotely and not having really strong local connections,  tried for a virtual local community,
    • Contracts finalized was a challenge, sometimes lack of communication made local arrangements was a challenge, additional pco helped with translation
  • Wanted to build more design to conference – website, t-shirts
  • Sustainability committee meet and made recommendations, sponsored by Arnie,   Only baby steps so far, worth continuing to look at going forward
  • Arnie felt it helped being co-chairs.  Has been a shift away from co-chairs, but it balanced the travel and job demands for both of them.
  • Good to try the experimental venues, Recommendation – continue to be dynamic as a conference, explore new things
  • Curse of success – so many submissions coming in it is straining the infrastructure, critical to track all the details and the lesson learned to make a better infrastructure
  • Communicate communicate communicate  (all the things that went wrong seemed to be when someone didn’t know something).
  • Clear roles and responsibilities (make sure you know who is responsible for everyone). 
  • Evolving a set of core principles used to make our decisions (budget, themes, extensibility for future conference)
  • Helped to have an administrative assistant for them (Thanks to Jon Frohlich – he tracked many things that helped Mary/Arnie)
  • Think about people flow and space (did I have to walk a lot, did I get turned away, where there places to sit)
  • Importance of continuity – Arnie got a big notebook when he was a chair in 1997.  They had a very formal hand-off process, we did have many of the same people who had a lot of continuity - we need to be training up the apprentices that will need to take over.  


Gerrit:

  • Thanks to Arnie, Mary and Desney.   He would like to work with CMC about finances for future international conferences so that conference chairs have enough freedom.   From Gerrit perspective the conference was a tremendous success because it did not lose a lot money
  • People got what they expected in a CHI conference. 


Feedback from EC/CMC about conference/lessons and observations

  • Fred - Finances are did really well.    The chairs were very uncomfortable -  he’s concerned that he heard from some Europeans that are absolutely convinced that we just didn’t talk to the right VAT people.
  • Gerrit -  Excellent team. 
  • Mary  Beth -  Everyone seemed comfortable, took a little while to get comfortable in the space but people did.  It shows their creativity in using the unstructured space.   One of her colleagues noticed a lot of high resolution photos of content (talks, posters), he was pondered implications of doing something in public that was now digitized.   Feels like the conference is more transient, think of photos taken in the past of activities rather than IP – going forward we need to think through the implications from an IP (this really work in progress point of view)
  • Mark – thought it was excellent,  conference reception was most generous – more food – more drink,  also noticed during paper presentations people were photographing every slide, we need to think through advice to authors.
  • Nick -  it fulfilled all his expectations, it was wonderful,  it was very difficult to hear the talks, we need to get this across to all the speakers
  • Dan  - considering the amazing short time, it was an outstanding job,  big fan of the restaurant arrangements,  he was extremely pleased, he did not hear anything from folks, except the stresses on the review process.
  • Paula -  She liked the conference center and how it was isolated and made us a community.  She was at the interactivity displays and discussed how much they had to pay for the equipment, it was very expensive.
  • AJ –  Great conference, great plenaries.  Had trouble with posters switching everyday.
  • Scooter -,space in sessions worked out well.  North Americans did not make up 50% of attendees – this is a success, we are international,  plenaries were really good, exhibitor issues all landed on Carol all of the angst landed on her, for example, eye tracking folks had to pay money on site to store stuff, but still went away happy,   if we ever want to go overseas on 2 years notice we should all be taken out and shot, let’s try not to put ourselves in this position – we were pushing it from the day we decided to come to Europe.  We must have a 3 year planning cycles if we go to another county and another culture. 
  • Richard -  his interest in the conference had diminished, he’s happy that he’s back.  Thanks for having a special Interactions section – very beneficial, strange how many people told them that couldn’t attend because the panel was titled “Invited Session”    He’d love to hear more about what they decided not to do because of continuity.   He’s interested about why there aren’t things handed –off
  • Phil – We made a mistake not saying that Fabio stepped down,  people did ask: why is the whole conference committee American in Italian.  For society not well perceived to have three American people in charge of conference in Europe.    Many people are asking when the next one in Europe.   CHI 2009 committee – who are the international people on the committee?  CMC needs to move faster. 
  • Brooke- Turned out fantastic, folks from the ACM expressed how smoothly everything was running,  beyond the scenes stuff stayed beyond the scenes, last year people were seeking her out to complain to her, it didn’t have that feeling this year,  our vendors really did go over and beyond their job descriptions.  
  • Brooke – hospitality events, we got so lucky last year.   Amount to rent the space was 300,000 Euros (in US we get the space for free or under 100,000). 


Suggestion by Scooter: Given all of the circumstances it would be appropriate for this SIGCHI/ACM to write letters to thank the vendors.

Action Item(Gerrit) will handle figuring out who would be appropriate to write the letters to the vendors.

  • Joe -   As a researcher this was the best conference he’s been too.  It didn’t feel like Microsoft CHI which we were worried about it.  We have to figure out what to do about the membership meeting.   Beginning of the evolution of the universities moving off the targeted time, a couple universities had receptions on Tuesday night, all these people that have invitations, but everyone isn’t invited to everything.   How do we avoid people feeling left out.    Ribbons/Stickers – first time ribbons,  design venues – when they were good they were really good.  Bags identified people because he was carrying the bag people came up to him.  The field is changing – what’s the role of the doctoral consortium now that many departments have many people in them that do HCI.   When he started as a volunteer, there was a very tight timeline and on flexibility, then we swung to the opposite so that nobody knows what is going on, we need to stop in the middle.  ACM must solve the European solved the currency issue.  Must get out of the mindset that Europe is big risk – European is big management and model issue but it’s not a content risk.  We have a lack of European infrastructure issue, lack of sponsorship, grants for doctoral consortium, question of volunteer management, we need to track people who may want to be involved.  This was a great conference, tremendous attendee experience, a good volunteer experience. 
  • Brooke – the conference opened the eyes of the ACM to what needs to be done to work in Europe, they have opened a European account, working to find a credit card processor that works with non-profit status.  Previous European conferences have been smaller and easier to handle.   Eye opening and learning experience for ACM .   Publicity worked out well bringing back to volunteer level was good – they handle relationship to SIGCHI and other SIGs well.   Still a challenge to connecting to newspapers.  CMC issue around publicity, materials ready to produce. 
  • Brooke – Suggests publicity is another place where people have a  2 year commitment, one year on and one year off (like some of the other venues, SVs, Madness)
  • IFIP meeting held beforehand was really good – also them coming to the conference. 


CHI 2008 Attendance

From Thursday afternoon :
       Participants total 2360 (incl. 1 day)
       Paying: 2063 (min 1 course – comp reg.)
       Students 693 (29% incl. SVs)

Gerrit stresses that conference in Europe are no longer smaller than in US.

Attendence:
Europe 47%
NA = 44%
Asia = 7%

We need to work on getting CHI indexed for impact factor (ACM)

We believe ACM should figure out how we could work with the EU to get non-profit status
We discuss ACM having an office in Europe to help them work through issues, currency, publicity, non-profit

We are no longer a North American society that sometimes steps outside the world, we are an international society.

Action Item (Julie/Joe):  To determine which issues SIGCHI would like the ACM to address in relation to being an international organization.  Possibilities include currency issues, non-profit status in Europe, perhaps an office to handle publicity


Future CHIs

2009 Boston, April 4-9
2010 Atlanta, April 10-15
2011 West of US
2012 – New world

CHI Surveys:

  • Mainly for the benefit of next year’s conference
  • Should we move to a single survey?    Courses and overall
    • Problems in the past with people not getting the information
    • This is a cross-conference issues because courses are sometimes taught at other SIGCHI conferences
    • General conference survey that involves some questions about courses
    • Survey on specific courses will be sent to those that registered
    • Philippe will take the action item of getting the feedback to the course instructors

Action Item (Phil) Make sure feedback from survey is sent to course instructors


Mark – conference concerns related to sustainability, the biggest component is the international travel that people do to get here.   We need to be looking at this factor for the future, social pressures will come to bear in the future which will mean that people will be thinking about the international.  He went to conference recently where there was in parallel a real time 2nd life version of the conference.  Innovative ideas that allowed us in the future – in New Zealand a government run conference on digital futures.   Mark will be exploring this for the future, perhaps too late for 2009 but he can work with 2010.

Phil – check on no-shows, prizes for the survey.  He will check with Carol
Motion by Dan made that SIGCHI authorizes up to $1,000 for prizes for survey.   AJ seconded.   All approved.

Action Item (Phil):  Check with Carol about prizes for survey.


Discussion about Reaching out to Education

ACM needs to embrace HCI, begin to attack the problems “women in computing”   -   SIGCHI involved with CS teaching associations (teachers at the high school level). 

Action Item (Paula): will work on the education issue to connect with appropriate people in the teaching association


Specialized conferences and workshops

  • Rob Jacobs and Philippe chatted about Tangibles ,
  • We think we should have a small screening questionnaires for conferences.
    • Half a page of a few questions (e.g. do you overlap with existing SIGs)
    • Half a page of here’s what you get and here’s what you give up when sponsored by SIGCHI (e.g. ACM policies and procedures)


Action Item ( Brooke/Fran): Send examples of other screening questionnaires that other SIGs use for small conferences


Chapters (Nick)


Local SIGs workshop had about 12 attendees,  1 U.S. SIG Portland, Belguim, France, Sweden, Netherlands, China, New Zealand, Ontario, Canada
Elizabeth Churchill and Nick Sabadosh, Lauren Ryan, John White
He’s working with Lauren to better understand his role

Key Discussion topics at the workshop:

  1. How does SIGCIH position itself relative to the other the related organizations?
  2. List of requirements for some type of online infrastructure for SIGs
    1. Setup a bulletin board so that the local sigs could keep in touch. 
  3. Promotion of local SIGs, their activities and their volunteers through various channels and methods
    1. Bulletin, awards, etc.
  4. Chartered vs. unchartered chapters
    1. Issues of chartering non-US chapters
    2. What are the terms of the ACM?  (Disposition of assets – if the chapter dissolves assets go to ACM, requirement of officers/certain percentage of people be members of ACM)
    3. All chapters are ACM chapters that are SIGCHI affiliated.
  5. Better maintenance of key contacts
  6. How to attract and keep volunteers
  7. Providing SIGCHI benefits to local SIG members
    1. Associate membership from SIGGRAPH, which might be an example but we are not sure what value the associate member gives to the individual.
    2. Vast majority of the local chapter members are not SIGCHI or ACM members
  8. How to reach non-HCI audiences with the benefits of HCI
  9. How local is local (Portland vs. China)
    1. There was an ACM policy that it would not charter a chapter unless it was smaller in size than a company, then accidentally chartered Italian chapter, this turned out to be a good thing


Proposed Next Steps:

  • [Nick] Work with Lauren to create summary report and notes
  • Refine priorities based on EC input and feedback
  • [Nick] Update current Local SIGs page with latest contact information, links, etc
  • Create a “bulletin board” to facilitate ongoing communication and collaboration with Local SIGC leaders  - Action item for Scooter
  • Explore options for providing more SIGCHI benefits to Local SIGCHI members
  • Continue discussions of common infrastructure to support local SIG needs
    • Find a volunteer to liaison with the ACM as they restructure to advocate for support for chapters
  • Worries
    • Only 20% of chapter members are members of SIGCHI, what is it that we could provide that would make it obvious that people should be members of both
  • What do people get?
    • Mark – local chapter that exists solely to hold a small conference every year in New Zealand.  Really need to show how the benefits could flow down from SIGCHI so that people could see the benefits that they could gain as local members.


Action Item (Scooter) Setup wiki for local chapters

Action Item (Nick /Lauren) Understanding how the local sigs fit into the local chapters structure (e.g. ACM silicon valley chapters and also BayCHI chapters but they do not talk)


SIGCHI – NL chapter

  • Would like to provide more benefits for their members, emphasizes the desire to provide interactions to them and maybe all of SIGCHI
  • Currently interactions and SIGCHI go hand in hand and membership costs $50 professionals and $14 for students  (Will be $55 going forward)
  • Proposal you are a charted local SIG, if you want to provide all of your local members with SIGCHI members we will give it to you for a discount.
  • How do we track this?
    • Go to ACM, SIGCHI would like to pilot a solution,  if you don’t have the time to do it then we have to pass
    • If ACM is willing to put the mechanism in place (paper, money)
  • This may take a while


It was suggested  that we are willing to offer membership at $10 off for professionals, $5 off for students to any chapter that wants to offer all their members SIGCHI membership.  Provided Nick can work out the details with ACM, this would be piloted with NL. 

Action item (Nick):  Work with Lauren and ACM on developing a plan around membership discounts


Bulletin  (Mark)

  • As yet not produced an issue of the bulletin.  Have been gathering materials. 
  • It does to seem to him that looking at the history of the bulletin, might be a vehicle without content
  • He wants to change that – either has a role or doesn’t it.   SIGCHI website and electronic bulletin  - dumping ground for archival material used to be basis for less formal communication
  • Local sig summaries and news could appear in the bulletin, conference reports, minutes of meeting one of only item
  • Was not magazine and research content, was relevant society information, what the society is doing in education, outreach.  Always been difficult to get people to write about this stuff – into blogs
  • Two purposes:
    • What’s going on in SIGCHI (Gerrit’s slides) – “Congrats to chairs”  We have reached a milestones
    • Members of our community – here’s state of the HCI, links to blogs
    • ACM has techInfo service – hci specific
    • Could we have member discussions there


Next Meeting

Action Item (Joe): work with Julie to figure out the next face to face meeting – it should be sooner rather than later, but must given enough time to organize.  We need to have the right invite list for this meeting and pay for appropriate people outside our committee (senior from ACM, people from locations of interest)

Things that need to be discussed:

  1. Strategy of approach to developing new geographic communities
    1. Value of it  (what are we gaining)
    2. Should we go into these communities, if so and why
    3. If so, Is the conference the right way in    
    4. Does “conference” have to be a singular term?  Do we do something like SIGCHI Asia?


Action Item (Richard):  Data with respect to local attendance with HCI International in Beijing, UPA conferences in China, attendance other International.  Interact was small.


MISC (discussed very quickly)

Action Item (AJ):  Contact folks to solicit nominations for practitioners we would like to nominated as ACM Distinguished engineers.


Feedback from Business Meeting

People asked about having more historical data on website, Steven Pemberton has started a wiki page for SIGCHI, we were encouraged to consider journal status for CHI publications and made aware of a problem emailing us.

Action Item (A.J.) Put historical data on the website (Gerrit’s slides, past slides)

Action Item (A.J.) Put CHI dates on website

Action Item (Scooter) sort out the problems with the mailing list so members can email sigchi ec more easily.

 

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