Minutes of the December 18, 2001 SGB EC Conference Call

1) Review status of current action items -

No action items were completed since the last conference call.

2) Operating Rules Change -

Niederman did not participate in the call. This item will be placed on the January agenda.

3) SIGs Requesting a Postponement of Program Review -

Baglio reported that there were 3 requests for viability postponements. They were from the Chairs of SIGCAS, SIGCOMM and SIGCHI. The original requests were provided as back-up.

SIGCAS requested postponement for the following reasons:

  • The entire SIGCAS leadership (Chair, Vice-Chair, and Secretary- Treasurer) are new to these positions as of July 2001. They would be essentially reviewing the work done by previous officers rather than the present ones.
  • SIGCAS is one of the SIGs directly affected by the work of the SGB Allocation Effect Task Force. Anything that is prepared for the review could easily become outdated or irrelevant as a result of Task Force recommendations.
  • They are currently taking several initiatives (including developing a proposal for an online publication and conducting a comprehensive membership survey) which are important to their future but unlikely to be complete enough to present to the SGB EC in February.
  • They are NOT in trouble this fiscal year. Our end of year fund balance will be well above the minimum required, and our publication remains on time for the eighth consecutive year.

The SGB EC was concerned about this request. As newly elected officials the program review could be very valuable to them. Its a great learning experience. Many of the EC members are new when their viability comes up. They should look at this as a resource to help them get started with their new initiatives. They can review what SIGCAS has been and outline their plans for the future. It would be better if this review could be done now. The SIG is a work in progress and the dialogue with other Chairs will help them it's a perfect time. The SGB EC encourages the leadership of SIGCAS to give their viability review.

Action: Klein to contact Tom Jewett of SIGCAS and encourage him to give a viability review in February.

SIGCOMM requested postponement for the following reasons:

The SIG treasurer is trying to make the February meeting to represent SIGCOMM, but it isn't clear he's going to be able to, and adding the additional day to do the review before the SGB EC meeting only makes the calendar problem worse. They requests a postponement with the promise of doing a bang-up job at the next meeting.

SIGCHI requested postponement for the following reasons:

  • The SIGCHI Chair unfortunately has a conflict all day in Seattle on Friday. He was planning to take a red-eye to Atlanta for the Saturday meeting already, and there's no way he can make it out any earlier for the SGB EC meeting. As a result, postponement was requested.

The SGB EC would appreciate it if every effort could be made to have a SIG representative perform their reviews on time. The Chair does not have to do the review. It could actually be useful for volunteer development if a member of the EC other than the Chair did the review. Recognizing that the SGB EC has granted postponement in the past due to a Chairs inability to be present at the meeting they granted SIGCOMM and SIGCHI postponement. The SGB EC will consider making SIGs ineligible for postponement due to a Chair being unable to travel to the meeting on time. Should they decide this, it will be made clear during the February meeting in order to give the SGB adequate time to prepare for the future.

Action: Baglio to inform SIGCOMM and SIGCHI leadership that their requests for viability review postponement were granted.

4) SIGGROUP Program Plan -

Feldman reminded the SGB EC that SIGGROUP was placed in transition during the August'01 SGB meeting. Although they had some potential candidates, SIGGROUP was unable to put together a full slate of officers for the Spring election. There was also some concern about the lateness of the newsletter over the last 2 years. The SGB indicated concern about volunteer development based on the number of people that responded negatively to running for office. Hayne suggested that the best solution was to go through the act of defining the direction of the SIG more thoroughly before proceeding with a decision on viability. He suggested that the SGB place SIGGROUP in transition and agreed to work with the individuals that were willing to run for office on a program plan and have that in place for review by the SGB EC by November. This would enable the SGB EC to make a recommendation on viability at the next SGB meeting.

Hayne submitted the following plan to Alain Chesnais in November:

Dear Alain;

As you know, SIGGROUP was placed in transition for missing the deadline to hold our election due to not having a complete candidate slate.

Prior to (and during) the GROUP'01 conference, at least 5 more people volunteered to hold positions within SIGGROUP's executive. Since we only needed 1 more person to run for Secretary/Treasurer, we now have a full slate. Irene Frawley is holding their bios, etc., until the appropriate time. Our newsletter is back on track and as Wolfgang Prinz steps down from Vice-Chair (two new volunteers are on the slate), he will be able to spend more time on keeping the Bulletin up to date. As well, he is grooming a new Editor from his two Assistant Editors. Most of the current executive and all the new volunteers met for several hours during the GROUP'01 conference.

Our meeting there produced significant discussions on directions SIGGROUP can take to provide value to members (see attached document). The proposed plan is simple - SIGGROUP would like to hold an election so that new volunteers with ideas and energy can start to be more deeply involved. Once the new executive is in place, we can start acting on behalf of our members.

Dr. Stephen C. Hayne, Associate Professor, CIS, Colorado State University

The SGB EC is concerned about volunteer development. Although they are happy to see the progress that's been made they would like further information on programs and the volunteer development approach that SIGGROUP intends to take in the future. Baglio reported that Frawley is not holding bio information. All election activities will work through the ACM Office of Policy and Administration. They do not have bio information and wil not request it until the SGB EC approves an election for this SIG.

Action: Feldman to contact Hayne and request that SIGGROUP provide further information on programs and volunteer development in order for the SGB EC to make a recommendation on viability during the SGB meeting in February.

5) SIGS in Transition discussion -

There are currently 3 SIGs in transition. SIGAPL and SIGWEB were placed in transition as a result of late publications. They continue to be behind in this area. Baglio will forward history information to the SGB EC for further consideration.

SIGAPP is in transition as a result of their lack of volunteer development and their poor election return. The SIG sponsors a conference each year and issues 2 newsletters. The SGB EC has requested copies of the newsletter and detailed history information.

Action: Baglio to send viability history information on SIGAPL, SIGAPP and SIGWEB to the members of the SGB EC.

Action: Baglio to send copies of the SIGAPP newsletter to the members of the SGB EC for review.

6) Publications Update -

Cohoon reported that ACM is currently in negotiation with Kluwer for a new journal on bioinformatics. During the recent council meeting the Publications Board was asked to be more aggressive in establishing publications and looking at current ones. The Publications Board is currently reviewing a proposal for Outlook likely to be the prime new force in the publications area and a redesign for CACM. ACM will likely do surveying with regard to CACM. There has been some discussion that if ACM proceeds with Outlook, members will have a choice of publications as part of their benefit package.

7) Other business

Berenbaum suggested the SGB EC may want to have the leaders of SIGSIM and SIGSAC or SIGMICRO provide a summary of their activities and the benefits they've seen since changing their status to conference SIGs. So many of the SIGs are focusing on only conferences yet there seems to be a stigma associated with the status. The leaders need to understand that it's not a hierarchy it merely allows the special interest group to focus on conferences.

Action: Baglio will work with Haramundanis and Chesnais to place summary from one of the conference SIGs on the February agenda if time permits.

Baglio reported that she'd discussed having a meeting of the large SIG Chairs. A best practices session that focused exclusively on their activities. Bob Walker of SIGDA suggested that it be scheduled for Friday, February 22nd in Atlanta. He later called her and indicated that he could not make a meeting on that date.



  • Donna Baglio
  • Alan Berenbaum
  • Alain Chesnais
  • Jim Cohoon
  • Stu Feldman
  • Kathy Haramundanis
  • Bruce Klein
  • Mark Scott Johnson
  • Mary Lou Soffa
  • Rob Corless
  • Carla Ellis
  • Fred Niederman