International body aims to foster a community dedicated to understanding and promoting effective communication in engineering, scientific, and other technical environments
Professor Alan Chong (ISTEP, CivMin, EngSci) has been elected the next president of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers’ (IEEE) Professional Communication Society (ProComm), for 2023-2024.
“Heading this organization will allow me to take in communication practices in various industries and engineering companies worldwide, and survey communication pedagogy at engineering programs around the world”, says Chong.
“I can bring that back to my teaching.”
IEEE is the world’s largest technical professional organization, and IEEE ProComm was founded more than 60 years ago. Today, it remains at the forefront of providing unique opportunities and resources on engineering communication for engineering professionals, technical communicators, and educators.
Chong sees his new role as benefiting U of T Engineering through increased exposure to a global professional community.
“Our mission at IEEE ProComm is to advance technical and scientific communication, and to enable engineers, scientists and other professionals to communicate more effectively in their workplaces – writing, speaking, interacting with one another”, says Chong.
“We also aim to promote effective and rigourous research practices around the communication of technical content.”
Chong serves as the Director of the Engineering Communication Program, as well as the Associate Director of the Institute for Studies in Transdisciplinary Engineering Education and Practice. He teaches in the Department of Civil & Mineral Engineering, where he coordinates communication instruction across their curriculum. His teaching in CivMin focuses on developing student awareness of the role of communication in civil infrastructure projects, as well as their knowledge of discipline specific genres and rhetorical strategies for communicating effectively within those genres.
In Engineering Science, Chong coordinates the fourth-year thesis course, and he teaches in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering. His current research interests include developing civic engagement in undergraduate engineering students and in building case studies in science communication for use in engineering classrooms.
Chong says his goals for this role include increasing exposure of ProComm in the IEEE community, as well as among academics, technical communication practitioners, and engineers. This will ideally involve speaking at other IEEE conferences on communication issues, as he has done in the past for the IEEE Robotics and Automation Society. Getting students involved with IEEE and ProComm as members is also a major priority.
Student membership is relatively inexpensive and provides access to a very large international community — IEEE has more than 400,000 members,” he says.
“Joining IEEE provides a great chance for students to build their networks and develop their professional skills outside of their curricular programs.”