In 2001 ASTM International launched its memorandum of understanding program as a way to foster cooperation with the dozens of national standards bodies in primarily developing countries. This month we’ve devoted several pages of this magazine to these colleagues and friends around the world whom we call our MOU partners. The summaries of activities ASTM has undertaken with its 48 partners appears right after an article by ASTM’s Vice President of Global Cooperation, Kitty Kono (who will be retiring at the end of this month), about the ASTM Global Cooperation division she helped found and which is six years old this summer. These articles speak for themselves and I welcome you to peruse them.
In this issue you will also find another in our series of occasional articles on standards in education. Dru Meadows, a member of the sustainability subcommittee of ASTM Committee E06 on Performance of Buildings, discusses the class she teaches at Oklahoma State University on sustainability and international standards. In her syllabus, Meadows incorporates not only information about standards, but has students write an ASTM standard, culminating in a classroom “committee week” during which they present their standards for comments and votes from their classmates a process most ASTM members know well.
Meadows’ article provides a valuable model for hands-on learning this month, as students begin returning to their dorms and classes and ASTM International marks the start of the fall semester of its own Year of the Student. ASTM International began its academic outreach program in 2003 by creating a student membership category through which students at the college and university level can join ASTM for free and transition if they like, upon graduation, to full membership at a reduced fee. Wanting to increase its service to the academic community and meet their needs for easy access to standards and information about them, ASTM has enhanced this program with its 2007 Year of the Student campaign.
The vanguard of the campaign is the updated ASTM International Campus. Here both students and their professors can get a head start toward understanding the world of standards. There are PowerPoint learning modules on standards development, the role of standards in everyday life and the intellectual property issue; peer-to-peer articles aimed at professors on bringing standards into the classroom; and interviews with students and professors about their experience with standardization. Another key component of the academic program introduced this year is Standards on Campus, a way for professors to order up to 10 standards that each of their students can purchase for only 10 U.S. dollars.
Enhancements such as these, plus campus visits conducted in the U.S. and abroad by ASTM International staff and members, and promotions in The Chronicle of Higher Education, have resulted in a 32 percent increase in the number of student members in ASTM International, many of whom are from developing economies such as India, Pakistan and Nigeria. This can only benefit the entire standards development community after all, today’s students are tomorrow’s technical experts and standards writers.
Editor in Chief