About

This site is not IEEE sanctioned it provides a forum for open discussion, created to be consistent with the IEEE Electioneering rules and to allow for criticism of the proposed amendment.

The official proposed amendment is located here – This includes a “mapping” with the Board’s rationale for each change
The Institute site provides an IEEE forum here
The FAQ/rationale and limitations on Board member discussion is here.
A FAQ that includes both Pro and Con: IEEE Constitutional Amendment FAQ rev 6

This Web Site was created in May 2015 by Jim Isaak*, with input from a community of senior IEEE leaders concerned with the problems created by the proposed 2015 Amendment to the IEEE Constitution.  We feel it is critical for IEEE members to reject this amendment with it’s many aspects.

We support the process of improving the governance of IEEE.  But the “right way” to proceed is to:

  1. Develop a governance model
  2. Socialize this with members, volunteers
  3. Propose the changes to the Constitution IF any are needed
    And the bylaws

Doing these things in the right order will help build trust and support among members, volunteers and IEEE leaders world wide.  The current process of significantly changing the constitution so the Board of Directors can do anything via modifications of the bylaws with little or no notice undermines trust.   Since a actual governance model has not been established, (much less one in August of 2014 when the Constitutional Amendment was approved by the Board)  the Amendment is really a blank check for this and future Boards to make any changes they may wish with no member notice or approval process.

The official information from the IEEE Board of Directors (included in the “markup” version of the Amendment) states for specific changes:

“This change would move the approval of future changes to the IEEE Board of Directors, as opposed to the members.“

”This change would allow for modifications in the future to provide some other process by which Directors may be selected without the members approval.”

We can move together to make IEEE better, rather than fan the fires of dissent and distrust.

We welcome your comments, your endorsement and above all Please vote NO on the amendment this summer — and share this insight with your IEEE colleagues.

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*2003/4 Division VIII Director, 2010 CS President, 2015 SSIT VP

One Response to About

  1. From Anthony C Davies, IEEE UK and Ireland Section, Emeritus Professor of King’s College London. I have been an active volunteer in IEEE for many years and served as a Society Vice President and as Region 8 Director and member of the Board of Directors. I am a Life Fellow.

    The proposals for amending the IEEE Constitution may look at first sight like a tidying up operation of no particular concern to the majority of members and to the status of IEEE. However, I believe that is not the case.
    They could lead to the destruction of IEEE as we know it.

    1. A substantial move of many clauses from the Constitution to the By-Laws is proposed. Changes in the Constitution require a two thirds majority, whereas changes in By-Laws can be done quickly by a small group who may be non-representative of the interests of IEEE or its membership at large, and could completely alter the characteristics of IEEE and its democratic and transnational governance. It may be said that would never actually happen, but in matters of laws and constitution, it is wiser to assume that if it can happen, sooner or later it will happen. Further, the present requirement for constitutional changes requires a 10% participation of the membership in a valid vote. Removing that rule means that even the Constitution could in future be changed by the votes of only four members, three in favour and one against (e.g. achieving the required two-thirds majority since 3/4 > 2/3).

    2. Some alterations already proposed are unwelcome. At present the Board of Directors is guaranteed to have at least one member from every Region, since every Region Director serves on the Board. Also, substantial and broad Society representation is there, because every Division Director serves on the Board. Those features are removed in the proposals which are being made. A future Board of Directors could have no member from outside the USA and no member with present or past technical expertise, and even all members from a single US state.

    3. I believe that replacing ‘transnational’ by ‘global’ is also not a good idea. It is true that the word ‘transnational’ is not very well known outside of IEEE, but it is in effect ‘defined’ by what IEEE does, and that is a perfectly good working definition. By contrast, the word ‘global’ would be linked in many people’s minds (at least outside USA) with ‘globalisation’ and negative aspects of capitalism such as the exploitation of local people and destruction of communities for the greater profits of large (usually USA-owned) companies. While it does not only mean that, the term is likely to often be interpreted in that way, which I am sure that IEEE would not want.

    The plans to make major changes in the Constitution appear to have either been done very quickly or put together with some secrecy, since I had not heard anything about them or even significant rumours about them until recently. That suggests that there has been little discussion about them among IEEE members, and no widespread debating of the advantages and disadvantages of the proposals.
    IEEE has operated very successfully since 1963, and achieved many wonderful things with its existing governance structure and rules, and making sudden changes without widespread debate is undemocratic in style as well as being a very unwise thing to do.
    Therefore if it is the case that there a wish (perhaps driven by a small non-representative minority) to make such changes as have been announced, the lack of urgency means that substantial time and opportunity should be made available for all IEEE OU’s to discuss the plans in an informed manner and to express their considered opinions. Thus the voting should be delayed beyond the 2015 elections to some more distant future date. Of course, the IEEE management should then take account of such opinions and act accordingly. The IEEE outlet-media (The Institute, for example, and also some of the other publications such as Society and Regional Newsletters, etc.) should be used to make sure that all members hear the outcome of the debates, and have the opportunities to hear the arguments for and against without any censorship or biased reporting.

    One of the good things about IEEE is its distributed as opposed to centralised management and its history of success in spreading its activities and ways of operating around the world. Geographically localised and technically localised OUs have considerable freedom to run things the way that they think best, do not have to seek approval for every action, and are given substantial freedom and control over the budgets allocated to them. The phrase ‘if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’ seems very appropriate to me. That is not an argument for “never change and do not adapt”, it is rather an argument to take time to plan properly and take all opinions into account.
    The present arrangements ensure that the Board of Directors has significant membership of people with a technical activities background (e.g. at least the ten Division Directors) and others have often got a strong IEEE Society technical background. In the proposed arrangement it appears that this would no longer be guaranteed, the Board could comprise only people with a bureaucratic, clerical and non-technical, non-engineering, non-scientific background.

    IEEE has been remarkably successful, and stands well above other similar organisations in USA and other countries. Compare IEEE with the sister engineering societies in USA: for example American Institute of Mechanical Engineers, American Institute of Civil Engineers – I think there is no comparison, their international links are actually minimal, IEEE stands head and shoulders above them, and that comes about, I believe, from the wide democratic control of IEEE over so many years, the broad participation of its members in many countries in the elections and the distributed management (related to the “powers reserved” principle).
    “Whatever is not forbidden is legal” rather than “Whatever is not stated as allowed is illegal”.
    If the proposed changes were adopted and developed in the unfavourable ways mentioned, how would the IEEE of the future differ from, for example, the Reed-Elsevier company (now renamed as REL-X)?

    The above disadvantages and risks may seem more theoretical than real. However an actual example which constitutes evidence that such changes can really happen is the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) which developed over about a decade from the Institution of Electrical Engineers (IEE) in the United Kingdom, a process which completely changed the nature of the organisation and led to a staff-driven commercially-focussed entity very different from what the IEE had been.

    Like

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