IPCC 2013 Keynote–Dr. Bernard Amadei

We need to educate a new kind of engineer, one who can solve technical problems while learning and accommodating the needs and desires of people who will use the technology.  This was the core message this morning from Dr. Bernard Amadei, founding president of Engineers Without Borders and professor of civil engineering at the University of … [Read more...]

IPCC 2013 in Vancouver

IPCC 2013 kicked off Sunday evening on the beautiful campus of the University of British Columbia Vancouver.  Registration opened at 3:00 PM, and we had the chance to greet old friends and meet new ones. The conference swings into gear today at 8:00 AM with the keynote address by Dr. Bernard Amadei, professor of civil engineering at the … [Read more...]

It’s Almost Here–IPCC 2013 in Vancouver

One week from today, we will kick off IPCC 2013 on the campus of the University of British Columbia Vancouver!  With a beautiful setting, a fantastic program of presenters, and an all star lineup of keynoters, IPCC 2013 promises to inform and delight. We look forward to seeing you and/or meeting you in Vancouver. Check out the conference website … [Read more...]

Will Communicate For Food

In a recent article in the New York Times, Alina Tugend posed the eternal question that often crops up at this time of year--what are the skills college graduates should possess to make them employable?  You may be surprised that the answer is not more technical skills.  Quoting from a special report by the Chronicle of Higher Education and … [Read more...]

Greetings from TAB in San Diego!

Three times a year, the presidents of technical societies in IEEE meet to conduct the business of the Technical Activities Board.  The business ranges from getting updates on IEEE initiatives such as Smart Grid and IEEE in Africa to reviewing the financial state of the organization as a whole.  The meeting is also an important opportunity to spend … [Read more...]

Meet Your New Communication Strategist–Jane Austen

When one is in the market for help in improving communication skills, most of us take the same first step:  a Google search.  This search will turn up some sound, albeit conventional, advice.  Let me suggest instead that you explore a rather unconventional source and take your lessons from the drawing rooms of 19th century England.  Associate … [Read more...]

The Power of Presentations

The IEEE Robotics and Automation Society and the IEEE Professional Communication Society are partnering this year to bring communication content to members of both societies.  In case you missed it, the webinar entitled "The Power of Presentations" was presented on Wednesday, April 3.  It attracted a broad and diverse audience, with members of both … [Read more...]

Please excuse my poor netiquette

In a meeting today, several faculty complained that students were spending time in class on their smartphones doing things unrelated to course activities--updating Facebook, sending texts, replying to unimportant email.  My question was, why do you allow them to use their devices in class?  Time in class is precious, and my solution to student … [Read more...]

“If I were a rich man,” and other musings on the subjunctive

There are two rules of grammar that I won't ever give up.  The first is the use of a singular pronoun as an antecedent to a singular noun. For instance, The student handed in their paper late.  The singular subject should have a singular pronoun, either he or she, but time and time again I see written prose using the plural in some vain attempt … [Read more...]

Stand Up? Sit Down?

Rachel Emma Silverman, in a recent post in the Wall Street Journal, commented on the growing popularity of stand-up meetings.  Also known as a "huddle" or "scrum," the stand-up meeting is a hallmark of software development workplaces that emphasize "Agile" development and its associated values of speed, flexibility, and innovation.  I can guess the … [Read more...]