Council of Technical Groups

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Community forum for the Council of Technical Group chairs
  • 1.  COTG Business Update

    Posted 03-03-2019 18:58

    Hello TG Chairs,

    Sorry for the length of this message but there are quite a few things that I need to let you know and get your input on.  Please read all the way through and let me know if you have any questions.

    New COTG Chair-Elect

    Welcome to Matthew Bolton as the new COTG Chair-Elect.  He will serve as the Chair-Elect through the 2020 Annual Meeting and then he will become the COTG Chair for two years. 


    I am sending this message by both email and the COTG Community page.  If you do not receive the one from the COTG Community page and cannot access that page through the HFES web site, please let me know.  In the future all communications will be done through the COTG Community page.  The Community pages are the replacement of the previous listservs and this is how you should also be communicating with your TG members.  The listservs, if they still work for your TG, are not being updated. 


    TG Budget Information

    I sent an email a few weeks ago that provided contact information for getting your TG's current balance, but that person has moved on so if you need to know your TG balance please contact either Steve Kemp or Lauren Taggert at HFES. 


    Editing the TG Chair Handbook

    I have been asked to review the TG Chair Handbook and operating rules that impact COTG and the TGs and suggest updates that should be made.  Please let me know if you are willing to serve as a reviewer of those suggestions before they are sent on to the Executive Council. 


    New Emphasis on Standards

    HFES is considering a new emphasis on the use or citation of standards in HFES research and publications to make it easier to transfer the research to practice.  Paul Green is heading up that effort.  He has asked me to let the TG Chairs know about this effort and ask for your TG's support in furthering this initiative.  He would like each of the TGs to consider what standards might be applicable to research within their TG and then document those standards to make it easier for researchers to find and cite appropriate standards.  He has written a couple documents explaining the process which I have attached to this message.  Feel free to contact Paul or me if you have questions.  Also, please let me know if you think your TG will be able to accommodate this request.  It could be a good opportunity to get more of your members involved in HFES.


    Student Travel Awards

    As many of you know we discussed these awards at last year's COTG business meeting.  COTG has been providing student travel awards in the amount of $599 or less to first year graduate students and student presenters for the last few years.  The result of the discussion was that I should try to collect information on past years' awards and we would decide on a number of awards to give each year.  Previously it had been decided that we would use the COTG income for the awards.  However, the COTG income varies greatly and normally only allows for about 2-3 awards each year (last year we mistakenly were told we had a large income when really a CD was sold and that money should have gone into our reserve since our income is the interest from the reserve).  In the future, the funds from the silent auction (held for the first time this past year) will go towards the student awards, it was about $2800 this past year, but with no history it is hard to know how much this will provide in the future.  So, in addition, Kermit has asked us to decide on a number of awards to give each year and with the EC approval they will supplement our income so that we can award the same number of awards each year. 


    To help make this decision, I have collected some information on past years' awards as requested at the business meeting but it is limited.  It is in the table below.








    # student members






    # student attendees






    # first year awards






    # student presenter awards







    I am not sure how accurate this information is other than that the award numbers for 2018 are correct.  With the transition to a new management company it has been hard to get information on past annual meetings.  I suspect that 5 awards in each category were given in 2016 and 2017 as I remember we gave both type of awards at least in 2017.  Also, I believe the award amount has changed over time (never more than $599 due to tax paperwork considerations) but could not get that information at this time.  Finally, other than last year I am not sure how many students have applied, but last year with a more concerted outreach effort than in 2017 we had 56 apply for the student presenter award and 47 applied for the first year award.  So, there is a lot of interest.


    At this point the decision is how many of each award type to target each year and present that to the EC for approval and fund assistance.  Given the large interest, I will put out the number of 10 of each type of award, which will require $11,980 each year.  Please let me know if you have a different number you would like to suggest and why you think that is a better number.


    As you have likely seen the information about the awards has just been posted to at least the COTG and HFES Community pages so we need to finalize this by the end of March to get approval from the EC in time to select the participants in the late spring/early summer. 


    Final Words

    Hopefully you have made it to this point in the message.  Thank you for reading this far!  I look forward to hearing from you.  You can reply just to me or to the entire COTG through the COTG Community page.


    Jennifer Ockerman
    Principal Professional Staff
    Johns Hopkins U. Applied Physics Lab
    Laurel MD