XVIII.3 May + June 2011
Page: 83
Digital Citation


Gerrit van der Veer

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ACM's Special Interest Group on Computer-Human Interaction (SIGCHI) elects its executive committee (EC) every three years (currently: Elizabeth Churchill, Loren Terveen, Gary Olson, John Thomas, Paula Kotzé, Fred Sampson, and myself). The EC is rounded out by the editors-in-chief of interactions Magazine (Ron Wakkary and Erik Stolterman), the past president (Julie Jacko), the chair of the Publications Board (Dan Olsen), and ACM HQ staff members (Fran Spinola and Ashley Cozzi).

Most of the readers of interactions are members of SIGCHI, so it makes sense to keep you posted on what your EC is doing. I intend to make this happen on a regular basis. The most visible products of SIGCHI are conferences, publications, and the website. In fact, interactions is one of those products; the overlap of authors and readers with SIGCHI is strong thanks to a close relationship between the EICs and SIGCHI.

The conferences, both CHI and the specialized ones, require many resources from the EC. To that end, we appoint a vice president for conferences (currently Scooter Morris) and an adjunct chair for specialized conferences (Philippe Palanque). Scooter works with a site-selection group to identify locations for the future CHI conferences, and Philippe works with his group to support sponsored and in-cooperation conferences (annually, there are more than 20 of these, most of which are in long-term relationship with SIGCHI). And there is a conferencemanagement committee that develops policies and tools for long-term support of our conferences through the reviewing process, publication of proceedings, budget development, and advertising. This committee also tracks trends and uses feedback from SIGCHI members to improve conferences over time.

SIGCHI is an international society, and we are working to become more so. A vice president for chapters (Tuomo Kujala), a representative (John Karat) to the International Federation for Information Processing (IFIP), and an adjunct chair for the developing world (Zhengjie Liu) all help to assist our overseas efforts. Tuomo is supporting our large group of local chapters across the globe, and Zhengjie and John are currently focusing on Southeast Asia, for which we held a workshop at the end of March to gather information on the coordination, support, and development of the local HCI community and related activities. At this workshop we met with key members of local groups from 14 countries and explored structural collaboration. And, of course, we have plans for other parts of the globe as well.

Investing in students is crucial to our future. Again, we found a volunteer to take up the post of adjunct chair for education (Jenny Preece).

Working with Elizabeth Churchill (vice president), Jenny is starting a program to improve our understanding of HCI education worldwide. The aims of this program are to learn from the diverse programs that exist and to support improvement and development wherever needed. We also support students, not only with low membership fees and special chapters, but also with highly reduced conference fees, student volunteer programs, and the student-design and student-research competitions at CHI.

SIGCHI maintains a set of awards that are presented annually at the CHI conference (see In addition, the SIGCHI Awards Committee has begun to nominate leading members of the HCI field for appropriate ACM awards. These efforts already have borne fruit: For example, Gregory Abowd was the recipient of the 2009 ACM Lawler Humanitarian Award and a number of members of the HCI field have been named ACM Fellows.

About 2,000 readers of interactions will be at CHI this year in Vancouver (, May 7–12), where you'll have an opportunity to participate in our Town Hall Meeting. In the meantime, we welcome your feedback and are open to proposals for activities or initiatives.

        — Gerrit C. van der Veer,
            President, ACM SIGCHI

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