Proposed Plan for the Future 2017-2019
Dear Colleagues, Council Members and All Members of ISHMII,
As 2016 ends and the New Year commences, as the president of ISHMII, I want to express my sincere wishes to you and yours for a Happy, Prosperous and Healthy New Year.
First and foremost, I want to use this opportunity and express my sincere gratitude to Dr. Wolfgang Habel, the outgoing President, for his outstanding leadership and dedicated service over the past three years that resulted in further expansion and enhancing the global visibility of our professional society. I know that it will be a challenge to fill his big shoes.
I also want to express my thanks to the members of the Executive Committee, the Council members, Past Presidents and Vice Presidents, the administrative staff, the editorial board members of our journal, and to all ISHMII members, without whose support ISHMII would not have been able to establish itself as a recognized and respected voice within the international community of structural health monitoring.
It is a great honor for me to start my term as the new President leading your organization. Thus, I see this message as an opportunity to share and to reiterate, with my colleagues, the members of the Council, and with all ISHMII members, my vision and a few proposed plans that I am hoping to initiate and implement. My ultimate goal is that with your collective support and assistance, by expanding the scope of the activities and the current programs, and with a new strategic plan, we can move the society to higher grounds of excellence and make that the globally recognized voice of structural health monitoring community, and as a respected resource for industries and governments worldwide. To achieve this goal, ISHMII should continuously develop viable, sustainable, and strategic plans for finance, membership, education and publications which are pivotal for the future success and growth of ISHMII.
My proposed plan is as follows:
1) Enhance the Administrative and Leadership Organization of ISHMII
To achieve this objective, I propose that a) we establish an active Executive Committee (EC) supported by a strong Secretariat consisting of a Secretary General, 3 Secretaries, several Corporate Secretaries from ISHMII branches and 2 paid staff. The President will work closely with the VPs and the Secretariat; b) establish forums and mechanisms for soliciting members opinions, and for transparent decision making to revitalize the council activities; and c) establish National Branches or Sub-groups. We also need to pay more attention to some countries where R&D on SHM is active or ongoing but we do not currently have ISHMII members.
2) Develop More High Quality Publications
ISHMII should become a forum to develop SHM standards and to promote best practices, so, as such we need to a) develop a series of guidelines and standards from ISHMII technical forums, based on ongoing efforts; b) develop state-of-the-art technical reports and white papers and publish/disseminate various best practices from ISHMII working groups; c) publish text books or educational/tutorial series for ISHMII short courses collected from ISHMII working groups; d) secure ISI registration of the Journal of Structural Health Monitoring (JCSHM) and continuously increase its impact factor; and e) edit our fantastic newsletter The Monitor.
3) Establish Stronger Collaborations
To broaden the membership spectrum, enhance ISHMII’s visibility, credibility and authority as the voice of SHM community, and for ISHMII to become a forum to develop SHM standards and promote best practices, I suggest that we a) initiate Joint meetings/symposia on SHM with other professional societies such as ASCE, IABSE, FIB, AIAA, IASSAR, IIFC, etc. on various topics, e.g., sensors, structural reliability, etc.; b) organize joint SHM conferences in different fields; c) publish joint reports on SHM in different fields; and d) sponsor other technical events in emerging areas such as big data, smart cities, resiliency, etc.
4) Improve Financial Operations
In order to achieve the above goals, we should increase the financial support for ISHMII. This can be achieved through a) more paying members. We should aim at increasing the membership to up to 1000 regular and student members; b) increasing the number of corporate members through strengthening and expanding the linkages with industries. This is an ongoing effort, with the goal of establishing more than 30 corporate members, c) organizing joint events with other societies; d) ISHMII publications, for instance through partnering with a publisher, publish electronic copies of technical reports for sale; e) seeking sponsorship for, and having industry exhibitions at, ISHMII events, and advertising fees on ISHMII website; and f) organizing an industry workshop for discussing new plans and seeking new avenues.
5) Activate Members’ Collaborations
This can be done through initiates such as a) facilitating research collaborations such as international industry-university cooperation, bilateral or multilateral research programs supported by, e. g. funding agencies of US, EU, Canada, China, Japan, Korea, etc. Moreover, conduct interdisciplinary studies through ISHMII working groups to collect latest information on different programs and needs; b) offering summer or winter schools for students and industry people through the organization of ISHMII branches; and c) pushing forward different benchmark studies through the planning of ISHMII working groups.
As a preliminary effort towards the realization of the above goals, I believe the leadership of ISHMII should take some steps to promote the establishment of Special Committees and Task Forces in new and emerging areas such as: Resilience, Big Data, Artificial Intelligence, Smart Infrastructure, Sustainable infrastructure, etc. We have also already taken steps to form a Resilient Infrastructure Committee and a Young Members Task Force. I would work closely with the EC members and would encourage the ISHMII leadership to work with me to promote these new efforts.
A Strategic Plan and Implementation Strategy
The realization of these goals and suggested initiatives requires the development of a strategic plan and a corresponding implementation strategy. This plan can only be developed through active participation and direct feed back of all members. Therefore, within the first few months of my presidency, I plan to pursue the following actions:
1- I will propose to initiate the formation of an Advisory Committee that will consist of Past Presidents who are not current members of the Executive Council, some of Past Vice Presidents, distinguished and internationally recognized researchers from the field of structural health monitoring who may not be necessarily members of ISHMII, and some members from industry. This Committee will be charged to review a Strategic Plan, to be drafted by a Special Task Force. This committee will also be responsible to give its comments and suggestions on some other important issues of ISHMII, such as the modification of the ISHMII constitution, and soliciting and identifying candidates for the future leadership positions of ISHMII.
2- I will appoint a Special Task Force to initiate a Strategic Planning Process that includes Vision and Mission Statements. This Task Force will review my aforementioned suggested goals/ideas, as a guidance and a starting platform, will solicit the feedback of the members, and by May 31, 2017, will draft the outline of a 5-year Strategic Plan. This plan will be disseminated among all members for their review and feedback. Subsequently, the Advisory Committee will review the draft of the Strategic Plan and will prepare the final copy of a 5-year Strategic Plan for ISHMII by August 31, 2017. I expect that the new strategic plan will identify how we can learn from the experience of other professional societies, such as IEEE, ASME, ASCE, JSCE, etc. to develop a more effective organizational chart, better promote ISHMII Conferences, Journal and Technical Committees, expand our membership base, and achieve more effective involvement of the members, etc.
3- I have already initiated the steps for the formation of two important committees: Committee of Resilient Infrastructure and the Young Members Task Force. I will share more information about these two committees with all of you later.
4- We may also plan Members Forums at the ISHMII events and invite all members to join us to discuss new ideas for the future of ISHMII.
Last, but not least, I am delighted to report to you that fortunately Dr. Habel has agreed to serve as the Secretary General of ISHMII and in that role continue a leadership role in assisting with the strategic and organizational affairs of our organization.
I also would like to report that a long time colleague and friend, Professor Mohammad Noori, who has had over 19 years of experience in academic administration at several major universities and societies, to help with some of the administrative and logistical affairs, as a Special Assistant to President.
“ISHMII is in a unique position to address the challenges facing the infrastructure of the 21st century.” As my colleague, and outgoing President Wolfgang had also stated, “I invite you to be part of ISHMII, to bring in your competence and ideas whether coming from academic level, the industrial environment or from public authorities and political organizations.” We can only achieve prominence through a collective effort of all of us.
Once again, my best wishes to all of you for a wonderful 2017, and I look forward to working with you.