IEEE President’s Priorities and Strategic Direction for 2024

by Tom Coughlin, 2024 IEEE President; edited & augmented by Alan J Weissberger, IEEE Techblog Content Manager

Let’s examine each of these issues and initiatives for IEEE this year:

1.  IEEE has a lot of college student members but, like many other professional organizations, the majority of these student members don’t continue as full IEEE members.  One reason is the much higher cost – $218/yr for full IEEE membership vs. $32/yr for IEEE student membership. This is a big financial burden as many college graduates carry student loans after graduation.  Another reason is they don’t see much if any value in being an IEEE member.  We need to change that perception by revitalizing IEEE such that is relevant to young members careers in both industry and academia.

In order for the IEEE to remain vital and relevant we need to convert more of our student members to full IEEE members and then engage and retain them.  One thought is to encourage them to volunteer at the section, chapter, or global level.

I am creating a special task force in the IEEE to address this problem and do surveys, focus groups and pilot programs to find ways that we can attract and retain our younger members.

2.  IEEE needs to create stronger ties and provide greater value to industry and to those engineers and scientists who work in industry. This goal is closely related to the first goal since most of our student members end up working in industry.

IEEE has an Industry Engagement Committee and I have asked them to work with the IEEE Student Activities Committee and IEEE Young Professionals to find value in the IEEE for younger people working in industry. In addition, I am personally reaching out to companies to speak with senior technical people about how IEEE is useful now and what else we can do to provide value, particularly for younger people working in industry.

3.  IEEE needs to reach out to the broader world to let them know who we are and what we do.  Today, most people that have heard of IEEE think of it as ONLY a standards organization, e.g. for IEEE 802.11 WiFi and IEEE 802.3 Ethernet.  They don’t realize that IEEE is by far, the largest tech non-profit organization.

We have in our IEEE membership experts in all technologies, who can provide insights and guidance for public policy, convene meetings and create new and valuable standards.

IEEE is by far the most cited source for prior art in patents worldwide, it has created documents and standards on ethical design of intelligent and autonomous systems (AI) and our volunteers write, review and publish much of the worlds technical literature and put on conferences on every conceivable technical topic.

IEEE also creates future directions committees on emerging technologies, pursue technical megatrends and create and publish technology roadmaps on semiconductor and other important technologies.

4.  IEEE needs to invest in new products and services. In particular, applying AI and other computer algorithms to IEEE content that will enable new ways to find, understand and advance technologies that can serve our members and our customers.

In 2024, IEEE will start an Ad hoc committee, working with relevant groups outside of the IEEE, on educating future generations of workers who will be using new tools such as AI, working in outer space and in virtual environments and who will work for many organizations and technologies during their career.

IEEE should be able to leverage technical tools to help people learn in the best way for them and to provide lower costs for continuous education which can enable those from underserved communities to participate in and benefit from technical education.

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2024 IEEE Key Topics of Focus Overview:

  • Provides a roadmap for the year in terms of areas of focus and provides year over year continuity.
  • Discussed and adopted on an annual basis by the IEEE Board of Directors at the January meeting.
  • A living document that evolves throughout the year and is updated for every Board meeting as progress is reported.

 

Tom’s Closing Comments:

I know the time will go by fast in my one year term as IEEE President. I look forward to meeting more of our members in more places and having the chance to understand and support these members. I also hope that I can help create stronger ties to those who work in industry and keep more of our younger members and provide greater value to the world. Most of all I will support the IEEE’s mission to advance technology for the benefit of humanity!

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References:

IEEE President Elect: IEEE Overview, 2024 Priorities and Strategic Plan

https://www.forbes.com/sites/tomcoughlin/2023/11/29/i-will-be-leading-the-ieee-in-2024/?sh=7634b13f4c02

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