Notes from the Chair

Dear ACM SIGDOC Members,

Planning continues for the ACM SIGDOC 2012 conference ( being held in Seattle, Washington, USA, this upcoming October 3rd to 5th, 2012. The conference Call for Participation is available at and the deadline for proposals is June 1st, 2012. Questions about getting involved in the conference are welcomed and can be directed to either the conference chair, Mark Zachry (, or the program chair, Clay Spinuzzi (

In addition to excitement growing over our upcoming conference, we are also enthusiastic about the recent release of our Call for Papers for our inaugural newsletter, Communication Design Quarterly Review (see Please feel free to contact either of the CDQR’s Co-editors, Michael Albers ( or Liza Potts ( for more information about the newsletter.

In terms of cultivating student engagement in SIGDOC, we are also delighted to announce that the NCSU Student Chapter of ACM SIGDOC has been formally approved by the ACM. More information about the chapter is available at Related to this, the student chapter’s first president, Jen Riehle, has become ACM SIGDOC’s new web-master and is in the midst of redesigning the SIG’s official website. The new site will be more interactive and integrate social media outreach features that we have been developing for the last several years. Other items worth noting include that our SIGDOC Wikipedia entry has been viewed 2,507 times in 2012, our Twitter account has 132 followers, Facebook group has 120 members, and our LinkedIn group has 207 members.

Another student-driven activity took place in February at East Carolina University (ECU) where faculty and students organized a two-day symposium on usability, information design, and information interaction to communicate complex information. Funding for the event came from ECU’s Office of the Provost and Graduate School. Between the NCSU Student Chapter and the efforts at ECU, student engagement with the SIG is growing and, we believe, will continue to grow. As well, our European SIGDOC Chapter ( has, for the third year in a row, organized its annual workshops on information systems and design of communication (ISDOC 2012 at and open source and design of communication (OSDOC at

We just completed our 2012 Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) viability review. The review, carried out by the ACM Special Interest Group Board’s Executive Committee (SGB EC), brought attention to important future directions for our SIG in terms of membership growth and volunteer development. To that end, I have decided to step down as Chair to clear the path for our new vitalized leadership. I wanted to thank Rob Pierce and Liza Potts for their engagement and service as the executive board of the SIG, in addition to our esteemed board members and the many international colleagues and friends I have worked with over the last several years. Finally, importantly, I want to acknowledge the on-going support and hard work of Irene Frawley (Program Coordinator—SIG Services), Barbara Boucher-Owens (our ACM Executive Council mentor), and the Association for Computing Machinery Executive and members of the SIG Governing Board (SGB).

Brad Mehlenbacher, Associate Professor, Distance Learning (LPAHE),
Primary Area Faculty Member, Human Factors & Ergonomics (PSYCH),
Affiliated Faculty, PhD in Communication, Rhetoric, and Digital Media (COM/ENG)
Affiliated Faculty, Digital Games Research Center (CSE)
NC State University, Raleigh, NC 27695-7801 (e-mail)


ACM SIGDOC Viability Report

Recommendation: The SGB EC continues to be concerned with SIGDOC volunteer development, conference losses and the lack of a long term plan for SIGDOC. It is recommended that the SIGDOC status be extended for a one-year period. During that year, SIGDOC leadership is expected to engage in community outreach with the goals of defining their community, determining which activities are valuable and launching a volunteer develop-ment program. In addition, the leadership is expected to develop a contingency plan should the SIG be unable to sustain viability. Barbara Boucher-Owens has been appointed as a Mentor to SIGDOC and will work with the SIGDOC leadership following the SGB meeting.

Action: Boucher-Owens has been appointed as a Mentor for the SIGDOC leadership and will work with them following the SGB meeting.

Viability Call to action

Liza Potts

As your new Vice-Chair, I wanted to share with you our plans for revitalizing SIGDOC! We have been very busy and energized over the past month, implementing several new initiatives with more under way. Based on emails, chats, tweets, and phone calls with many of you, I’m very excited to present our preliminary plan below.

Given those goals, here is our call to action:

  • Clarify the Mission of SIGDOC

We will update our mission and goals to reflect the updates made across academic research and industry practice (and the blurring between the two). We will send out an email announcement soon!

  • Energize and Support the Next Generation of SIGDOC

We will reach out and support the youngest members of our SIG to help them grow their careers, expand their knowledge, and lead our SIG forward.

  • Working closely with our Student Relations Officer (Kathie Gossett), our new initiatives are aimed at students, early career faculty, and early career professionals. We are looking into awards for best articles, scholarships for dissertation completion, and conference support awards. Please feel free to email Kathie with your ideas:
  • We will grow our student chapters with the goal of doubling their number in 2013, empowering a new generation of SIGDOC members to join the conversation.
  • We are reserving a spot on our board for a Student Representative. Feel free to contact me for details!
  • Our newest publication (CDQR), will set aside a special section of each issue for graduate student, young practitioner, and early career academic work.
  • Empower our Volunteers

We will empower our volunteers with focused goals and roles. Rather than just our once yearly meeting, our Board will officially meet every quarter, with smaller group meetings occurring as needed and through various technologies. To that end, let me introduce our board to you (* denotes a new position):

  • Chair: Rob Pierce (IBM)
  • Vice Chair: Liza Potts (Michigan State University)
  • Secretary/Treasurer: Kathie Gossett (Iowa State University)
  • Assistant Secretary/Treasurer: Brian McNely (University of Kentucky)
  • Managing Editor of current newsletter: Rob Pierce (IBM)
  • Editors of CDQR: Michael Albers (Eastern Carolina University), Liza Potts (Michigan State University)
  • Senior Academic Representative: David Novick (University of Texas at El Paso)
  • Senior Industry Representative: Kathy Haramundanis (Hewlett-Packard)
  • Industry Representative: Gerianne Bartocci (Intuitive Company)
  • Member at Large: Clay Spinuzzi (The University of Texas at Austin)
  • Student Relations Officer: Kathie Gossett (Iowa State University)
  • Communications Manager: Jennifer Riehle (North Carolina State University)
  • Immediate Past Chair: Brad Mehlenbacher (North Carolina State University)

Grow Opportunities for Sharing Knowledge

We will provide new opportunities to share knowledge and exchange ideas within our SIG and across ACM.

  • This Fall, we will launch our newest publication edited by Michael Albers and myself. Communication Design Quarterly Review (CDQR) will be a forum for bleeding-edge research, news pieces written by leaders in our field, and new work from our youngest members. Please keep a look-out for our CFP, and feel free to email Michael ( or me (
  • We are hoping for a large showing at SIGDOC Seattle. I encourage all of you to consider submitting a proceedings paper, experience report, or poster. Take a look at our CFP here:

I look forward to working with all of you! Our goal is to align our SIG to focus on the work we do best, inform the wider community of our bleeding-edge research and practice, and support the next generation of SIGDOC members. These goals can only be reached if we are all participating! Please feel free to contact me at with your comments, start a conversation on our LinkedIn group, or share ideas across Twitter using hashtag #sigdoc.


Our Members
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