Speaking with the 3 candidates for 2021 IEEE Elect-President – Part B
Following the Speaking with the 3 candidates for 2021 IEEE Elect-President – Part A, today we present the second part of this interview.
It is noticed that the majority of student members don’t renew their membership as Young Professionals after their graduation. In your opinion, why is this happening and what can be done to face it?
S.Rahman: Upon graduating many engineers do not feel IEEE is relevant to their work, so they do not continue their membership. Moreover, many fresh graduates, especially in developing countries do not always get a job or a good-paying job. So they are financially constrained to pay their IEEE membership dues which is several times of what they used to pay as students. IEEE needs to consider developing lifelong learning opportunities for fresh graduates which will help them to sharpen their skills to be more marketable. IEEE also needs to find ways to subsidize the membership dues of YPs on an as-needed basis.
S.K.Ramesh: This has been an ongoing challenge, exacerbated with the economic challenges due to the pandemic. I held over ten town hall meetings during the past few months to learn about member concerns and heard many voices about the cost of membership when one transitions to YP status. I see promising results in retention from the MGA pilots this year with a graduated fee increase over a 3-5 year period. Continuous engagement through micro-volunteering, networking, career and professional development opportunities for YP’s, can all help. We can turn this around by making IEEE and our value proposition more relevant to students.
R.Liu: We do so much for students, rightfully so, at little cost to them. Then when they graduate, their benefit/cost ratio decreases substantially. Young professionals are our future. Long gone are the days when a technologist can count on lifelong employment with a single company. My plan is to build IEEE to be their “Home Base,” the home for their entire career, to help them with career growth through continuing education/training , job opportunities with better career/professional outlook, mentoring by connecting with whom they respect and those who can guide them, and peer networking by building a sense of community.
What aspects of your background and experience you think will help you most if you get elected?
S.Rahman: I am an academic who has worked in government (US National Science Foundation) and industry (Tokyo Electric Power Company in Japan and Duke Energy in North Carolina), as a consultant for the Asian Development Bank (in Indonesia), and established a software company in the US. Thus, I have a broad experience in the US and abroad. I have a good understanding of how academics, industry engineers, government agency managers and consultants work and what are their expectations. These experiences will be useful for me to guide program development for different segments of the IEEE membership.
S.K.Ramesh: IEEE has been an integral part of my life for almost four decades. I cherish my experiences in the IEEE working with diverse and inclusive teams of volunteers and staff, to serve our members, the profession, and the public. My strength is bringing people together with shared strategic goals, measurable outcomes, and transparent fiscal leadership. Collaboration requires trust and is critical to our success. Trust begins with transparency and open communications. Count on me to serve you with my leadership experience in IEEE, ABET and other non-profits, and over three decades as an engineering educator (dean, department chair and faculty).
R.Liu: Over the last 35 years, I have volunteered time to serve as a co-founder of a chapter Editor-in-Chief of Signal Processing Magazine, Signal Processing Society President, Division Director on the Board of Directors, and moving up to overseeing about 50 Societies/Councils as Vice President, Technical Activities. I have been on IEEE’s Board of Directors in the last seven years, which prepares me to lead immediately since I am aware of all the challenges facing IEEE. I understand the issues you are facing in your professional lives. I am running to represent YOU and am ready to serve with your support.
Name 3 advantages and three disadvantages you think you have regarding this election process.
S.Rahman: Advantages: (1) I have lived and worked in five countries (in North America, Africa and Asia), and visited and given lectures in over 40 countries; (2) As an academic I have worked in industry and government, (3) I have over 35 years of volunteer experience within IEEE. Disadvantages: (1) I can read/write/speak only in two languages and speak two more; additional language proficiency could be more helpful (2) Not very good at self-promotion in meetings, (3) Cannot think of any more.
S.K.Ramesh: IEEE’s future is in the hands of our members. Their active participation in the election drives IEEE governance and its programs and services. Being aware of the issues and concerns of our members is very important to me. Although I would have preferred to engage with members face to face, we had to remain socially distant due to COVID19 and stay healthy. Instead, I hosted several virtual town halls and invited members to join the conversation to share their ideas on how we can make IEEE stronger for all of us. This is about our future. Not just this election.
R.Liu: It is difficult to reach the entire membership with statements meaningful to our very diverse audience. I fundamentally believe we are a professional society, not a political organization. Flooding the audience with “Vote for me” campaign messages can do more harm than good. We need to help members judge candidates on their records, not just on their current words. Members need to select the most qualified and experienced person to be the President to lead IEEE for a better future and set the groundwork for subsequent years. Let the candidates’ records speak for themselves. Please visit my website at: https://www.rayliu.org/.
In the article we are going to add your statement. Would you like to add something, maybe a message you’d like to share with our readers?
S.Rahman: YES, If elected president, I will address the post-COVID ‘new normal’ supporting remote working, international collaboration, continuing professional development, promote renewable energy, expedite Sustainability, and build a resilient future for the current and future IEEE members.
S.K.Ramesh: Much has changed in the past six months and more changes lie ahead. Frankly, there has never been a better time to be an IEEE member. It is not about the “Future of Engineering” but it is all about “Engineering the Future” through the contributions of our members. An IEEE that is “Inclusive, Collaborative, Accountable, Resilient and Ethical”. Simply put, “I – CARE”. Let us work together and show the world how IEEE innovates in the face of adversity with “Resilience, Accountability, Collaboration, and Ethics”. With a sense of urgency and purpose as in “I- RACE”! Thanks for your support!
R.Liu: I am a doer, not a talker. My past 35 years of accomplishments as a researcher/educator/entrepreneur speak to itself. I always deliver what I promise to do, and beyond the call of duty. Establishment of a Membership Board at Signal Processing Society, development of five IEEE journals, driving financial transparency at IEEE to demand accountability, creation of IEEE DataPort as a new benefit to serve members, and leading development of the IEEE App to offer persistent availability and value, all demonstrate that I have been a faithful servant to our members to advance technology for the benefit of humanity!
Balloting for the 2020 IEEE Annual Election has now begun. Please take the time to vote and play a part in choosing the future leadership of IEEE. Access Ballot and Vote Today https://www.ieee.org/about/corporate/election/index.html