UFFC-S President's Message - August 2021 - Paul Reynolds

2 years 8 months ago
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Dear UFFC-S Members, 

Welcome to the August 2021 UFFC-S Newsletter. I mentioned in our prior Newsletter that UFFC-S meetings have often been USA and Europe-centric in timings and that we needed to “share the pain” of time zone differences. As I wrote this Newsletter, being based in the USA, I originally wrote “Welcome to the Summer 2021 UFFC-S Newsletter”, but not only are we a society that spans the globe east to west, but also north to south, and it is important that all geographical locations feel part of UFFC-S. The great interest in our Latin America Ultrasonic Symposium this October has shown the vast pool of expertise and enthusiasm and I am grateful to the volunteers who are helping UFFC-S be the venue for this exciting work.
In our near-online only world, deliberate efforts in connecting with others are more important than ever, and our Mentoring and Networking Committee has been continuing with the mentoring program and multiple lecture events. If you have not already taken advantage of this, look here and consider being part of the next round of mentors or mentees. It is also all the more important we keep our members informed as to ongoing activities, and our website has undergone a major overhaul – which you can view here, we look forward to hearing your feedback.
Our symposia continue to attract record numbers of participants, and we had very successful ISAF (May) and IFCS (July) symposia. We’ve learned from 2020 and worked to expand our online tools, especially for interaction and networking. One of the biggest questions about our symposia is what they will look like in the coming years, and while the crystal ball is somewhat cloudy some things are certain; COVID, in one form or another, is here to stay. Even in the best-case scenarios, many parts of the world will not be fully vaccinated until 2023, while immunocompromised people and those close to them may have to choose not to travel – and these are people we cannot leave behind. Further, with online symposia, we are seeing greatly increased participation from lower-income countries, and companies sending ten or more staff (one sent 55 people to 2020 IUS!), we can see that the elimination of travel time and cost is opening up opportunities. The world of pre-2020 conferences is gone, and we must adapt to the future. As such, UFFC-S will be moving to a Hybrid model as the default for our flagship conferences (IUS, ISAF, IFCS) in 2022, with in-person attendance and online availability – as well as the ability to move fully online should the worst happen. This places an extra burden on the Symposia General Chairs, and so, in addition, to support from our professional conference organizers, Conference Catalysts, we are investing in digital tools to ensure that we can meet their needs. As mentioned, the exact nature of this future is uncertain, we will be adapting and learning as we go, and as always it will be shaped by the efforts of UFFC-S volunteers – if you want to participate, please apply here.
We are also continuing to streamline and professionalize our volunteer processes, making them as open and transparent as we can while looking for diversity in all forms. One of IEEE’s best practices involves both term limits and a constant rotation of volunteers in positions. In keeping with this UFFC-S will be moving to a model where appointed positions automatically end at the transition of the President’s (or Chair’s etc) term. The successor can then appoint their new slate, which may or may not contain some of the prior volunteers. No volunteer should feel slighted by this, and we are always grateful for the service given. Along with our Volunteer Engagement Committee and our open calls for positions, we aim to make our society representative of our members, and as welcoming to new blood, as possible.
Lastly, this is your society, and UFFC-S elections are now open. This vote is for half our AdCom (our governing body) representatives and is incredibly important for the future of our society. Please be sure to vote here, and if you don't like the options you see, make sure to get involved and stand yourself next year! Our volunteer representation makes UFFC-S everything it is, and we want to hear your voice.

As always, please stay safe and well, thank you for being a part of UFFC-S.
Paul Reynolds
President UFFC-S 2020-2021