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

2 years 11 months ago
Share on:

Dear UFFC-S Members, 

Welcome to our May Newsletter. This year has seen some major new initiatives within the society, such as the Latin America Ultrasonics Symposium 4-5 October 2021 and the ongoing Mentoring and Networking presentations that have drawn significant attention and were highlighted in the last newsletter. One of the most encouraging aspects of these new actions is how they are spearheaded by society members who have become involved in UFFC-S in the last few years and are bringing in new ideas and energy.

Ensuring we find and encourage this new generation of leaders is a significant aspect of the changes that have been happening in the background at UFFC-S. In speaking with a number of our members, and those I would hope would consider being a member, it is clear that for some there is the perception of UFFC-S as having been a closed society where you could only progress if you knew the right people. The stories of highly qualified people denied service in significant positions in our society closely match poor cultures detailed in underrepresentation studies from groups such as the National Academy of Sciences*. Whether any bias was intentional or not, at a minimum we need to review and change our practices so that in both fact and appearance we are an open and inclusive society.

The first step in addressing this is to acknowledge past mistakes, and as President of UFFC-S, I would like to apologize to anyone who at any time was unfairly treated and not given the proper consideration, or recognition, they deserved. I cannot change the past, but to any such person, I hope you will give us a chance in the future and work with us to make the society better.

Words are not enough though, and we are instituting multiple changes and new processes to ensure no one is excluded. All society positions are now being advertised openly in the newsletter and social media, as well as open calls for general volunteers, with the Volunteer Engagement Committee overseeing that everyone is given an opportunity. This applies to all positions including those appointed by the President. Term limits are gradually being introduced into several committees that allow a continual flow of new members, while still ensuring our senior members can serve in other positions. Every symposium now also has a Diversity and Inclusion (D&I) Chair, who can help the organizers avoid the common mistakes such as all-male panels or slates of invited speakers. Last year the D&I committee offered Ally and Implicit Bias training to our committee members, and this year it will be extended to be a much more comprehensive training effort that will become standard in UFFC-S. It is becoming clear that many of our online meetings are timed for North American and European members, and we need to be getting up early (or late) for our Asian and Oceania colleagues. Lastly, we are currently reviewing the costs of membership and conference attendance for those in low and middle-income countries to make them more reasonable.

Until everyone has the same chance to contribute to UFFC-S, regardless of gender, ethnicity, technical area, geographic region, income level, or difference of ability, we are failing to be the best society we can be.

As always, the Volunteer Engagement Committee is looking to hear from you if you wish to serve, and we will soon be making calls for the Women in Engineering Liaison, the Awards Chair and Committee, and for President-Elect 22/23. If you or anyone you know is interested, please apply here and thank you for continuing to be part of UFFC-S.

Paul Reynolds
UFFC-S President 2020/21

*Promising Practices for Addressing the Underrepresentation of Women in Science, Engineering, and Medicine: Opening Doors (2020) https://www.nap.edu/catalog/25585/promising-practices-for-addressing-the-underrepresentation-of-women-in-science-engineering-and-medicine