Minutes of Telecon Meeting of January 28, 2014

Activity Date: 
Tuesday, January 28, 2014
From:

Neil Dwivedi Pundit, PhD, 1961 TC

President, BITSAA of North America
1354 Plumosa Way
Weston, FL 33327
H: 505-821-3295
 
Dear Friends,
 
The BOD and the ADV BD of the BIT Sindri Alumni Association of North America (BITSAA of NA) met by teleconference starting at 10:30pm ET on January 28 (Tuesday), 2014 for about 90 minutes. Weather in GA, TX, and elsewhere prevented some attendance. Late start was necessitated by the State of the Union Address of President Obama.
 
Present were: Neil, Arunima, Uttara, Bharat, Anil, Naresh, Ramesh, and Raj.
 
The Agenda for the meeting was sent out earlier, and we followed it. The summary Minutes follow the Agenda.
 
1. Directors Reports:
 
- Arunima, joined by Uttara, emphasized the need for a succinct material to seek out alumni, yet to join our Association. The material can be distributed at Indian gatherings, posted on Indian Grocery Stores, Temples, Gurudwaras, etc. Also used for Radio Ads. It should cover: why join the Alumni Association? Sense of belonging, helping Alma Mater, some highlighted recent activities, reports of visits to Sindri, etc can be elements covered in the brochure. It should address why be a member. It was a spirited discussion in which everyone chimed in.
 
ACTION: Neil promised to send some text to Arunima. Others are also encouraged.
 
- Bharat plans to visit Sindri in March, and would like to give a talk there - to be arranged. He is planning a Regional meeting in Niagara area to attract people from upstate NY and Toronto area. Sometime in May or June. It would be in collaboration with Raj, who joined later (teleconference number does NOT work in Canada!) Memorial Day Weekend was mentioned as a possibility.
 
- Ramesh talked about his frequent communication with his active team in the SF Bay Area. He suggested a monthly communication of the Association.
 
- Raj in his first teleconference participation, enabled thru a call to Neil's iPad, explained his being on travel a lot, but hopes to be more active. He mentioned of possible participation by an alum Dr Ajit Singh (sp?), EE Professor at Waterloo. While he is not in our list yet, Ramesh(?) mentioned he knows Ajit. 
 
- Naresh mentioned that his open invitations on our website for alumni to join attracted only bogus entries, resulting in his shutting down the invitation pending stronger filtering. Lateness of the hour prevented a discussion.
 
2. ADVBD Role and Responsibilities: Anil led the discussion by summarizing the pertinent bylaws, communications from me (Neil); Uttara added prior discussions in emails and BOD deliberations; many chimed in. We concluded that all alumni listed anywhere as "Distinguished" should be grandfathered. The ADVBD will nominate, in addition, a few more from our list of some 400 members. Neil expressed a need for a defined process with criteria for nominations. Uttara and Neil will provide to Anil our prior deliberations on the topic. Neil mentioned "service to the Association, to Alma Mater", in addition to other qualifications, as an important factor.
 
3. Calendar Year 2013 Summary: In absence of Divy we did not fully address the matter except some parts covered by Neil in a letter to Life Members, copied to BOD and ADVBD. At Anil's request Neil elaborated on Merger issue which is essentially postponed by the Chief Minister who wishes to retain BIT Sindri as the only established State institution. The Jharkhand Public Service Commission has advertised 160+ faculty positions. An investigation has been launched for the incomplete IT building which lacks windows, doors, and indoor finishes. Raj pointed out from his own prior experience that retired and/or visiting professors on duty can be counted toward meeting UGC's minimum staffing ratio of 55%.
 
4. Annual Meeting 2014 in NJ Area: This topic was skipped in absence of Divy who is to propose a Local Chair.
 
5. Special Projects:
 
a. Getting to 1000 by 2015 - was partly covered under item 1 by Arunima and Uttara.
 
b. Naresh on Website Update - to be covered at the next meeting
 
c. Ramesh on Travel Award: He outlined a process for choosing candidates, criteria to be met, a number of days of stay and talk at Sindri, etc. He will follow by email.
 
6. New Business: Neil mentioned that Dilip has taken a job in Atlanta, and is in the process of moving there. We need to find a replacement for a Regional Director, preferably in greater Houston or greater Dallas area. 
 
7. Then, we adjourned.
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PS:
1. Neil was able to get enough votes to approve the minutes of the November 2013 telemeeting distributed earlier.
 
2. Our Next scheduled meeting is on February 25 (last Tuesday) starting at 9:30pm ET.
 
3. Comments/Approval of these minutes would be appreciated, particularly by the attendees.