IEEE membership is generally limited technology professionals who are college graduates and students studying to be technology professionals. A large percentage of these members come from the fields of electrical and computer engineering, computer science and information technology. As job opportunities in these professions have grown significantly over the years, many technologists without a college degree have entered these fields and are contributing quite well. IEEE needs to recognize their contributions in the professions that IEEE represents, and welcome them as members. Such a move will not only increase IEEE membership, which is falling in some parts of the world, it will also make IEEE relevant to a broader cross section of technologists.
There are tens of thousands of volunteers – not all IEEE members – who review papers for IEEE, work on hundreds of committees and develop standards. They need to be better recognized and get some benefits for their volunteer work. I propose to set up a system in which volunteers can earn points for reviewing and editing papers, and working on IEEE standards and guides. They can then redeem these points to buy technical papers from the IEEE online library, get access to standards/guides for their personal use, even pay for a part of their membership dues.
IEEE Senior Membership is a recognition of a member’s contribution to the profession. IEEE members in industry often do not apply for Senior Membership thinking they may not qualify and sometimes have difficulty finding three Senior Members or IEEE Fellows to provide references for them. I would recommend hosting section/chapter level workshops where members can be helped to prepare their IEEE Senior Membership forms and identify IEEE Senior Members and/or IEEE Fellows locally who can provide references. IEEE Fellow is the highest level of professional recognition for any IEEE member. And the preparation of an IEEE Fellow nomination package requires extensive amounts of work and coordination with a number of IEEE Fellows for letters of reference. I have set up the IEEE Power & Energy Society Fellow Nomination Resource committee whose members help with this process. Such a support system can be developed for all of IEEE to help with IEEE Fellow nominations.
If you would like to read about my relevant initiatives and achievements that are already present at my website, you can visit here.
Prof. Saifur Rahman, PhD