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Structure and Function of a Typical SIG

Structure and Function of a Typical SIG
  1. SIG Officers
  2. SIG Executive Committee Members
  3. General Responsibilities of SIG Leaders
  4. Specific Roles and Responsibilities
      1. SIG Chair (or SIG President)
      2. SIG Vice Chair (or SIG Vice President)
      3. SIG Secretary
      4. SIG Treasurer
      5. SIG Secretary/Treasurer
      6. SIG Past Chair
      7. Responsibilities of SIG Executive Committee Members as a Whole
  5. Additional SIG Leadership Positions
      1. SIG Conferences Approver
      2. SIG Newsletter Editor
      3. SIG Website Administrator
      4. SIG Information Director
      5. SIG Wiki Manager
      6. SIG Project Leaders
  6. Functioning and Making Decisions as an Executive Committee (or Executive Board)
  7. Activities of SIG Leaders During the Year
  8. SIG Committees
      1. Advisory Board
      2. Awards Committees
      3. Conference Steering Committees
      4. Membership Committee
      5. SIG Editorial Board
  9. Communications with SIG Members
      1. Newsletter
      2. ListServ
      3. Webpage
      4. SIG Wiki
  10. Annual Report
  11. Program Reviews (AKA Viabilities)
  12. SIG Services Staff
What is a SIG?

A SIG is a Special Interest Group whose members are focused professionally in a specific area of computer science.  Some SIGs have been around thirty or forty years retaining pretty much the same focus.  Others have changed focus (and names) as the areas of specialization within computer science have changed.  Some SIGs have been folded into other related SIGs.  New SIGs are established as groups of people see the usefulness of supporting a SIG in a new area of research or practice.

While there really is no "typical SIG," SIGs share more characteristics, structures, member benefits, and problems than not.  This section covers general information for SIG leaders about the roles of SIG leaders and the functions of a SIG.

SIG structures vary with number of SIG members, focus, area of specialization, and history.  So, while not every SIG will have every function and structure described in this section, most SIGs will have many of them.


A. SIG Officers

SIG officers are (usually) the SIG Chair or SIG President, the SIG Vice Chair(s) or Vice President(s), the SIG Treasurer and the SIG Secretary.  (The last two may be combined as the SIG Secretary/Treasurer.)

SIG officers are elected by the membership at large in elections held every few years.  Those elected to positions of SIG leadership as SIG Chair (or SIG President), SIG Vice Chair (or SIG Vice President), SIG Treasurer and SIG Secretary are often referred to as SIG officers.  Length of terms as SIG officers varies with the SIG, although for many years two-year terms were the norm with an option of a two-year extension.  Interest in making the terms three-years (or longer) was rooted in the experience of SIG leaders that it took a year or so to feel knowledgeable and comfortable in SIG leadership positions, but by then their term was coming to an end.

The SIG Executive Committee (or Executive Board) usually contains the SIG officers, any at-large members elected by SIG members, the Past Chair and appointed SIG leaders whose responsibilities are SIG-wide (such as the Newsletter Editor or Information Director).  The composition of the Executive Committee varies with the SIG.  The Executive Committee serves to provide additional viewpoints as issues facing the SIG are discussed.  Generally speaking, those holding positions elected by the SIG membership vote in the SIG Executive Committee.


B. SIG Executive Committee Members

Many SIGs have additional voices on their Executive Committee beyond their officers, sometimes elected by the SIG at large, sometimes included in discussions to be sure a segment of the community is represented, and sometimes on the SIG Executive Committee by reason of their function in the community (for example, Newsletter Editor or Information Director).

The immediate Past SIG Chair or Past SIG President is normally included as a member of the Executive Committee.  The Past Chair provides continuity and history in discussions of SIG focus and activities.

The Executive Committee normally assists in setting the SIG's policies and the direction and focus of its activities.  The individual members of the Executive Committee often have specific responsibilities within the SIG structure that they report on to the Executive Committee at its meetings.

The Executive Committee (sometimes called Executive Board) makes decisions on behalf of the SIG, including the benefits SIG members will receive, the level of the fees for the SIG, policies for the conferences sponsored by the SIG and that are in-cooperation with the SIG, what awards are given by the SIG and participates in the decision of the winners of SIG awards, what programs and projects that the SIG participates in or underwrites, communication with the SIG membership, etc.  The Executive Committee also provides oversight of the SIG newsletter, the SIG website, and uses of the SIG email lists.

Continuity and tradition within each SIG are important in maintaining a consistent level of benefits and programs.  When new officers and a new executive committee are elected, they inherit a rich history of SIG activities, including conferences, awards, newsletters, travel grants, etc.


C. General Responsibilities of SIG Leaders
(This list was rewritten and adapted from material compiled by Mark Scott Johnson and David Wise, both longtime leaders within SIG, SGB, and ACM arenas.)
The general expectations for SIG officers include:
      1. promoting technical excellence, through
          • taking an active role in the technical community as individuals,
          • providing high-quality technical resources and programs (conferences, newsletters, etc.) within scope of SIG's mission statement and
          • promoting communication and interaction between the SIG and others in the technical community, both within ACM (chapters, other SIGs) and outside.
      2. providing benefits to SIG members, including
          • overseeing conferences, symposia and workshops, both for technical quality and fiscal soundness,
          • delivering quality newsletters, online or in print, in a timely way,
          • identifying additional benefits for members within the scope and financial resources of the SIG and
          • promoting and publicizing SIG achievements within the SIG membership, thereby keeping information flowing to the SIG membership about SIG accomplishments and activities. (A side benefit of this activity is increased awareness of the value of SIG membership, and hence improved retention.)
      3. encouraging active volunteers as part of leadership development by
          • setting an example for strong leadership through maintaining a professional atmosphere within the SIG, using measurable standards and setting realistic goals for projects and programs, and working to maintain open communication between the SIG members and leaders,
          • identifying potential candidates for the myriad of positions within the SIG (from maintaining the website to serving as conference program chair), and striving to bring new volunteers into the SIG structure,
          • recognizing the contributions of volunteers to the ongoing health and vitality of the SIG and
          • understanding the "big picture" in which the SIG operates.  The SIG Chair (or designee) provides representation at SIG Governing Board (SGB) meetings twice a year, and in turn keeps SIG leadership informed on current activities and priorities within ACM.
      4. administering the programs and activities of the SIG by
                      • fulfilling the duties of the SIG Officers and members of the Executive Committee as outlined in the SIG Bylaws and the SIG Operating Rules,
                      • becoming familiar with all SIG policies and procedures,
                      • becoming familiar with resources provided by other ACM volunteers (particularly through the SGB) and services provided by ACM staff (especially through SIG Services) and
                      • understanding that there is a hierarchical mechanism in place to deal with issues that may arise: SIG Executive Committee, SGB Executive Committee, SGB, and if need be, the ACM Executive Committee and ACM Council.


          D. Specific Roles and Responsibilities of Executive Committee Members
                          1. SIG Chair (or SIG President) - The Chair's major responsibility is to see that initiatives of the SIG are well managed, and that the SIG's commitments are met.  This position relies heavily on involving other SIG leaders, both elected and appointed, to handle a variety of responsibilities.
                                • Specific duties include:
                                      • calling and presiding over SIG Executive Committee meetings and SIG business meetings,
                                      • making volunteer appointments and filling vacancies as authorized in the SIG bylaws or operating rules,
                                      • representing the SIG at ACM SGB meetings and providing reports and information about the SIG to the SGB, including the Annual Report and SIG,
                                      • representing the SIG at the SIG Viability Review (normally every four years), as well as reviewing member benefits annually and
                                      • reviewing and approving conferences, SIG budgets, travel authorizations, invoice payments, etc.  Many of these tasks are delegated to other SIG officers on routine matters.
                          2. SIG Vice Chair (or SIG Vice President) - The principal role of the Vice Chair is to substitute for the Chair if the need arises.  The Vice Chair is normally included in all major discussions of the SIG's long-term goals.  In many SIGs, the Vice Chair is responsible for overseeing conference activity, which generally includes approving conference budgets (TMRFs), pointing conference leaders to resources as questions arise, receiving requests for in-cooperation status and working with conference steering committees (as needed).  The Vice Chair may take on other responsibilities such as chairing the award-selection process, identifying outstanding contributions made by current volunteers or identifying opportunities for volunteer involvement in SIG activities.
                                • Specific duties include:
                                      • assisting the Chair in leading and managing the SIG and
                                      • presiding at meetings when the Chair is absent.
                            1. SIG Secretary - The SIG Secretary serves as the focal point of communication and organization for the SIG Executive Committee through maintaining minutes of Executive Committee discussions.  The SIG Secretary traditionally also handles official SIG correspondence.  In some SIGs, the SIG Secretary may also be the primary channel between volunteer leadership and SIG membership.  This responsibility may include getting feedback as needed from the membership.  The Secretary may also be the point person for inquiries of a technical nature.  Some SIGs include more specific membership efforts (such as sending out welcome letters to new members, sending surveys to lapsed members, etc.) under the Secretary's duties.
                                    • Specific duties include:
                                          • maintaining SIG records and correspondence,
                                          • keeping and distributing minutes of SIG business and Executive Committee meetings and
                                          • holding the official copy of SIG bylaws and other SIG guidelines.
                            2. SIG Treasurer - The SIG Treasurer has responsibility for overseeing SIG finances.  Working with staff from the ACM Finance Office, the SIG Treasurer prepares the annual SIG budget.  The SIG treasurer is able to monitor SIG finances through the FMRs, the Financial Management Reports, which are updated monthly (more information is available in the Budget and Finance Section).  Generally speaking, the SIG Treasurer or SIG Chair approves SIG expenditures, unless this responsibility is delegated for a specific activity or program.
                                      • Specific duties include:
                                            • establishing SIG budget for each fiscal year and routinely monitoring income and expenditure reports during the year, as well as
                                            • providing advice and guidance to other SIG leaders in managing SIG finances, and consulting with others in the SIG on budget needs for the coming year.
                            3. SIG Secretary/Treasurer - A number of SIGs have one position as Secretary/Treasurer, rather than have separate officers.
                                  • Specific duties include:
                                        • maintaining SIG records and correspondence,
                                        • keeping and distributing minutes of SIG business and Executive Committee meetings,
                                        • holding the official copy of SIG bylaws and other SIG guidelines,
                                        • establishing SIG budget for each fiscal year and routinely monitoring income and expenditure reports during the year, as well as
                                        • providing advice and guidance to other SIG leaders in managing SIG finances, and consulting with others in the SIG on budget needs for the coming year.
                            4. Past SIG Chair (or Past SIG President) - In many SIGs, the Past Chair is a member of the Executive Committee, with or without a vote.  A Past Chair is a valuable resource, bringing an institutional memory to discussions of past participation in various activities to past decisions made by the Executive Committee to alternatives considered in the past and by pointing to related past decisions that may have bearing on current topics under consideration.
                            5. Responsibilities of SIG Executive Committee Members as a Whole - SIG officers are members of the SIG Executive Committee.  Some SIGs elect additional members to their Executive Committee (or Executive Board).  Other SIGs elect some members and appoint others by reason of their responsibilities within the SIG.  Whether or not all members of the Executive Committee can vote on an issue also varies by the SIG, depending on bylaws and operating rules.  Most issues are decided by consensus.  No matter what the composition, the Executive Committee functions to provide a variety of voices and viewpoints in discussions of SIG focus, programs, conferences and activities.
                                  • Specific responsibilities of the SIG Executive Committee include:
                                              • participating in the leadership of the SIG, through attendance at meetings of the Executive Committee as called by the chair, email discussions of the Executive Committee, listening for SIG-wide concerns while attending SIG-sponsored conferences or events and channeling those concerns to the appropriate individual or back to the Executive Committee itself and Representing the SIG Chair at events as requested,
                                                • undertaking specific commitments and responsibilities on behalf of the SIG as a whole (administering a student travel grant program, serving on awards committees, serving as liaison to other societies with related fields of interest, etc.) and
                                                • volunteering for additional activities as available and appropriate.

                                      E. Additional SIG Leadership Positions - There are a number of other positions that are important to the ongoing life of a SIG.  Some SIGs invite people holding these positions to participate in their Executive Committee meetings, but in any case, these individuals are normally kept in the loop about activities occurring with SIG support and sponsorship.
                                      1. Conferences Approver - Usually the SIG Chair or the SIG Vice Chair functions as Conference Approver.  This person reviews the plans for SIG-sponsored conferences on behalf of the SIG, and signs off on them.  The same person usually reviews requests for in-cooperation as well. The first step in the conference approval process is to have a Preliminary Approval Form on file. Organizers should submit the PAF 12-18 months prior to the conference start date. The PAF is only valid for annual sponsored meetings that have received prior approval from ACM.

                                        For the current status of Conference PAFs and Hotel Contracts, please refer to the PAF Resource Guide.

                                      2. Newsletter Editor - The primary responsibility of the SIG Newsletter Editor is to oversee newsletter content and publication.  Newsletter content and procedures vary between SIGs, with some newsletters being peer reviewed, while others accept articles on the basis of interest to the constituency.  Specific duties include:
                                              • developing resources for editorial and production support,
                                              • soliciting materials for the newsletter (in line with the criteria for acceptance), interfacing with authors, conference leaders, SIG leaders and others on appropriateness of materials for newsletter, timelines, etc.,
                                              • establishing a timeline for newsletter production with ACM Headquarters and providing electronic copy on schedule,
                                              • being aware of copyright and permissions issues, including ACM's Plagiarism Policy, to avoid inappropriate use of materials,
                                              • coordinating the communication of information via the SIG newsletter with both SIG officers and ACM Headquarters and
                                              • seeking readership feedback on current policies and future direction of the newsletter.
                                      3. Website Administrator - The website of the SIG is the primary public face of the SIG and the role of the Website Administrator is key in representing the SIG to the general public.  Information should be accurate and current, well-organized, and the site easy to navigate.  Specific duties include:
                                              • overall organization of the website and realizing that the site serves many different needs from an outsider seeking information on the focus of the SIG to longtime members needing specific information on upcoming conferences and 
                                              • routine and timely updating of the website, especially awards information, conference listings and contact information for SIG leaders.
                                      4. Information Director - SIGs normally have an Information Director (frequently the Website Administrator) who manages the information that can be sent out to SIG members via the SIG Listserv.  While SIG members do not want their Inboxes clogged with messages from SIG leaders, they generally appreciate communication with links to upcoming conferences, reminders of paper deadlines or early conference registration, changes in SIG membership benefits, etc.  Some SIGs provide additional, opt-in, moderated lists for interchanges of interest on particular subjects.
                                      5. Wiki Manager - Increasingly, SIGs are seeing the value of having Wikis to provide support for SIG leadership.  A Wiki provides a web-based location to store information that can be password-protected.  So far, Wikis are being used to store SIG Executive Committee minutes and backup documentation, information and advice for conference leaders, etc.
                                      6. Other Project Leaders - Some SIGs have special project leaders who also participate in SIG Executive Committee meetings.  Some members of SIG Executive Committees assume responsibility for specific SIG activities or projects.


                                      F. Functioning and Making Decisions as a SIG Executive Committee

                                      The SIG Chair presides over a complex system of activities and responsibilities and needs a supportive team in the members of the SIG Executive Committee (or SIG Executive Board) and other SIG leaders.  Most of the time, and on many issues, SIG Executive Committees meet by email, often coming to a consensus on the issue under discussion.  One opportunity for SIG leadership to meet face-to-face (either the SIG Executive Committee or a wider group) is to have a meal together or a brief meeting at the SIG's flagship conference, on the assumption that many Executive Committee members routinely attend.  Some SIG Executive Committees also meet for a day or more for discussions of issues facing the SIG.

                                      Some SIG Executive Committees use a system of formal motions and actions in conducting SIG business.  A larger Executive Committee, for example, may find this approach helpful, especially when discussing complex issues.  Most often, a more informal style prevails, although care must be taken to keep the discussion both on track and productive.  Discussion of an issue should always end with a restatement of the decision or direction decided upon, which is recorded in the meeting action items or minutes.  Formal minutes (or a less-formal list of actions) taken at Executive Committee meetings are an important ingredient of running a SIG, as they track discussions held and decisions made.  They also note assignments that individuals have agreed to pursue.  An increasingly popular form of meeting record is the list of action items, listing the responsibilities and assignments each individual has agreed to undertake on behalf of the SIG.  Prompt dissemination of the action items or minutes is important for smooth functioning of the SIG.

                                      It goes without saying that professional courtesy and respect are the guiding principles in discussions within all ACM forums.  Inevitably, SIG leadership will be involved in discussions where differing positions inspire strongly held opinions.  It is part of the leadership role to be sure that the various viewpoints are explained and considered before making any decisions.



                                      G. Activities Throughout a Typical Year

                                      SIGs and all of ACM generally work on an academic year timeline.  The fiscal year (FY) begins on July 1 and ends on June 30 of the following year.  SIG officers are elected to take office on July 1 for their two-, three- or four-year terms.  Usually, the appointed SIG leaders (for example, Newsletter Editor, regional liaison, etc.) also follow that same cycle.  (Some SIGs specify that the incoming SIG Chair will replace the appointed positions within six months of taking office.)  The administrative responsibilities of each SIG also follow the flow of the fiscal year:

                                      • July - September
                                            1. Previous year income and expenditures are finalized and made available
                                            2. SGB meeting (with SIG Orientation if appropriate)
                                            3. Chair of nominating committee is named (if elections are to be held the next spring)
                                      • October - December
                                              1. Membership benefits for next fiscal year are submitted
                                              2. All SIGs extending terms of office notify SGB (if terms expire following June 30 and extension is permitted)
                                              3. Candidate slates are due (if elections are to be held the next spring)
                                        • January - March
                                              1. Review year-to-date income and expenses when December figures are available, checking that budget is realistic
                                              2. Begin budget process for next FY: programs confirmed, new initiatives examined, rates confirmed, draft budget proposed by Finance, finalized by SIG leaders, submitted to SG
                                              3. SIG members notification is made if SIG officers have requested extension
                                              4. Candidate slates are published in CACM (for those SIGs holding elections) and SIG members are notified of candidate slates by mail; additional candidates may be added to ballot by petition
                                              5. SGB meeting
                                              6. Proposals for new awards submitted to ACM Awards Committee
                                        • April - June
                                              1. ACM Annual Awards Dinner
                                              2. Balloting for SIG elections, with winners announced


                                        H. SIG Committees

                                        While a SIG Executive Committee or Executive Board oversees the totality of the SIG activities, there are often a number of other committees that function with regard to specific areas of activity under the SIG.  Some of these committees are subcommittees of the Executive Committee, while others are constituted for particular advisory functions or specific tasks.

                                        The following are common SIG committees:

                                        1. Advisory Boards - Generally composed of former leaders of the SIG and/or prominent leaders in the field, an Advisory Board is consulted occasionally on various issues such as long-term trends or major changes in the direction of SIG activity.  The Advisory Board is often chaired by the SIG Past Chair or SIG Past President.  Communication usually works by email or members may meet at the SIG's flagship conference.
                                        2. Awards Committees - Often a small committee, Awards Committees oversee the selection of winners for SIG awards.  One committee can work on all of the SIG's awards or separate committees may be appointed for each award.  Most often, Awards Committees function by email and occasionally by conference call.  Usually a set of procedures is in place for SIG members or others to nominate individuals for the most important SIG awards.  Occasionally, the number of nominees will be below usual and members of the Awards Committee may need to solicit nominations for appropriate honorees.  When the award is for best paper or most influential paper from a prior conference, leaders from the conference are often included in the Award Committee.  As a general rule, an Awards Committee does not nominate one of its own members for any award.  Similarly, the SIG Chair should be alert to any possible conflict of interest as any Award Committee is established.
                                        3. Conference Steering Committees are set up to monitor and oversee the general health and direction of the conference.  Their specific tasks include proposing individuals to serve as General Chair and Program Chair, reviewing the composition of the Program Committee and approving the Call for Papers.  The locations for the conference are also considered, especially the expense and convenience for attendees and whether the location will add to the attractiveness of the event.  Often the Conference Steering Committee is composed of leadership from prior conferences plus representatives from the SIG Executive Committee or Executive Board.  Most discussions are done by email, often with a face-to-face meeting at the conference.  Conference Steering Committees report to the sponsoring SIG's EC.
                                        4. Membership Committee focuses on assisting members and potential members if they have questions about the SIG or its policies.  Some Membership Committees arrange to receive lists of new members to contact them and welcome them to the SIG.  (This message can be sent automatically as well.)  Some membership committees also contact non-renewing members to track reasons members leave.
                                        5. SIG Editorial Board oversees the newsletter or other publication of the SIG.  Composition of the Editorial Board varies with the nature of the SIG publication.  Usually an Editorial Board works by email, and some have meetings at the SIG flagship conference.  Some SIG publications have a number of associate editors, who may or may not form a formal Editorial Board.  The associate editors are often appointed to bring different areas of technical expertise to content decisions for the publication.  Other associate or assistant editors may be appointed to provide special services to SIG members; for example, listing of conferences in appropriate areas of technical expertise, postings of recent doctoral dissertations, job postings, coordination of interviews of founders of the field, etc.


                                        I. Communications with SIG Members

                                        One goal of SIG leadership is to keep the SIG members informed and aware of different SIG activities.  There are a number of ways to do this.

                                        1. Newsletter - Most frequently, the SIG newsletter (or other SIG publication) is used to convey information about SIG activities, as well as articles of interest to the SIG community.  However, many SIGs are moving from print to use of electronic notifications, especially for Calls for Papers, early conference registration deadlines, award nominations and other items with specific deadlines.
                                        2. ListServ - Many SIGs make use of the ListServ capability at ACM to send information to all SIG members, in particular about upcoming SIG sponsored or co-sponsored conferences.

                                          There are a number of options that SIGs use to keep the emails to their members at a moderate (non-irritating) level:

                                                • Some SIGs do a monthly message, containing links to detailed information for each item (such as Calls for Papers, registration for upcoming conferences, nominations for awards).
                                                • Some SIGs only do messages on an as-needed basis, usually limiting the number of messages sent for each conference (Call for Papers issued, registration open and end of early registration are among frequent uses).

                                                • A few SIGs have policies to not use mass mailings to their SIGs at all, considering these to be intrusive and that there are relevant message boards with information for those interested.  The frequency of messages on the ListServ is usually determined by the SIG Executive Committee or SIG Executive Board.

                                                • Some SIGs also offer options to their members in terms of electronic communications.  These options may range from discussion groups (moderate to high traffic) to simply notification of relevant SIG deadlines and activities (light traffic).

                                                • Discussions on lists are often moderated by the SIG's Information Director or a designated SIG leader, which means the contents are reviewed prior to being posted.  Review is normally to remove spam, to enforce any formatting instructions for widest readership, to enforce rules on appropriate content, etc.

                                                • A ListServ can be set up to automatically add new members of the SIG as they join.  Usually the SIG Information Director maintains the ListServ functions for the SIG.

                                        3. Webpage - ACM hosts homepages for all SIGs.  Usually these are maintained by the SIG Information Director, although some SIGs spread the workload of webpage and ListServ to several volunteers.  The SIG webpage is the face of the SIG to the general public, and it is a very important source of information about the SIG and its programs, especially sponsored conferences and awards.  The information on the SIG webpage should be current.  An attractive and easy-to-navigate webpage is best.  Webpages need to serve both current SIG members and those who may be interested in joining or simply learning more about the SIG.  A general description of the SIG (or quoting the SIG mission statement) is normally found on the main webpage to provide general information about the SIG and its area of interest.  SIG sponsored and co-sponsored conferences should be easy to find and link to/from the SIG homepage and the links should be updated to the conference webpages as needed.  The list of SIG leadership should be easy to locate, with contact information available.  SIG leaders frequently use their forwarding email address at ACM.org (a benefit of ACM membership) or their mail forwarding accounts (for example, chair_sigXXX@acm.org) to reduce the spam generated by openly posting their address on the web.  Details of SIG membership should be available through the webpage or linked to it, both for prospective and current members.  The SIG webpages should have information about the awards the SIG gives out, usually including a list of past winners (and the citation), as well as the process for nomination for the awards.  Links to opportunities for students, such as doctoral symposium or travel assistance to conferences, should be easily found on the SIG homepage.

                                        4. SIG Wiki - ACM also has the ability to support Wikis for SIGs.  Currently, SIGs are using Wikis to provide a password-protected electronic site to support the work of the SIG Executive Committee, through posting of agendas, reference materials, minutes, etc.  Conferences are also finding Wikis a useful way to post information about a conference to share with future conference leaders.  Contents may include timelines, unexpected challenges that arose in preparing for the conference, conference events that were well received or not as popular as anticipated or details related to budgeting for the conference.


                                        Contact your SIG liaison for additional information.



                                        J. Annual Report

                                        SIG activity follows the fiscal year at ACM, which is July 1 to the following June 30.  (For example, FY 08 is July 1, 2007 through June 30, 2008.)  The annual report covers activity in that same time period.

                                        Every year, the SIG submits an annual report of its activities for the year just past.  The usual period for making this report is July, with the report covering activities in July through June of the preceding fiscal year.  This report is the responsibility of the SIG Chair or President, and is submitted to the Director of SIG Services.  The Director will extract pieces of each report to generate the SGB annual report.

                                        The annual report covers the highlights of SIG activity, including SIG-sponsored conferences, winners of SIG awards, reports on SIG special projects and initiatives, as well as new services provided to the technical community.

                                        The SIG annual reports become part of the SGB report to ACM Council.  The final ACM report is available to all members of ACM through publication in Communications of the ACM.

                                        The Annual Reports of the SGB and the SIGs are available online. The reports for the past few years are available through the links below.



                                        K. SIG Program Reviews (AKA Viabilities)

                                        Each SIG is reviewed every four years, unless there is a special reason for earlier review.  The purpose of the review is to show that the SIG is viable.  Hence, the program review is often referred to as "SIG viability."

                                        The viability is established by seeing that a SIG has a number of characteristics, such as:

                                              • growing or stable membership,
                                              • solid finances,
                                              • healthy conferences and programs and
                                              • publications and other member benefits delivered and received well by members.

                                        Written Program Review Report - In preparation for a Program Review, the Program Liaison prepares updated statistical information about the SIG's membership, officers, conferences (location, attendance, submitted/acceptance statistics and financial outcome), publications, year end finances, awards, attendance at SGB meetings, viability history and submission of annual reports.  Usually this material is sent to the SIG Chair for review and use in preparing for the Program Review, prior to being distributed to the SGB Executive Committee and the SGB itself.

                                        Presentation to The SIG Governing Board [SGB] - You will be asked to present a 10-minute overview of your SIG.   Please limit your presentation to 5 slides only.   The members of the SGB will have backup material that provides information about membership numbers, past conferences (paper submissions and financials), as well as SIG officers and your SIG newsletter (if you have one).   We do not need this information repeated in your slides.

                                        For the slides, we are interested in how you define the goals of your SIG and how well your SIG is meeting these goals and member benefit obligations.   One slide should address your finances and how you are addressing financial goals.   A second slide should address your member benefits and how well you are meeting those benefits.

                                        The other three slides relate to your individual SIG goals.   Consider in your slides the important member and community benefits of your SIG, as well as the “reach” of the SIG.   The reach of your SIG may be far larger than the number of members.   As one clear example of reach, sponsored conferences reach members of the larger community, not only your SIG members.

                                        Some examples of possible SIG goals are:

                                              • A portfolio of successful conferences
                                              • Outreach / education / advocacy
                                              • Membership growth, which could include alternatives to membership such as Chapter members, Affiliates, Communities, Technical Committees, Member Lite options, and electronic communities, mailing list subscribers, affinity groups
                                              • Digital Library downloads of your SIG materials
                                              • Development activities for students
                                              • Newsletters and other community building activities

                                        These examples are only some possibilities.   Consider what your SIG is doing that serves members as well as the extended community.

                                        We suggest that you discuss your SIG goals among your officers and members and have a discussion with your SIG Advisor. Please submit your final slides to ACM (Donna Cappo) two weeks prior to the SGB meeting so that the SGB EC will have time to review them.

                                        SIG Program Reviews give other SIG leaders an opportunity to learn about the activities of the SIG being reviewed.  The Program Review may also lead to sharing ideas and information around a concern common to several SIGs.  There is no need to repeat the detailed statistical information in the slides, since it is included as SGB back-up sent from headquarters.

                                        SIG Governing Board Executive Committee Review - The SGB Executive Committee reviews the slides prepared by the SIG Chair prior to the SGB meeting.  The SGB EC then prepares a preliminary recommendation for the SGB based on the information provided in the slides and the detailed statistical information prepared by the Program Liaison.

                                        Program Review Schedule




                                        L. SIG Services Staff

                                        ACM is a volunteer-driven organization, with support provided by a small administrative staff under the leadership of Donna Cappo, Director.

                                        The staff works functionally, and each staff person specializes in tasks related to specific SIG functions.  The staff's mission is to serve as matchmakers between ACM and SIG resources and endeavors, to provide information needed by the volunteer leadership, to be the first point of contact between the SIG volunteers and ACM and to increase productivity and efficiency.

                                        More specific information about staff responsibilities, as well as a current list of staff and the contact information, can be found on the Office of SIG Services page.

                                        Last Update: January 2010 by Lauren Thompson