Minutes of the October 13, 2000 SGB EC Conference Call

1.0 Welcome and Introductions

The meeting began at 3:10 PM. Notkin welcomed the group and the participants introduced themselves.

2.0 Review SGB Agenda

Notkin reviewed each of the agenda items to be discussed during the SGB Meeting scheduled for the following day. Chesnais announced that Brown would join Snodgrass during the portal discussion to talk about the SIGGRAPH HUB project.

3.0 SIGBIO Discussion

It was reported that SIGBIO had a long history of going in and out of transition. The overall concern of the SGB EC was whether or not SIGBIO was providing representation for ACM in computational biology. The objective for the SGB EC was to have a discussion on this and make a recommendation to the SGB on dissolution. Ed Lamie, SIGBIO Chair and Warren Jones, SIGBIO Newsletter Editor were present.

Lamie reported that Jones had beefed up the newsletter and that 3 issues per year were being distributed on time. Lamie requested that the SGB EC give the SIGBIO EC additional time for merger discussions with another SIG. SIGBIO has had a long history with SIGAPP and it seems to be a natural fit. They've had only preliminary conversations with Gary Lamont, SIGAPP Chair. Lamie requested additional time until the next SGB meeting to formulate a proposal for merger.

The SGB EC asked Lamie to explain what merger meant. What were the expectations from the two groups? Lamie was not sure but indicated that SIGAPP seemed to be a SIG with their interests.

SGB EC members reported that the intersection of biology and computing is greater than any two sciences. There is a concern that ACM is not considered a leader in the industry and that slowly ratcheting SIGBIO up won't meet the need. SIGAPP has a broad-based computer science conference; BIO Informatics is an area crying for more than that. Lamie was asked if SIGBIO had made overtures to SIGACT to become involved in their successful annual conference on Computational Molecular Biology (RECOMB). Lamie indicated that they've tried but have not had success.

Merger vs. dissolution was discussed in length. If merged, funds of SIGBIO would go to SIGAPP. If dissolved, funds would go to SGB. Either way commitments to the membership of SIGBIO would have to be satisfied. Lamie reported that if the SIGs merged he'd need to negotiate concessions from SIGAPP such as newsletter contribution and conference track activity. The SGB EC discussed recommending dissolution and having the current EC and others bring forth a plan for merger during the time allowed for revitalization. The funds of SIGBIO could be transferred to the SGB with a request to SIGAPP that they come up with a proposal on how to serve the BIO community.

There were 2 issues: SIGBIO has a decade long history of not taking a leadership role in their field. Several EC members believe that is not about to happen under the BIO name and there are more opportunities for ACM in this area if the SIG is dissolved. The branding is currently tainted so it would be better to completely rebuild ACM's niche. The SGB EC will recommend dissolution in a merge-oriented way. The letter of intent to dissolve will be distributed to the membership and if no plan comes forth the SIG will be dissolved. The SIGBIO leadership is welcome to propose a merger as a revitalization plan.

Motion: Move that the SGBEC recommend dissolution of SIGBIO.
Furuta, Chesnais

Action: Klein to work with SIGBIO leaders on letter of dissolution for distribution to the SIGBIO membership.

Action: ACM HQ to arrange for printing and mailing of SIGBIO dissolution letter.

Action: SIGBIO and SIGAPP leaders can present a proposal for merger as a revitalization plan.

4.0 SIGCUE Discussion

A letter of dissolution was distributed to the members of SIGCUE. A group of members discussed the dissolution and came up with a revitalization plan. The SGB EC needed to determine if the SIG should remain in transition and further develop their plan or recommend dissolution of SIGCUE to ACM Council.

Jim Hightower, SIGCUE Chair was introduced. He indicated that he'd been Chairing the SIG for a number of years and that 3 people had been running the organization for a considerable period of time. Two years ago he called for volunteers but didn't get many responses. He also made a plea for volunteers at the SAC conference with little success. Hightower indicated he was ready to give it up. Carl Stiedley who was interested in reorganizing the SIG approached him and carried it forth from there. Hightower is willing to continue as Chair during the revitalization period and as past Chair should the SIG be reinstated as viable. He announced that he would not be actively involved in the revitalization.

Hightower introduced, Jan Carroll, a SIGCUE member interested in seeing the SIG continue. Carroll presented a plan put together by several SIGCUE members. They agree that SIGCUE's mission should continue to provide a forum for:

  • The discussion and refinement of concepts, methods, and policies that relate to the central issues of instructional computing.
  • Emphasizing the development and evaluation of hardware, software, and systems that facilitate the educational process, including distance education.
  • Bringing together the viewpoints of diverse practitioners for their mutual benefit.

SIGCUE offers practitioners and researchers the opportunity to share and integrate mutual interests in innovative applications, technology transfer, experimental uses of computing, & strategies research in the applications of computing to the educational process. The SIG promotes widespread cooperation among the spectrum of educational programs through interdisciplinary discussions and applications.

The current officers have a long history with the SIG. Several members have indicated interest in taking on the roles of Chair, Vice Chair, Secretary/Treasurer and Newsletter Editor. In addition, the reorganization would allow for 2 additional officers: Information Officer and Membership Chair. The group believes they can increase membership with a membership drive headed up by the newly elected membership chair.

New initiatives proposed include development of subgroups within the SIG which emphasize recruitment of practitioners of computing in: grades K-12, a road spectrum of disciplines in post-secondary education, industrial education, 4 issues of outlook/year (the last was published in 1/99), a new editor and editorial board charged with enlarging innovative/interdisciplinary computing, moving to electronic distribution and securing advertising.

Membership enhancement would include providing SIGCUE membership as part of a conference registration, encouraging renewing membership and new ones, recruiting new membership chair, distributing a membership directory, enlarging the view of uses of computing application areas through more SIG interaction reflected in new SAC tracks and newsletter articles.

SIGCUE could have involvement in special projects as a service to public school teachers, creating and maintaining a database of experiences with computer uses, applications, and software of ruse in K-12 education. Antonio Cartelli has offered to serve as their database administrator.

The group is currently exploring collaboration and partnering with the Int'l Conference of the Learning Sciences (ICLS) and the Computer Supported Collaborative Learning (CSCL).

They would plan on continuing involvement in the ITiSCE conference held outside the US. They propose having tracks at the ACM Symposium on Applied Computing (SAC) and at ITiCSE. There would be a SIGCUE yearly membership meeting, membership flyers, awards and a web-site.

SIGCUE would continue its collaborative efforts as a co-sponsor of SAC and other events currently being explored. They recognize the need for SIGCUE tracks to be supported by a larger number of SIGs.

Carroll concluded that SIGCUE is a strong special interest group with interdisciplinary appeal across a wide spectrum of ACM with an adequate financial foundation. The Outlook newsletter and SIGCUE sponsored conference sessions provide a desired interdisciplinary technology transfer between ACM Professionals. SIGCUE will continue to improve and develop as a contributing and viable special interest group to ACM.

Volunteers have been recruited to run for office. The SGB EC explained that if the SIG is reinstated it would be placed in transition. The officers of transitional SIGs are appointed rather than elected. The SGB EC indicated that a large fund balance is not necessarily a good thing. They asked for additional information on the members willing to lead the organization and wanted to know what niche SIGCUE would fill as opposed to other organizations. It was suggested that the volunteers get together with 1 or 2 SGB EC members to discuss this further.

The SGB EC decided that the proposal was a sufficient enough plan to continue the revitalization efforts. SIGCUE will continue in the dissolution process with a 90-day extension. The revitalization plan is to be refined so that the SGB EC is comfortable recommending reinstatement of the SIG to the SGB. The SIGCUE leaders were instructed to:

  • Develop a plan that included participation in national and ACM initiatives
  • Revamp the plan with a proposed set of officers for each of the EC positions.
  • Obtain letters of support from ACM's K-12 committee and appropriate conferences
  • Provide explicit plans for the newsletter

The SGB EC will develop criteria for the success/failure of the plan in order to make an appropriate recommendation to the SGB.

Action: Klein will provide additional bulleted points of what's expected of the new SIGCUE leaders after discussions with other SGB EC members.

Action: SIGCUE leaders, through conference calls and meetings are to develop a more detailed revitalization plan/technical program as outlined by the SGB EC.

Action: Klein and Chesnais to meet with SIGCUE leaders when appropriate to determine whether or not to move ahead.

5.0 Other Business

The SGB EC reviewed the list of SIGs scheduled for viability reviews. Based on the back-up information provided by ACM HQ as well as their understanding of the SIG activities, the following actions were taken:

SIGART - active SIG, no concerns.

Motion: Move to continue SIGART's status as a multi-service SIG.
Furuta, Klein

SIGMOD - active SIG, no concerns.

Motion: Move to continue SIGMOD's status as a multi-service SIG.
Cohoon, Hayne

SIGMIS - some concern regarding volunteer leadership development and newsletter scheduling.

Motion: Recommend that the SGB continue SIGMIS' status as a multi-service SIG with a viability review in 2 years.
Furuta, Berenbaum
(7,2,0) - Motion passes

SIGKDD - active SIG, no concerns.

Motion: Move to establish SIGKDD as a multi-service SIG.
Hayne, Berenbaum

SIGecom - active SIG, no concerns.

Motion: Move to establish SIGecom as a multi-service SIG.
Furuta, Bernenbaum
(8,0,1) - Motion passes

SIGMOBILE - active SIG, no concerns.

Motion: Move to establish SIGMOBILE as a multi-service SIG.
Ellis, Hayne

Chesnais summarized his plan for presentation of the allocation task force report to the members of the SGB. His hope was that most of the SGB attendees would participate in the Friday evening discussion so that time would be used effectively during the SGB meeting on Saturday. The SGB EC had been briefed on the recommendations during their last conference call. They discussed their support of the plan.

Motion: Move that the SGB EC recommend acceptance of the Allocation Task Force report.
Cohoon, Ellis

The meeting was adjourned at 6:30 PM.

Note: SGB EC Meeting Scheduled for October 15th was cancelled. SGB EC would discuss SGB meeting during their next conference call.



  • Donna Baglio, ACM Director of SIG Services
  • Alan Berenbaum, SGB EC Member-at-Large/SIGARCH Chair
  • Judy Brown, SIGGRAPH Chair
  • Jan Carroll, Guest
  • Alain Chesnais, SGB Chair
  • Jim Cohoon, SGB Publications Liaison
  • Carla Ellis, SGB Past Chair
  • Stuart Feldman, SGB EC Member-at-Large/SIGecom Chair
  • Rick Furuta, SGB EC Member-at-Large
  • Stephen C. Hayne, SGB EC Member-at-Large/SIGGROUP Chair
  • Jim Hightower, SIGCUE Chair
  • Mark Scott Johnson, SGB Council Representative
  • Warren Jones, SIGBIO Newsletter Editor
  • Bruce Klein, SGB EC Member-at-Large/SIGCSE Chair
  • Edward Lamie, SIGBIO Chair
  • David Notkin, SGB EC Member-at-Large/SIGSOFT Chair
  • Pat Ryan, ACM COO
  • David Siegel, SIGAPL Chair