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Technical and Educational Activities

Sherman Shen

Xuemin (Sherman) Shen



Wei Zhang

Wei Zhang

Vice President, Technical and Educational Activities

Technical and Educational Activities (TEA) is a cornerstone of IEEE Communications Society. In this issue of IEEE Communications Magazine, I am pleased to introduce Wei Zhang, Vice-President for TEA, who shares with us his plans for rejuvenating technical and education activities and for promoting the industry community and standards development.

Wei Zhang is a professor at the University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia. Within IEEE ComSoc, he has taken many leadership positions, including Chair of the Wireless Communications Technical Committee (2019–2020), Vice Director of the Asia Pacific Board (2016–2021), Editor-in-Chief of IEEE Wireless Communications Letters (2016–2019), Member-at-Large on the Board of Governors (2018–2020), Chair of the Technical Program Committee of the 2017 IEEE Asia Pacific Conference on Communications and the 2019 IEEE International Conference on Communications in China, Chair of the Asia Pacific Board (APB) Award Committee, and Chair of the Technical Committee on Cognitive Networks (TCCN) Award Committee. In addition, he has served as a member of various ComSoc boards/standing committees, including the Journals Board, Technical Committee Recertification Committee, Finance Standing Committee, Information Technology Committee, Steering Committee of IEEE Transactions on Green Communications and Networking, and Steering Committee of IEEE Networking Letters. Currently, he serves as an Area Editor of IEEE Transactions on Wireless Communications and the Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Communications and Information Networks. Previously, he served as an Editor of IEEE Transactions on Communications, IEEE Transactions on Wireless Communications, IEEE Transactions on Cognitive Communications and Networking, and the IEEE Journal on Selected Areas in Communications Cognitive Radio Series. He has been an IEEE Fellow since 2015 and was a ComSoc Distinguished Lecturer in 2016–2017.

“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.” On one hand, new technologies are evolving rapidly, including 5G, B5G, the Internet of Things, artificial intelligence, machine learning, cloud computing, satellite and terrestrial networks integration, and so on. These new technologies will significantly impact the world and also ComSoc. As the leader in communications and networking technology, ComSoc should be agile to advocate and promote innovation of new technologies and foster the creation and sharing of information among the global technical community. On the other hand, the COVID-19 global pandemic has changed the way that organizations, industry, universities, and people interact. Most ComSoc conferences, workshops, technical meetings, and other activities have changed to online, causing tens of thousands of our members to work and interact remotely. ComSoc should make fast changes to adapt to this new work culture during the pandemic. The most significant challenges for ComSoc include:

  • How to address the declining interest of our members in participating in technical activities due to virtual format and travel restrictions
  • How to sustain our excellence and leadership advancing emerging technologies
  • How to find innovative ways to support and meet the needs of our members worldwide, in particular, student and industry members

In the next two years, the ComSoc TEA team will focus on the following three key aspects.

Furthering excellence of ComSoc’s leadership in emerging communications and networking technology

We will strive to be more efficient and more inclusive to maintain our leadership in driving innovation in communications and networking technology. We will rejuvenate technical committees by launching new initiatives to offer additional value to each member, taking into account geographical and sector differences. We will explore new ways of enhancing cooperation between technical committees and local chapters in organizing international events. We will streamline the nomination and selection process of the IEEE Fellow and Distinguished Lecturer programs to enhance diversity in gender, geography, work sector, race, and ethnicity. We will enhance the visibility of communications history by launching a virtual ComSoc History Museum.

Promoting educational programs to meet the needs of our student and industry members

We will collaborate with the Young Professionals Committee, Women in Communications Engineering Committee, and local Chapters to launch joint training and educational programs at various geographical operating units with particular focus on student members and young professionals as well as industry members. We will enrich our members’ experience with more professional development and educational opportunities by offering online resources, training courses, webinars, and tutorials. We will create on-demand courses and seminars on selected topics and make them available at the ComSoc Media Center.

Engaging industry communities and standard development

To enhance industry member engagement, we will focus on understanding, supporting, and meeting the needs of our industry members. The most important mechanism of engaging is through technical and educational programs. We will promote industry participation by broadening and strengthening the connection with industry through new collaborative programs, while also addressing the needs of the research community. We will appoint industry and standard program coordinators in each technical committee to liaise with our Industry Communities Board and Standard Program Development Board. We will promote the engagement of our industry members in the IEEE Fellow and Distinguished Lecturer programs. We will launch standard seminar series across technical committees and hold invited talks on standard development.

We have a strong team of IEEE ComSoc volunteers and staff who have significant experience to advance toward these goals. Our TEA leadership team consists of Shiwen Mao as the Director of the Technical Committees Board, Nirwan Ansari as the Director of the Educational Services Board, Nada Golmie as the Director of the Standardization Programs Development Board, Ed Tiedemann as the Director of the Standards Development Board, Chonggang Wang as the Director of the Industry Communities Board, Doug Zuckerman as the Chair of the Communications History Standing Committee, Zhisheng Niu as the Chair of the Emerging Technologies Standing Committee, Junshan Zhang as the Chair of the Distinguished Lecturers’ Selection Standing Committee, and Cynthia Sikora as the Director of Technical Activities and Industry Outreach, Tara McNally as Educational Services Program Manager, and Karen Pannullo as Program Manager.

We can accomplish these goals by communication, transparency, and openness in collaboration with ComSoc members, volunteers, and staff. Together, we will keep IEEE ComSoc growing with technical excellence and prestige.