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News and Resources for Members of the IEEE Signal Processing Society
The SPS membership numbers have been stable, albeit low, for many years in Region 9. However, there has been a decrease in student membership even though the number of active students in the areas of interest of signal processing remain high throughout the whole region. Although there are a fair amount of SPS Student Branch Chapters at several universities with a long tradition of education and research in signal processing, it is remarkable that the student membership is not increasing despite the efforts of our members and volunteers.
Since signal processing topics of interest are the core of several technologies driving the advances for humankind, one would expect a higher level of interest with students in this amazing field.
What are some of the factors that may explain this decrease in student membership? There are not many members in leadership positions (distinguished lecturers, IEEE Fellows, etc.) and a smaller participation of industries and companies, when compared to other regions, so the opportunities for students are limited. Also, we should not forget that economies in Region 9 suffer from more impacts of the exchange rate with US dollars which may, sometimes, incur exceedingly high fees for membership, especially for students.
That being said, how can we grow our student membership in Region 9? It is dependent on a multitude of factors, the first being a clear view of the society’s membership benefits. Discounts for conferences and access to SPS publications and activities all have value and should be emphasized. Experiences and participation also play an important role into the motivations for students. Active chapters can draw the attention of the students and reveal several opportunities in their education and future career. Organizing conferences in the region allow students to possibly act as volunteers and meet several leaders and researchers in their field, which can have an incredibly positive effect. Similarly, local competitions and awards are also great activities designed to enhance the involvement of the students and allow them to show their potential and discover new interests. Finally, improvements are currently being discussed by the Membership and Education Boards regarding the Resource Center as well as the addition of more material related to continuing education. This can boost the perception of SPS’ value to all student members.
I believe that we should use all available resources to connect not only with students, but with all members. We can create a stronger foundation and connection with all members, showing what we can achieve and the potential that SPS may provide to Region 9.
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