Around the Institute
By Sandy Magnus, AIAA fellow|October 2017
It has been a while since I have had an opportunity to just take a moment and highlight some of the exciting activities happening around the Institute, so that is the subject of this month’s Corner Office. Truly it has been a very dynamic year!
First and foremost our new governance structure went into effect at the May Board meetings. The Board of Trustees (Board) and the Council of Directors are busy getting organized — identifying any policies, procedures, or other organizational aspects that are still needed while also working jointly on creating the Institute’s strategic plan for the next four years. In addition, the Resource Working Group, which has been meeting for the past year, will be making recommendations at the September Board meeting on how the Institute can thoughtfully and appropriately resource member activities in the new structure. These recommendations will be folded into the development of the Institute strategic plan. An enormous amount of work has gone into, and continues to be dedicated to, helping define the future of the Institute as the transition plays out over the next three years. Our members are active in so many areas!
Since 2015 we have had two new member communities created around some exciting emerging technologies: hybrid electric propulsion for aircraft and transformational electric flight. The Aircraft Electric Propulsion and Power Working Group has been set up and is taking a multidisciplinary approach to bringing the large civil transport and the small aircraft and personal air vehicle communities together as well as bringing new people and disciplines to engage with AIAA. Furthermore, a large and energetic Transformational Flight Program Committee has positioned AIAA as the go-to organization for any and all things related to transformational electric flight.
We have also started some educational outreach related to cybersecurity. Our monthly newsletter Protocol highlights recent cyber-problems that you might not otherwise have heard about and explains general issues related to cybersecurity. This is a subject that can be intimidating and mysterious and it is imperative that all aerospace professionals become more familiar and comfortable with this topic. I encourage you to go to www.aiaa.org/cybersecurity and opt-in to continue receiving it. We also invite you to forward this newsletter to your colleagues who are not necessarily associated with AIAA. Finally, our DEMAND for UNMANNED UAS community continues to thrive at AVIATION and in collaboration with some of our sister societies. The areas I mentioned above are on top of all the great things our established technical communities continue to engage in, whether that be short courses, excellence in technical papers, and outreach. We are a busy Institute!
Our Diversity Working Group continues its mission to encourage participation and collaboration across all members of our community regardless of race, gender, or ethnicity. The members work quite closely with the K–12 STEM committee to encourage young people from all backgrounds to engage with aerospace. (For more details of the Diversity Working Group’s plan and activities, go to: www.aiaa.org/Diversity.) Recently inaugural chair Susan Frost, of NASA Ames, stepped down after a two-year term, and I would like to thank her for her leadership in the group’s formative years. I am excited to announce that Jandria Alexander of The Aerospace Corporation has taken over as chair.
We’ve made some changes on staff as well over the past year. As one of the goals of the new governance structure is to provide more opportunities for member engagement, we have changed the name of our “Member Services” Division to “Member Services and Engagement” Division. This might seem like a small change, but the difference is quite important. For AIAA to be successful in the dynamic world around us, staff cannot just “serve,” which implies passively reacting when addressed, but rather actively “engage” with members. It is equally vital that our members, and frankly, nonmember aerospace professionals, actively engage with the Institute to do great things for the aerospace sector. Working together we can accomplish anything!
As you can see from just the brief highlights AIAA continues to make an impact. Please keep your eyes open for ways you might engage with the Institute in those areas that you are passionate about. For now, however, if you are interested in becoming involved with the Aircraft Electric Propulsion and Power Working Group or the Transformational Flight Program Committee, please contact Tom Irvine at email@example.com and he will put you in touch with the volunteer leadership of these groups. If you have suggestions for new working groups or areas where AIAA should be active, either contact your Group Director or Tom Irvine. If you are interested in being a member, or volunteering for Diversity Working Group activities, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. ★