Systems, Man & Cybernetics - July 2015 - 66

and Automation Society. During my
period of increasing involvement
with SMCS, my career involved both
fundamental and applied research
in robotics but also involved me in
responsible roles of development,
systems engineering, and operation
for real-world (or other-world, as
it were) robotic missions on Mars.
Serving as a flight systems engineer
for the NASA Mars Exploration Rovers' autonomous navigation capability and as lead analyst for their
mobility and robotic arm operations on the surface of Mars (a small
element of the large-scale mission
system), I had come to think of the
robotic technology in the broader
context of large systems. Relative to
the IEEE Robotics and Automation
Society, SMCS became equally if not
more relevant to my career.
SMCM: Please tell us about your
early work for the SMCS.
Tunstel: My earliest work for
the SMCS was in the role of program cochair for SMC 2005. It was
a formidable job as a volunteer but
was great in that it involved interacting with many members of the
SMCS through their participation
in the conference as the members
of the organizing committee, paper
authors, and conference delegates. It
was also a great opportunity to serve
the membership and other delegates
through my influence on the technical program for the conference that
year, not only programmatically but
also from a perspective of quality
control. For example, the program
committee under my coleadership
was charged with carrying out the
SMCS objective to move from extended abstracts to full papers as the initial basis for acceptance of papers
for presentation at the conference
and inclusion in the conference proceedings. It was also charged with
the reintroduction of tutorials and a
sharper focus on increased involvement of industry participants.
Not long after the 2005 conference, I was fortunate enough to be
nominated for service on the SMCS
66

BoG and was elected by the SMCS
membership. While serving as a new
board member, I was appointed to
serve as the conference coordinator supporting the vice president for
Conferences and Meetings with the
processing of conference sponsorship requests and proposal evaluations. This introduced me to the
IEEE and SMCS conference policies
and procedures and involved interaction with staff at the IEEE headquarters. I was later nominated and
elected by the BoG to serve as the
next vice president for Conferences and Meetings. Since then, I have
also served two elected terms as the
vice president for Systems Science
and Engineering as well as an associate editor for IEEE Transactions on
Cybernetics and IEEE Transactions
on Systems, Man, and Cybernetics:
Systems. In addition, I continued to
serve on the program committee for
the annual SMC nearly each year and
served as general chair in 2011.
SMCM: Why did you volunteer to
serve as a vice president?
Tunstel: I volunteered to serve as
vice president for Conferences and
Meetings to contribute to the formulation and governance of the SMCS
conference activities, including maintaining its strengths while concentrating on addressing its weaknesses for
the benefit of the SMCS members, the
Society itself, and the IEEE. By then,
I had first-hand exposure to the organizational and leadership roles for the
SMCS's annual flagship conference as
well as the portfolio of conferences
and meetings sponsored by the SMCS.
I became cognizant of areas for organizational and quality improvement
in the annual conference as well as in
the processing of conference sponsorship proposals and postconference
evaluations. Understanding conferences and meetings to be an integral
part of what the SMCS has to offer
and its importance to the membership and the success of the Society,
I wanted to contribute to enhancing
the positive impact that the SMCS and
its sponsored conferences could have.

IEEE SyStEmS, man, & CybErnEtICS magazInE Ju ly 2015

I volunteered to serve as the vice
president for Systems Science and
Engineering to help build on the
SMCS status in the systems community within and outside of the IEEE as
well as to grow systems-centric relationships with other systems-focused
organizations. With the broad nature
of the SMCS fields of interest, its place
within the professional community
of systems science and systems engineering practice is not as clear as it
could be to interested members and
nonmembers. Therefore, I wanted to
offer my efforts toward improving that
situation through the identification and
highlighting of SMCS strengths in academic veins of systems research. Being
employed at an organization that prides
itself on its systems engineering core
competency, and around coworkers
with membership in industry-leaning
professional systems societies due to
more applied than theoretical interests, I could appreciate the reasons
for uncertainty about advantages of
participation in the SMCS activities.
Therefore, I wanted to better communicate the academic complement that the
SMCS brings to the systems community, both theoretical and applied, to help
clarify its place in domains of systems
science and systems engineering.
SMCM: What are the most challenging aspects of being a vice president
for conferences and for technical
activities in the systems science and
engineering area?
Tunstel: One of the most challenging aspects of being a vice president for conferences and meetings
is efficiently managing the required
IEEE/SMCS processes (new conference establishment, sponsorship
approvals, evaluation, and close-out)
to enable a dynamic set of volunteers
to ensure and sustain the quality of all
conferences sponsored and cosponsored by the SMCS. This can be a
challenge in any professional society, but the broad nature of the SMCS
fields of interest make for a broad
technical focus across the many conferences with which it is involved.
As such, quality assurance without



Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Systems, Man & Cybernetics - July 2015

Systems, Man & Cybernetics - July 2015 - Cover1
Systems, Man & Cybernetics - July 2015 - Cover2
Systems, Man & Cybernetics - July 2015 - 1
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Systems, Man & Cybernetics - July 2015 - Cover3
Systems, Man & Cybernetics - July 2015 - Cover4
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