Signal Processing Society Chapters' Best Practices: Chirag Paunwala

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Signal Processing Society Chapters' Best Practices: Chirag Paunwala

By: 
Chirag N. Paunwala

Chirag Paunwala

It is my pleasure to share my views for the Signal Processing Society (SPS) Chapters’ best practices. Before I begin, I want to describe my own personal experience as a volunteer. I started my journey as a Treasurer (2013-14) and then as the Chairman (2015-16) for SPS Chapter, Gujarat Section (GS). The SPS Chapter, GS was the recipient of the SPS Chapter of the Year Award consecutively for two years (2015 and 2016) due to various quality programs. We started the Chapter in 2013 with approximately 20 SPS members and by the end of 2016 our total members were around 210. The main goal during my tenure as Chapter Chair was to uplift membership by providing engaging and interesting programs.

The Distinguished Lecturer Program (DLP) and Distinguished Industry Speaker (DIS) Program designed by the society were very useful resources. We invited around seven speakers during my tenure. Another important best practice is to give Chapter defined signature programs to members. The SPS is highly supportive to give grants for the same under the category “Chapter Driven Initiative” and “Summer/Winter School,” which can be found on the Local Events & Member Driven Initiatives page. In this article, I would like to briefly share the process about the DL/DIS programs as a Chapter Chairs Coordinator.

The Society's DL Program provides means for Chapters to have access to individuals, who are well known educators in the fields of signal processing, to deliver a talk at Chapter programs and gatherings. Similarly, the Society's DIS Program allows Chapters to access individuals who are recognized experts with a background in industrial applications in the signal processing area to lecture at Chapter meetings. The main difference and goal of the DIS Program is to educate and interact with Society members about topics that are of primary importance to industry and the signal processing community-at-large.

The grant amount for DL and DIS program is a separate $3500 per year for each Chapter. A great way to take full advantage of the annual allotment and to invite a large number of speakers to the Chapter would be to arrange DL/DIS tours in place of single talks for a particular Chapter. To organize DL/DIS tours, all Chairs of nearby SPS Chapters have to coordinate in advance and they must complete a separate request form. This type of tour distributes the cost amongst all participating Chapters, which means that maximum SPS members of in the region will get an opportunity to learn from distinguished speakers.

It is also desirable to have a “Membership Drive Desk” during the program and the audience should be made aware of the Society’s activities. This will help increase the membership in the Chapter. All of the DL/DIS talks should be open for all SPS and IEEE members with a suggested audience size of at least 50 for an effective outcome of the program.

Another good practice is to store the DL/DIS talks at the SPS Resource Center, which is the IEEE Signal Processing Society’s online library of tutorials, lectures and presentations.

Chapter Chairs can also take advantage of the “Social Gathering Grant,” which is available along with DL and DIS programs. The amount of said grant is up to $500, which could be utilized annually for small gatherings of SPS members during DL/DIS visits. Please note that funding will be provided on a reimbursement basis. This grant is helpful to boost networking among members.

Any professional SPS member can, through their local Chapter Chair, initiate the process for a DL/DIS invitation. For more information and to access the request form, please visit the DL webpage and the DIS webpage. The Chapter Chairs can also invite past DL/DIS; a list of all the past speakers are also mentioned on the aforementioned websites. However, Chapters are not limited to the speakers designated as a DL or DIS! Chairs can invite outside speakers or lecturers, but prior approval from the Society is required.

I hope this article is helpful and will motivate SPS members to take part in the DL/DIS program in their local chapter!

Prof. Chirag N. Paunwala
Chapters Chair Coordinator
Recipient of “2017 Meritorious Regional/Chapter Service Award”
cpaunwala@gmail.com

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