As the Society’s Past President, I was involved in a number of things, including serving as Chair of the By-Laws and Nominating Committees, as well as of the Advisory Council of Past Presidents. As such, I convened the Council of Past Presidents last 23 October 2014, which was attended by 5 Past-Presidents, the current President and President-Elect, and our Society Manager. We discussed critical items for the Society from the point of view of each participant, including those initiatives from past terms that may have been lost in transition but still have significant potential value to the Society. As Chair of the By-Laws Committee, I have been compiling throughout the year any needed amendments to the By-Laws that has come up, in particular those pertaining to eligibility to Member Emeritus status as well as those needed to be in compliance with new requirements of the Canada Corporations Act. These proposed By-Laws amendments will be put forward for approval by the general membership at the upcoming AGM. At the same time, I have compiled the changes needed for the Procedures & Operations Manual to keep it up-to-date, particularly those dealing with procedures related to Member Emeritus and the guidelines for Fellows nomination. As part of the tasks of the Nominating Committee, I have worked with the Council to identify positions with term ending this year, and to search for suitable nominees for the impending vacancies. The slate of candidates will be standing for elections which will be held in time for the AGM. Finally, as an ex-officio member of the Awards Committee, I have worked with the committee Chair in evaluating the nominees and selecting the awardees for the various Society Awards to be given out at the upcoming AGM.
The duties of the Society Manager include the following:
As you are aware, CSBE-SCGAB Society and CSBE-SCGAB Foundation offer several awards every year. Please email me for information. Applicants must be a student member of the Society. The Foundation will pay the membership dues for first-time-ever Graduate Students. Email me for information.
The minutes of the 2014 AGM at the Montreal CSBE/SCGAB ASABE conference are posted on our web site
In 2012, the Foundation established a new program. To help our students with their travel to our CSBE-SCGAB Technical Conference and AGM, the CSBE-SCGAB Foundation will pay the fees for base conference registration for the winner(s) of student awards. In addition, the Foundation will provide $100 per student to a maximum of $400 per academic unit (biological/bioresource, biosystems,... eng. programs), to be used to defray the costs of travel and accommodation for attending the conference. The students must be members in good standing of the CSBE-SCGAB in order to be eligible for the awards, fee waivers, and travel support. Eligible academic units (biological/bioresource, biosystems,... eng. programs) are asked to contact the CSBE-SCGAB Foundation (John Feddes) by June 1st of each year, and provide the name, CSBE-SCGAB membership number, and project or thesis title of each winning student who are planning to travel to the conference site. I need a copy of base conference registration receipt for each student who is requesting support. I will issue a cheque to each student at the Edmonton Annual meeting.
The past 2014 to 2015 year has been very busy for CSBE due to several challenges. Significant amount of time was spent in attending meetings and overseeing and helping to co-ordinate the local arrangements committee for the CSBE Annual Meeting to be held at Edmonton - July 5 to 8, 2015.
Early in 2014, I chaired the CSBE Journal Steering Committee. We met several times through conference calls. The last meeting was held on December 16, 2014. The committee composition is made of Sri Ranjan, Mano Krishnapillai, Stefan Cenkowski, Grant Clark, and Qiang Zhang. We discussed the progress to be made on reviewing the journal paper submissions, and discussed ways to improve the timelines. The CSBE journal does make a unique Canadian contribution to science and industry, but the viability and the value of the journal was analyzed. Resources required for efficient journal management and concerns regarding the availability of peer reviewer’s pool were points of discussion of this committee. It was recognized that the editor’s role is too large, being a taskmaster, a volunteer, and doing the editorial work. We also considered hiring a manager to ensure that the journal operates in a timely fashion. Performance indicators were set to demonstrate that the CSBE Journal is moving forward in a desirable direction. Because of implementation of some of the strategies discussed from this CSBE Journal Steering committee, the timelines in processing the journal papers have considerably improved. Serving as a VP (Technical) and also as an Associate Editor (Instrumentation) for the CSBE Journal, I was able to appreciate the challenges from both the journal operations side, and also from the executive member’s perspective in serving the needs of the members at large, i.e., authors and readers of the journal. The CSBE journal has started to achieve new rapid turnaround times in processing the papers recently.
I have been working very closely with the local arrangements committee and the technical committee to develop the technical program for the annual conference. Thanks to Ike Edeogu, Murray Tenove, Rick Atkins and all the other members of the Alberta Local Arrangements Committee of CSBE 2015 Edmonton for all their hard work, dedication and sincere efforts. A total of 6 sponsorships has been received from a variety of organizations namely Lakeland college ($750), OPI Systems ($1000), City of Edmonton ($2000 cash and $500 inkind), Beaver Plastics (app $2000 cash) Alberta Beef Producers ($1000 cash) and Serecon ($750). Thanks to Jason Price of the Government of Alberta for leading on this sponsorship engagement. Few letters of invitation were also prepared and sent to some of the international delegates towards assisting their Canadian visa application processes.
Dr. Stan Blade, the Dean of the Faculty of Agricultural, Life and Environmental Sciences of the University of Alberta will serve as the plenary speaker during our conference. On Wednesday July 8th, 2015 a panel will be held on 'The Impact of Social License on Sustainable Food Production in Canada'. Sean Royer - Executive Director of ARD, Lynda Kuhn - Senior VP of Maple Leaf Foods, Representative from both Beef Producer of Alberta and Ducks Unlimited will serve as panelists. A total of 108 presentations including oral and posters has been received from our members to date to present during the upcoming annual meeting. Three technical tours (Vegreville, Camrose, and the city of Edmonton) have been organized to showcase the wild rose country of Canada. Fundamentals of Environmental Law, Prospective People Skills, Bio-Energy Dialogue Workshop and Measuring Sustainability – The Canadian Field Print Calculator are the 4 workshops tentatively arranged for as of now to be held on July 5th and July 8th.
With this annual report, I am concluding optimistically that the upcoming year will be an uphill task for CSBE focusing on a period of performance, membership engagement, and rebuilding our capacity. We are committed to an unwavering focus on technical operational improvements to enhance the mandate of our CSBE society.
This was an extremely busy year for me but I did manage to participate in most of the CSBE-SCGAB Council meetings via conference call as well as the ASABE Membership Development Committee meeting in December and the CSBE Membership Engagement Committee meeting in April (both also via telephone conference calls).
I have reviewed the Bylaws and Procedures Operational Manual regarding “member emeritus” and have recommended some additions to be considered at the annual meeting.
I prepared a welcome letter for new members who joined our organization in 2014 to accompany the Membership Certificate that was prepared by John Feddes and mailed to each new member.
This will be done again this summer for new members joining in 2015. Any others who would like a membership certificate can contact Society Manager, John Feddes or myself.
The term of initial membership for students was clarified as being between 5 and 16 months. A membership application made in September at the start of fall school term would run until December 31 of the following calendar year. Any application received between January and August in the current year would only be effective until December 31 of that same year.
I promoted membership in the CSBE-SCGAB at an engineering meeting hosted by the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture & Rural Affairs in October 2014 and again at a careers night held at the University of Guelph in January 2015.
I researched the possibility of adding a sub-category of International Member to recognize the reduced ability of potential members from low income countries to afford the standard international fee to join CSBE-SCGAB and ASABE. A reduced fee schedule, similar to that used by ASABE was approved by Council at our April 15th, 2015 meeting starting for 2016 fees.
Our big concern early this year was the large number of members who did not renew their membership for 2015. As of the end of February 2015, 158 members and 95 students had not renewed their membership. I requested that the Regional Directors try to make a personal contact with these potential members as I did with all of the unpaid international members to give them a gentle nudge to re-join the fold. At the April meeting of Council, I was given approval to send out a letter via email to all unpaid members asking for them to reconsider or failing that a reason for not renewing. I sent out 210 emails to unpaid members on May 1st, 2015 with 9 invalid emails being bounced back to me. Of the potential 201 recipients, I received 14 responses (7%) with 7 not interested in renewing for the following reasons; 4 – no longer relevant to my work, 1 – budget cut at company, 1 – unemployed for 3 years so cannot continue with cost, 1 – retired for 4 years & no longer interested. For the 7 positive replies; 3 – payment processing issues, 3 – just did not get around to it yet, 1 – department no longer covering my membership so will now need to pay myself.
It would appear that the various personal contacts by Regional Directors and the Vice President (Membership) were effective, since the over-all 2015 membership numbers did rebound significantly and are now essentially the same as last year. Not sure why members do not renew in a more timely manner.
Number of Members
660 paid including students
570 paid including 125 students
574 paid including 107 students
Ending on a bright note, we are welcoming 10 brand new members, 30 student members and 19 graduate student members for 2015.
The University of Manitoba has been hosting the Open Journal System (OJS) free of charge since 2009 to help with the online review process. Over the past six years, I have customized and updated most of the pages in the OJS system to help with the review process of papers submitted to our journal.
The entire collection of past journal papers are now available online and can be accessed here: http://www.csbe-scgab.ca/publications/cbe-journal/browse. The scanned papers were Optical Character Recognition (OCR) processed to enable them to be searched using keywords.
Section Editors have management level access to the Open Journal System (OJS). When papers are submitted to the journal, the Section Editors assign it to three other persons on the Editorial Board to review the paper through the OJS online system. Those assigned the paper can either review the paper themselves or get it reviewed via a personal email to one of their colleagues who are more likely to oblige to review in a timely manner. Each person serving on the Editorial Board is expected to review about 6 to 8 papers in a year. If you are interested in serving on the Editorial Board, please contact the Section Editors who are listed below:
The Section Editors will also serve as the Technical Committee of our Society to help with the evaluation of the conference paper abstracts, formulate Technical Sessions, and solicit worthy papers for submission to the CBE journal. Beginning in 2014, the processing time lines for the accepted papers have been published. To further improve the timeliness of the publication of manuscripts the Council has unanimously voted to approve the following incentive policy:
(a) Reward each reviewer with a credit of $50/manuscript towards page charges of their own manuscripts published in the CBEJ. A credit will be given for a review of acceptable quality and detail, as determined by the Section Editor, received within THREE weeks of assignment of the review. The total credits used by a reviewer towards publication of a single manuscript shall not exceed $100. The credit must be used within two years of being awarded.
(b) Reward each reviewer with a credit of $50/manuscript towards registration in the CSBE-SCGAB Annual Conference. A credit will be given for a review of acceptable quality and detail, as determined by the Section Editor, received within THREE weeks of assignment of the review. The total credits used by a reviewer towards registration at a given conference shall not exceed $100. The credit must be used within two years of being awarded.
In 2012, the Canadian Biosystems Engineering Journal was registered with CrossRef (www.crossref.org) as a member organization allowing the assigning of Digital Object Identifier (DOI) to a paper published in our journal (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Digital_object_identifier). I have used the following system to identify our papers. The http://dx.doi.org is the DOI resolving website. The number 10.7451 identifies our journal. Following that, I have used CBE.year.volume.first_page_number as the format to identify each paper. When you type this URL into a web browser, it will take you directly to the .pdf file of the paper. Therefore, please publicize your papers by providing the DOI link of your paper instead of sending the .pdf file of your paper. This will help properly register the access count with the DOI system. By providing the DOI link you can help improve the impact factor of our journal.
I thank all the authors, reviewers, and the Section Editors for their support in making the publication of our journal possible. We need your continued support in a timely manner to make our journal a successful vehicle for disseminating your research.