Friday, 24 June 2011 09:29

Annual Report 2010-2011: Vice-President (Membership) Grant Clark

Membership Committee

The mandate of the Vice President Membership is to act with the Executive Council and the Membership Recruitment Committee, the latter of which is comprised of the Regional Directors, to maintain and increase membership in the Society. The specific responsibilities associated with this office are described in the Society’s Procedures and Operations Manual available on the website (www.bioeng.ca).

Membership trends

Figure 1 shows the demographics for the Canadian Society for Bioengineering (CSBE) for the years from 2002 to 2011. Seventy-nine new members joined in 2011, which is about the same as the historic average, but a marked drop from the larger membership cohorts that joined the CSBE in 2006-2008. Retention from those large cohorts has been proportionately lower than retention of cohorts from prior years, resulting in a net decline from recent higher membership numbers to a total of 585.




Figure 1. Membership breakdown by cohort. Total membership is shown in bold at the top of each column. Cohorts are shown by color, by year of first enrolment. This year

Membership by region

Membership has remained approximately steady in all geographical regions (Figure 2), with marginal declines in some. The notable exception is in Saskatchewan, which showed a substantial decrease in membership. This is probably due to the current reorganization of the Biological Engineering program at the University of Saskatchewan. No new members joined the CSBE from Saskatchewan this year.

Membership by technical area


Figure 2. Membership breakdown by geographical area. Total membership is indicated n bold at the top of the columns. Categories are stacked in the same order as they appear in the legend. Members categorized as “Other” reside outside Canada or the USA.

Figure 3 shows the distribution of members among areas of technical interest. There was a decline among all the major categories this year proportional to the number of members in each. Members that do not indicate a primary area of expertise are likely to be new students, the number of whom has been impacted this year by the aforementioned events at the University of Saskatchewan.


Figure 3. Membership breakdown by primary technical area. Categories are stacked in graphic in the same order as they appear in the legend. Members categorized as “None” did not indicate a primary technical area.



A telephone conference of the Membership Committee was held in October 2010, and a number of possible initiatives were discussed. Some of those have been implemented, as described below, while others remain in gestation. Another meeting of the membership committee will be held during the upcoming Annual General Meeting. The VP Membership represented the CSBE on the Membership Development Committee of the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineering (ASABE) by participating in several telephone conferences.

The past year has seen continued improvement of the website and associated online services, as reported elsewhere by webmaster René Morissette. Anne-Marie Chapman has created a Facebook page for the society. Editor Sri Ranjan has been bringing to fruition many of the plans for Canadian Biosystems Engineering, the CSBE’s journal. A vigorous local arrangements committee is preparing to welcome us all to Winnipeg this year to the Annual General Meeting and Technical Conference.

The CSBE is now active an member organization of the Engineering Institute of Canada (EIC) and the Agricultural Institute of Canada (AIC). The CSBE is also reaching out to Engineers Without Borders (EWB) and the Canadian Society for Chemical Engineering (CSChE) to explore areas of mutual interest and cooperation.

Several regional meetings and workshops continue to deliver value to membership at the local level, as reported elsewhere in this issue of Perspectives. The society is also participating in the organization of several national and international conferences to be held in the coming years. The 2012 annual meeting of  the society will be held in Barrie, ON, jointly with the Northeast Agricultural and Biological Engineering Conference (NABEC). The CSBE is a co-sponsor of the EIC’s 2013 Climate Change Technology Conference, to be held in Montreal. The 2014 CSBE annual meeting, also in Montreal, will be held jointly with the ASABE annual conference.

A partial list was compiled of post-secondary academic units in each region that are accredited in, or related to, biological engineering. This list will serve as the basis for outreach to those units to explore new membership pools for the CSBE. At an individual level, the CSBE and the CSBE Foundation continue to subsidize the entire membership fee of all student members of the society who are registered at a Canadian university in accredited engineering programs related to biological engineering. The first year of membership of graduate students and young professionals graduating from such programs is also subsidized. Annual prizes for continue to be offered to undergraduate and graduate student members of the CSBE through the university engineering departments.

I encourage you to actively participate in the CSBE to ensure its continued utility as a valuable professional resource, and welcome your feedback and ideas.

Read 11889 times Last modified on Friday, 24 June 2011 09:36
Grant Clark

Grant grew up on a mixed farm in Central Alberta. He received an industry-cooperative B.Sc. in Agricultural Engineering from the University of Alberta, Edmonton (1993) and a Ph.D. in Biosystems Engineering from McGill University, Montreal (2000). Grant then worked as a Research Associate and Assistant Professor at the University of Alberta until coming to McGill in 2007. His research program in ecological engineering involves the use of computational tools and physical systems to study how ecosystems can be designed, created and managed so as to provide services and solutions.

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