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1. On the Role of the IEEE in Developing Engineers of the Future

Sergey O. Shaposhnikov

Vice-Chair, IEEE Russia (North-West) Section

Department of Management and Quality Systems

St.Petersburg State Electrotechnical University “LETI”

5 Prof. Popov str., St.Petersburg, 197376, Russia
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Abstract—The paper gives a brief presentation of the IEEE as one of the biggest international professional societies and describes its role in developing engineers for the future.


Index Terms—Role of the IEEE, Engineering education, Learning opportunities, Networking of professionals.

 

  1. Introduction

The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) is a world-known non-profit professional association dedicated to advancing technological innovation related to electricity. Its history goes back to the spring of 1884 when a small group of individuals in the electrical professions met in New York. They formed a new organization to support professionals in their nascent field and to aid them in their efforts to apply innovation for the betterment of humanity -the American Institute of Electrical Engineers (AIEE). Many AIEE leaders, such as founding President Norvin Green of Western Union, came from telegraphy. Others came from power (Thomas Edison) and the newer telephone industry (Alexander Graham Bell). The electric power spread rapidly enhanced by innovations such as Nikola Tesla’s AC Induction Motor, long distance AC transmission and large-scale power plants. It was also successfully commercialized by industries such as Westinghouse and General Electric. As a result, the AIEE became increasingly focused on electrical power and its ability to change people’s lives through the unprecedented products and services it could deliver. Another focus was given to wired (and, later on, wireless) communication both the telegraph and the telephone. Through technical meetings, publications, and promotion of standards, the AIEE led the growth of the electrical engineering profession, while through local sections and student branches, it brought its benefits to engineers in widespread places.

It is worth mentioning here that Prof. Alexander Smuroff, one of well known Russian electrical engineers and a Professor of the St. Petersburg Electrotechnical Institute was a Fellow to this international society.

Later on, on 1 January 1963, the AIEE and the Institute of Radio Engineers (IRE) merged to form the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers. At its formation, the IEEE had 150,000 members. Now it has more than 395,000 members in about160 countries.

  1. Role in the Professional and Academic Community

IEEE is the biggest professional association in the world. Its Constitution defines the purposes of the organization as "scientific and educational, directed toward the advancement of the theory and practice of Electrical, Electronics, Communications and Computer Engineering, as well as Computer Science, the allied branches of engineering and the related arts and sciences." In pursuing these goals, the IEEE serves as a global organizer of professional contacts for people involved in research, development, teaching and manufacturing in the fields mentioned above. It is also the major publisher of scientific journals and a conference organizer as well as the leading developer of industrial standards (having developed over 900 active industry standards) in a broad range of disciplines, including Electric power and Energy, Biomedical Technology and Healthcare, Information Technology, Information Assurance, Telecommunications, Consumer Electronics, Transportation, Aerospace, and Nanotechnology.

It is worth mentioning that the IEEE plays an important role in involving students as future professionals in Electrical Engineering and Electronics in its activities. At present, there is more than 90,000 student members in the society united in 1,855 student branches in 80 countries including and 483 student branch chapters at colleges and universities.

The IEEE plays an extremely important role in providing access to the up-to-date information on research and development projects and results. Its Xplore Digital Library contains more than 2.5 million documents and the number of those documents downloads is more than 7 million each month. It publishes 148 transactions, journals and magazines and sponsors over 1100 technical conferences in 73 countries each year. The last but not least fact which illustrates the IEEE active role is that at present there are about 1300 standards and projects under development.

The role of the IEEE in the academic world and in developing engineers for the future is of special value. First of all, the IEEE actively develops and participates in educational activities such as accreditation of electrical engineering (and other related fields) programs in institutes of higher learning. It is widely recognized nowadays that public professional accreditation of academic programs is an important tool for assuring their quality which means proving the fact that such programs meet expectations of all groups of stakeholders as well as provide the necessary environment for achieving the planned learning outcomes by students. For this task, the IEEE serves as a community of professionals able to formulate expectations and demands of business and industry which shall be considered the basis for the development/continuous improvement of academic programs in Engineering and Technology.

  1. Learning Opportunities from IEEE

Another important academic role of the IEEE is helping its members meet their continuing education requirements as well as developing products and services in support of these efforts. The IEEE is an authorized provider of continuing education units through the International Association of Continuing Education and Training. There is a lot of learning opportunities from the IEEE for its members which includes:

  • the IEEE provides learning opportunities within the engineering sciences, research, and technology;
  • the IEEE offers educational opportunities such as IEEE eLearning Library, the Education Partners Program, Standards in Education, Continuing Education Units (CEUs) and Technical English Program;
  • the IEEE eLearning Library - a collection of online educational courses designed for self-paced learning;
  • Education Partners - exclusive for IEEE members, offers on-line degree programs, certifications and courses at a 10% discount;
  • the IEEE provides learning opportunities within the engineering sciences, research, and technology;
  • the IEEE offers educational opportunities such as IEEE eLearning Library, the Education Partners Program, Standards in Education, Continuing Education Units (CEUs) and Technical English Program;
  • the IEEE eLearning Library - a collection of online educational courses designed for self-paced learning;
  • Education Partners - exclusive for IEEE members, offers on-line degree programs, certifications and courses at a 10% discount.

Below are just several examples of the IEEE Tutorials on Standards that illustrate the Institute’s effort in this field:

  • The Role of Standards in Engineering and Technology. This is the "core" tutorial created by the Standards in Education project. It covers all of the basics of standards and standards development across disciplines;
  • The Role of Standards in Cellular Telephony. This tutorial provides background on the factors and forces that have shaped air interface standards and discusses the struggle to reach the goal of one internal air interface standard;
  • The Role of Standards in Electrical Power Systems. This tutorial can serve as a good  introduction to standards for electrical power systems design, installation, and operation.
  1. IV.   Conclusions

It is very important that the IEEE provides effective and convenient opportunities for communication and networking of professionals and in this respect its efforts can not be overestimated. Moreover, it is of special importance for engineers of the countries of the former Soviet Union as well as for students of engineering university programs to get this international mindedness and to work out the skills of acting in the international environment. Probably, this is the main result of the IEEE activities - it ensures that information about developments within the engineering field is readily available to all electrical professionals, regardless of where they live and work.

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