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Our Financial Challenge

I have long felt that membership in ASEE is a fantastic bargain.

At a fraction of the dues of other professional societies, members get discounted access to current research-based findings on engineering education strategies in the Journal of Engineering Education; a free subscription to our core publication, ASEE Prism; and discounted registration for our heavily attended annual conference and other meetings. In addition, ASEE membership puts you in touch with your peers, providing valuable networking and learning opportunities.

However, as ASEE continues to evolve, offering more services and expanding its reach and influence, we are challenged financially by our inability to increase dues. According to our bylaws, the maximum annual amount to be charged to any individual is $70 – a ceiling set in 1992. To put this in perspective, what cost $1 in 1992 now costs $1.60! ASEE has held the individual dues amount steady at $69 since 1998, an extended period of increasingly good value for members as services expanded.

As our constitution is currently written, in order to raise this cap we must get approval of a majority of the membership, a process that is time-consuming and much more restrictive than the rules and processes of our peer organizations. To gain flexibility, we will be coming to the membership soon to consider an amendment to our constitution that would eliminate the cap but keep the power to raise the dues with the Board of Directors. Please give this careful consideration. This change will give ASEE the ability to react and respond more quickly, when circumstances dictate, to financial concerns and membership-driven needs for new benefits.

This is not a vote to raise dues to a particular level. However, given the length of time that dues have remained at the current level, the board will examine the structure and consider if a change is appropriate. An increase in dues would still require approval of two-thirds of the board, and we would not make any change lightly. Engineering educators feel stresses from multiple sources – from the fiscal crisis in Washington and the states that looms over the funding of educational institutions, to technological advances forcing curricula to change and skills to be updated, to dealing with the evolving characteristics of incoming students – all while many of you have gone without raises for years.

As engineering education changes, ASEE is working hard to be an essential resource for its members. It is poised to take on new roles, seek out new spheres of influence, and expand the ways it helps you meet your professional obligations. I hope that you’ll take the time to carefully consider this issue and give your elected leadership the ability to respond as needed to keep ASEE thriving and relevant.

In addition to this amendment, you will be asked to vote on three others, dealing with the qualifications for the vice president of external relations, Professional Interest Council chair terms of office, and language changes. You will receive materials providing more details.

Don P. Giddens
President of ASEE




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