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The Future of AMD Technical Committees and FFMTC Meeting @ IMECE07

Mark E. Walter's picture

Dear Fellow Mechanicians,

I wanted to call you attention to the technical committee meeting schedule (AMD committees are listed under "A") for the upcoming IMECE meeting in Seattle, and in particular to mention that the Fracture and Failure Mechanics Technical Committee (FFMTC) meeting will take place Tuesday, November 13th from 3:00-4:00. The location should be listed in the final progam. The FFMTC is an open membership committee, so if you are interested in being involved, please attend the meeting. 

I also wanted to initiate some discussion about the role of our technical committees (TCs). With the new system for allocating sessions, it seem to me that TCs need to redefine what their role is. In the past FFMTC collected session ideas and submitted the session titles to the executive committee. The committee was then notified of how many sessions would be programed (usually 50% of what was requested) and the committee was then the "sponsor" of those sessions. The new system, which I am in favor of, has session organizers submitting their session ideas to track organizers. The call for papers is completely open and whichever sessions get filled will be programed. I am not initiating a discussion of the advantages and disadvantages of this sytems. What I am looking for is discussion on what should the role of TCs be. 

Although I think that the TCs should get together and discuss ideas for sessions and encourage people to sponsor sessions, it is my understanding that anyone can submit session ideas and the TC gets "no credit" for any programmed sessions. If the TCs are not involved in organizing and sponsoring sessions, then perhaps they should concentrate on advancing the field in other ways. One vision for this is to setup a dynamic web site (or assign a blog/page/book of imechanica that would first of all have a definition of the field (wiki-style) and have dynamic/on-going discussions of how to teach the main topics of the field. I made a loose attempt to create such a page for the FFMTC a few years ago when the idea of using blogs for AMD TCs was proposed. The resulting page is here: This site is dedicated to committee administration and has a section to discuss teaching fracture mechanics. Imechanica has some similar things going on with postings of lecture notes. I did not push members to contribute to amd-ffmtc.blogspot site and therefore there is no real discussion happening there. Nonetheless, it seems to me that this would be an excellent way to reach out to our colleagues, and the greater engineering community in particular. Given the dynamic nature of Web2.0, it could really impact all levels with content specific to different groups. However, it does require buy-in or at the very least a few people to be actively posting content. Web sites (especially technical) that were last updated 5 years ago (for example), have no credibility (or value?).

So what should we be doing? Do we need TCs at all? Sorry for the long posting. I look forward to some lively discussion ... or maybe just conscensus. 

regards, mark

PS: I fiddled with a Wiki to try to accomplish what I described above. It did not seem to be headed in the right direction. Drupal has a "book page" content type. Our new department web site (see this example) and my research site (still work in progress) make extensive use of book pages for laying out content as chapters, sub-chapters, and so forth. 




Rui Huang's picture

I share the same concern with Mark. The role of TCs in the organizaion of IMECE is confusing and not well recognized. This is partly responsible for the generally poor organization of IMECE.


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