An Existential Question

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An Existential Question

By: 
Ahmed Tewfik

The November 2021 IEEE Technical Activities Board meeting presentations articulated several warning signs and promising calls to action. A new, radical proposal to change the way IEEE elevates its Members to Fellow status may finally address the inclusion and equity issues that we discuss but have yet to address. The proposal is still in its infancy and was drafted by a committee chaired by our very own Jose Moura. It recognizes and documents what many of us have known anecdotally: the success rate of Fellow nominations coming from industry, government, and regions outside North America and Europe is abysmally low, despite the quality of the nominees. It also recognizes the sourcing challenge: a small number of nominations from outside academia and North America and Europe to start with. The proposed vetting process continues to involve the different technical communities within IEEE as it should, but adds a few extra provisions in the training, selection, and oversight of the peer-review committees, which have real potential to achieve fairness. I urge you to keep an eye on this developing initiative and contribute to its success by actively participating in its refinement and finalization.

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