Minutes of the Meeting of the Policy Council of the System Dynamics Society

1 August 1995

Gakushuin University

Tokyo, Japan

In Attendance.


Andy Ford (Past President), David Lane (Vice President - Publications), John D. W. Morecroft (President Elect), Michael J. Radzicki (Secretary), Khalid Saeed (President)

Policy Council:

Lou Alfeld, Julia DiStefano, Robert Eberlein, Saburo Kameyama


David Andersen, Peter Milling, George P. Richardson, Habib Sedehi, Toshiro Shimada, John D. Sterman, Graham Winch (System Dynamics Review Editor)

1. Call to Order.

The meeting was called to order at 5:50 PM by President Saeed.

2. Secretary's Report.

Mike Radzicki moved and Bob Eberlein seconded a motion that "the minutes of the April 3, 1995 meeting of the Policy Council be approved." The motion passed.

3. Vice President - Finance's Report.

Bob Eberlein distributed a report from Jack Pugh, Vice President - Finance. The report noted that the Society pre-paid several FY 1995 expenses in FY 1994 in order to reduce its 1994 gains in income. This was necessary because the Society is a nonprofit organization and, as such, must not accumulate a large amount of income.

Society income was up from the sale of beer games, greater-than-budget interest income, and membership fees, but lower due to reduced conference income and fewer Society sponsorships.

Society expenses were reasonable except for journal expenditures, which were $15,000 over budget. The over-budget expenditures are attributable to the change in editorship of the Review (the new editor's institution contributes a smaller amount to his expenses than the previous editor's institution did), to the expense of the membership directory which had previously not been explicitly budgeted for, and to an unbudgeted expense of $4,250 for journals distributed at the 1994 Stirling conference.

4. System Dynamics Review Editor's Report.

Graham Winch extended his thanks to Andy Ford and Jac Vennix for their help and support during his first year as editor. Winch then reported that the journal's backlog of papers is low and suggested that conference organizers and associate editors of the Review routinely scan the conference proceedings for papers that may be worthy of publication after completing the refereeing process. Khalid Saeed agreed and suggested that a letter could easily be drafted by conference organizers and automatically sent out to any author who submitted a paper that was deemed of sufficient quality to compete for space in the Review. Graham Winch agreed to work out a procedure based on these ideas for the 1996 conference, If the procedure works well, it can be institutionalized.

5. Creation of a Nominating Committee.

Past President Andy Ford reported that a Nominating Committee must be formed and charged with the task of selecting a slate of candidates for the Policy Council. Bob Eberlein moved and George Richardson seconded a motion that "Mike Radzicki and Peter Milling join Andy Ford on the Nominating Committee." The motion passed. Andy Ford announced that anyone who wishes to nominate someone for the Policy Council should talk to a member of the Committee. The positions that need to be filled are:

  1. President-Elect (1997) [Presiding as President in 1998]
  2. Vice President - Publications [taking office in 1997]
  3. Secretary [taking office in 1997]
  4. Four Members of the Policy Council [taking office in 1997]

6. Society Sponsors.

Mike Radzicki encouraged Policy Council members to solicit sponsors for the Society whenever possible. A discussion followed about raising the price of Society sponsorship above $1000. As the Society is currently not in financial need, the consensus view was that the sponsorship price should not be changed.

7. Jay Wright Forrester Award.

John Sterman reported that a 1995 winner of the Jay Wright Forrester Award had been selected by the Committee. He also noted that the number of nominations has been low and that the Policy Council should encourage Society members to nominate exceptional work in the field for the award. A discussion followed about how to increase the number of nominations. Sterman reported that people cannot nominate themselves and that, in the past, creating and distributing a standardized nomination form did not increase the number of nominations.

8. Founding President.

Bob Eberlein moved and David Lane seconded a motion that "the Founding President be made a permanent voting officer of the Policy Council of the System Dynamics Society." The motion passed unanimously.

9. Honoring Jack Pugh.

John Morecroft moved and Bob Eberlein seconded a motion that "the Society honor Jack Pugh for his contributions to the field of System Dynamics." The motion passed unanimously. John Sterman and George Richardson reported that the organizers of the 1996 system dynamics conference will make arrangements to honor Jack at the conference.

10. Chapter Reports.

Bob Eberlein reported that there are currently two chapters of the Society: a Chinese chapter and a Japanese chapter. He further noted that a proposal for the formation of an Italian chapter had been received and that a proposal for the formation of an Australian chapter will be presented to the Policy Council at its January meeting. Finally, he mentioned the need for a formal procedure whereby chapter presidents can report their chapter's activities to the Society. Eberlein agreed to create a draft of such a procedure for review by the Policy Council.

The focus of the Policy Council then turned toward chapter reports. The report from the Chinese chapter was deferred until the next Policy Council meeting. Toshiro Shimada reported on the activities of the Japanese chapter. He noted that the chapter had monthly meetings and published a Japanese language system dynamics magazine two to three times per year. The Japanese chapter currently has about 29 members and, since about 100 Japanese people were attending the 1995 system dynamics conference, he hoped that membership would increase.

Habib Sedehi distributed a draft of the constitution of the (proposed) Italian chapter of the Society. He noted that he had assembled a group of chapter officers and recruited 33 members for the chapter. He also noted that there may be a discrepancy between the "official" list of Italians who are members of the Society (a minimum of 10 are necessary to form a Society chapter) and the actual number of Italians who are members of the Society.

At this point, the Council began discussing ways to obtain an updated list of Society members from John Wiley and Sons, as well as annual lists of those persons who do not renew their membership. The consensus view was that the Vice President - Member Activities should undertake this task and think creatively about ways to use the data.

Bob Eberlein noted that, procedurally, a committee needed to be appointed to review the Italian constitution and proposal to form a new chapter. Lou Alfeld moved and Julia DiStefano seconded a motion.that "Bob Eberlein and Mike Radzicki comprise the committee to review the proposal to form an Italian chapter of the System Dynamics Society." The motion passed.

11. The 1996 System Dynamics Conference.

John Sterman reported that the 1996 System Dynamics Conference will be held July 22-25 1996 in Boston. A contract has been signed with the Cambridge Mariott hotel. All conference attendees will be housed in the hotel. The informal theme of the conference will be: "Show Us Your Best Stuff." The conference will celebrate the 40th anniversary of the founding of the field of system dynamics.

George Richardson handed out a copy of the conference brochure. Bob Eberlein noted that the conference is being guaranteed by the organizations listed on the back of the brochure. These organizations have each provided $5000 to the conference organizers. If the conference does not run a deficit, the organizations will get their money back. The conference is budgeting for a break-even attendance of 300 people.

12. Future Conference Sites.

A discussion of the sites for the 1997, 1998, and 1999 System Dynamics Conferences were deferred to the next Policy Council meeting. John Sterman moved and Julia DiStefano seconded a motion that "the 1998 conference must be held in North America." The motion passed.

13. Report on Future Conference Logistics.

David Andersen reviewed the problem of conference logistics for the Council. He reported that a committee (David Andersen, George Richardson, and Jack Pugh) has been formed to explore ways in which the Society can alter its conference format. Suggestions have ranged from hiring professional conference organizers, to holding the Society's annual conference in conjunction with another society's conference, to holding the Society's conference every two years.

George Richardson reported that the committee is still working on its recommendations and that they will have a "terrific" report for the Policy Council at its January meeting. President Saeed added John Morecroft to the committee and made David Andersen chairman.

14. Announcing the System Dynamics Conference in Journals.

Mike Radzicki reported (for Yaman Barlas) that the Society has been poor at announcing its annual conference in academic journals. It was emphasized that conference information must be sent to the journals as soon as possible, so that it the various publication deadlines can be met.

The consensus view was that the program chairperson should always send the details of the conference (call for papers, dates, site, etc.) to a designated person, and that that person will relay the information to the editors of a list of journals provided by the Policy Council. President Saeed appointed Mike Radzicki, David Lane, John Morecroft, and Bob Eberlein to a committee who will assemble the list of journals. Bob Eberlein agreed to be the person who will relay the conference information to the journal editors.

15. Adjournment.

John Sterman moved and John Morecroft seconded a motion "to adjourn." The motion passed. The meeting was adjourned at 7:35 PM.

Respectfully submitted.

Michael J. Radzicki