Draft/August 15, 2007

System Dynamics Society

Policy Council

July 29, 2007

Seaport Hotel, Boston, MA USA



In Attendance




Qifan Wang (President), James Lyneis (President Elect), Mike Radzicki (Past President), David Packer (Secretary), Robert Eberlein (Vice President-Electronic Presence), David Andersen (Vice President--Finance), Deborah Lines Andersen (Vice President-Publications), Ginny Wiley (Vice President-Chapter Activities), Deborah Campbell (Vice President-Member Services), Joel Rahn (Vice President at Large), Andreas Grossler (Vice President Meetings) Brian Dangerfield (Executive Editor, System Dynamics Review), Jay Forrester (Founding President),


Policy Council:


Henk Akkermans, Scott Johnson, Brad Morrison, Scott Johnson, Krys Stave, Jim Thompson, Ali Karem Saysel, Krys Stave, Ozge Pala, Warren Tignor,  Khaled Wahba. 


Assistant VPs:

Ed Anderson (Assistant to Secretary), Agata Sawicka (AVP Member Services), Aldo Zagonel (AVP Chapter Activities).




Stefano Armenia, Yaman Barlas, Enzo Birona, Susan Forrester, Nikko Georgantzas, Tim Haslett, Birgit Kopainsky, Peter Milling,  John Morecroft, Erling Moxnes, Oleg Pavlov, John Sterman, George Richardson,  Etienne Rouwette, Graham Russel (John Wiley), Yutaka Takahashi (Japan Chapter Liaison), Lars Weber, Jeff Trailer, Imrana Umar, Bing Wu, Roberta Spencer (Executive Director).



Call to Order/Welcome and Announcements (President Qifan Wang):



Qifan called the meeting to order at 11:20pm, reviewed meeting procedures and overviewed the agenda. Those present introduced themselves, standing as they did so.  Qifan also thanked outgoing members. 


Minutes (Secretary Dave Packer):

Brad Morrison moved, Bob Eberlein seconding, approval of the minutes of the 2006 Summer Meeting in Nijmegen.  Approved unanimously.

Bob Eberlein read the six motions and their disposition handled electronically since the last meeting (they are on the Society Governance site through the 2007 Winter Meeting item).




VP Chapter Activities (Ginny Wiley): Report

Ginny first moved to accept the German Chapter into the System Dynamics Society, Bob Eberlein seconding.  All requirements have been met, their constitution has been reviewed and is in order, and they have the requisite ten members of the Society. The motion passed unanimously.  Ginny then briefly reviewed her report and noted that the chapters are doing well and growing in number with three new proposals in the pipeline, which will bring the total to twenty.  She gave thanks to Aldo Zagonel for his fine support as Assistant VP of Chapter Activities, especially in gathering information for Chapter reports. Finally she welcomed Tim Hasslet who is replacing her as her term expires this year.        


VP Member Services (Deborah Campbell); Report

Deborah referenced her report and noted several key points, specifically that the Diversity Committee is continuing under the leadership of Peter Hovmand, that Agata Sawicka is in place as her Assistant VP since February, that a new dues structure proposal and nominating process has been developed, and that the SIG’s are healthy and active especially during the conference.


VP Finance (David Andersen): Report

As background for the 2008 budget proposal, David referred to his complete report and noted that he projects surpluses for the Society in both 2007 and in the 2008 budget (noting, however, that projections can be risky). He noted that performance in 2007 favorable to the budget resulted largely from conference results and from investment income.  He also described the financial structure of the Society, including our IFR Contract with SUNY.  He noted that the balance sheet should show that about $100,000 of our assets are restricted due to our agreement with SUNY to support Roberta Spencer (who now has the equivalent of tenure) for up to one-year in the unlikely event we decide to move or to release her.


A lively discussion covered questions on our endowment spending policy (we have none), how to offset declining product sales (we are always looking for product ideas—let the home office know), funding for the PhD colloquium.  Dave Packer noted that we have substantial financial strength ($600,000 in assets) and suggested we look for ways to use some of this strength in developing the field.


A motion to accept the proposed budget (Dave Packer, with Bob Eberlein seconding) was made.  The motion passed with one abstention. 


VP at Large (Joel Rahn):

Joel introduced himself and commented briefly on his role.


VP Electronic Presence (Bob Eberlein): Report

Bob reported that we have moved to a dedicated server, for better performance and so that chapters and SIGs can have free websites.  There are also plans for WIKI capability.


Webmaster Jack Pugh and Bob Eberlein are coordinating the improvements to the Society web site.  Ginny Wiley noted the need for better guidance as to where chapter reports should be submitted.


VP Publications (Deborah Lines Andersen): Report

Deborah briefly reviewed her report, citing as key items the completion of the Dynamica project, improvements to the free bibliography, and a current project of making old Society Newsletters accessible.  She encouraged people to look at the bibliography and noted that we are moving to open source one year at a time so that all proceedings will be available. 



VP Meetings (Andreas Grossler): Report

ISDC Conferences were reviewed year by year, as follows.


2007 (Boston):  This conference has set records for number of papers, participants, and sponsors.  Thanks to the organizing committee! Report


2008 (Athens):  Brian Dangerfield reported on the status of planning and execution for this conference.  He is the Program Chair and Nikko Georgantzas is the Co-Conference Chair. Padras University is very involved but distant from Athens; Pantheon University in Athens is also involved and will supply A/V equipment.  Sponsors should be in place by the end of the year.  The local chapter is employing an agency to deal with the hotel, a different way than usual but required by the hotel.  There was significant concern that a contract had not yet been executed and we are less than one year away from the conference.  A specific question is whether the $150/night room rate, as in the proposal will be achieved.  Extensive discussion focused on concerns about the contract, the working relationship with the agency, and possible financial implications of using an agent. We also need a strong footprint on the ground from local people and should recruit some to do this.   Resolving these concerns must be top priority and may entail a second site visit.   


At a higher level, Scott Johnson suggested that the Society needs a process for creating a risk management plan for conferences.  Henk Akkerman noted our conscious decision for Greece for a central hotel venue (vs. a campus setting), for local network responsibility for planning, and for a high value for attractiveness of the location….all factors that we might reconsider in the future.  Also, the fact that no local planners are attending this conference is a concern. 


2009 Albuquerque, NM:  Aldo Zagonel gave a status update with no major issues in sight.  The contract has been signed as proposed.  A special track for the local community and other national laboratories is planned.  There is a high degree of enthusiasm among the planning team and local sponsors.


2010:  This conference, by Policy Council decision, will be in Asia.  There is no pre-proposal yet, which should be presented here.  Asian representatives from China, Japan, and Korea are meeting in Shanghai October 19-21 to develop a proposal, to be available in early November 2007 for electronic discussion. 


2011: Interest in hosting has been expressed by a person in Rome. 


Executive Editor, System Dynamics Review (Brian Dangerfield): Report

Brian reviewed his full report, noting the special 50th Anniversary double issue planned for September.  It was suggested that information from reviewers on articles would be good to have on line so authors can see it.


System Dynamics Review Publisher, John Wiley (Graham Russell): Report

Graham reviewed his report noting especially that Wily has purchased Blackwell, giving the combination more ISI ranked journals in social sciences, that downloads for 2006 were up 5% over 2005, and that they are working on better ways of handling supplemental materials (models, video, and the like).


Administrative Committee (David Andersen for Peter Milling):

This committee oversees financial issues and is a watchdog on David Andersen, who manages the IFR contract with SUNY for the Society.  It met earlier in the day and endorsed the 2008 Budget proposal as well as the proposal for changing dues. 


Conference Scholarship Committee (Bob Eberlein):

Bob said he is a committee of one.  Five gratis rooms were available for this conference from the Seaport Hotel and conference fees were waived for scholarship recipients.  Next year, there will be cash awards to cover accommodation costs in Athens. Number of applicants has decreased and we should publicize this more.  Scholarships require a paper accepted for the conference.


Dana Meadows Award (Joel Rahn):

Joel noted the need to think about composition, selection, and terms for this committee.  He moved, David Andersen seconding, that a committee be established to this and bring a proposal to the winter meeting.  The motion passed unanimously.


It was suggested that the Forrester Award Committee might need the same attention. 


Executive Director (Roberta Spencer): Report

Roberta referred to her comprehensive report for a complete update.  She highlighted the completion of the digitizing projects, availability of the “Fireside Chat” DVD and the Dana Meadows “Electronic Oracle” book at the Pegasus booth, and the availability of all proceedings for this conference on the web.  She noted that membership is up to 1070 and that sponsors are healthy and loyal.  Improvements to the conference process, such as reorganizing spreadsheets, and innovations like the very successful Navigator program for first-time attendees, done by James Meluish.



Additions to the Agenda:

Brian Dangerfield asked what had happened to the Lifetime Achievement Award proposal discussed at an earlier meeting.  Dave Packer noted that it had been withdrawn at that time.




Society Dues Restructure Proposal (Agata Sawicka/Deborah Campbell):


Agata presented a proposal for dues based on a 6 tier income-based structure, with an option for discounted membership ($15) for electronic delivery of the SDR only.  David Andersen said the financial impact of this change would be slightly favorable—virtually nil.  The Administrative Committee has endorsed the proposal. 


Extensive discussion covered such items as how to verify income (will not try), what income is expected (household income, self reported), is there still a student rate (no, this goes away), could there be additional donations by individuals (will be considered), are there security issues (the Society does not release any information on individuals).  There was also a suggestion to add an “organization/corporate” tier.


Deborah Campbell moved, Jim Thompson seconding, that we accept the dues structure as presented, effective in 2008.  Bob Eberlein offered a friendly amendment giving the committee authorization to make revisions relating to the discussion if they see fit.  The motion passed unanimously.  This will be reviewed formally in two years.


Nominating Structure (Jim Lyneis): Report  


Jim stated the intent of the proposal was to improve institutional memory and have a clearer, more transparent process.  Jim and Deborah Campbell, motivated by the nominating issues raised during the winter meeting, developed it.


Discussion of the proposal was lively and thorough.  Key elements of the proposal were:


1. Announcement of positions open (Policy Council, VPs, Assistant VPs at the annual business meeting and in the next newsletter, requesting those interested in letting the Nominating Committee know.


2. Nominating Committee to present a slate of candidates to the Policy Council by 31 December of each year.


3.  Policy Council to develop a set of strategic objectives for growth and advancement of the Society, and outline objectives for the composition of the Policy Council as guidance to the Nominating Committee.


4.  Nominating Committee provides a bio of candidates with supporting information to the Policy Council.  (Note: the original proposal also required a brief rational for the slate and the resultant Policy Council, but this requirement was withdrawn by the proposer)


5.  To provide institutional memory through overlap on the Nominating Committee, the size and composition of the committee was discussed, resulting in the following motion by Jim Lyneis, Bob Eberlein seconding:


The size of the Nominating Committee shall be six members.  Three members shall be the Past President (Chair), the President, and the President-Elect; the other three members shall be appointed for staggered 3-year terms.”  The motion was approved, resulting in a change to the Policies of the Society.


Nominating Committee (Mike Radzicki):

Past President Radzicki, chair of the Nominating Committee, moved, Bob Eberlein seconding, that the three appointed committee members be: Yaman Barlas (one year), Osge Pala (two years), and Deborah Campbell (three years).  The motion passed unanimously.


Assistant Vice Presidents (Jim Lyneis):

Jim asked that people wanting to be Assistant VPs and VPs wanting Assistants let him know.  This role will be more fully fleshed out in the future.  




Next Fifty Years (Qifan Wang): Report

Qifan announced a team to embark on long-term strategic thinking about the next fifty years, to report to the Policy Council.  Members appointed are: Joel Rahn (chair), Deborah Campbell, and Yataka Takahshi.  Brad Morrison suggested stressing the Society’s role and Jim Thompson noted the power of vision in creating favorable futures.


Revisit of Lifetime Membership Idea (Brian Dangerfield):

This idea came out of the Forrester Award Committee to honor key contributors to the field.  After some discussion, no concensus was reached on whether this was desirable, so the topic was dropped.


SDR Editors (Brian Dangerfield):

Brian noted that the editors roles were becoming quite onerous, and suggested we consider some rewards for these efforts.  David Andersen said a budget proposal would be welcomed. This topic will be coordinated with Publications and the Administrative Committee.


2008 Conference Revisit (Bob Eberlein): 
Bob moved that an ad-hoc committee headed by Andreas Grossler and Scott Johnson oversee the Athens conference issues and concerns.  The motion passed.


Electronic Meetings (Bob Eberlein):

Bob noted the results of the electronic winter meetings over the last two years have been very poor, a result of geography, complex processes, and the like.  There was general consensus that this indeed is true and that we need better ways to operate between the summer conferences.  Ideas expressed on this topic included noting that different group sizes are appropriate for different topics, and that a smaller winter face-to-face meeting would need to operate in a different way; that teams should do proposals for Policy Council decisions (like the dues proposal) rather than embarking on large group discussions of specifics; that meetings are important as they focus the issues; and that email discussions work better than forums.


Bob suggested that there be a face-to-face winter meeting, with no decisions and with motions being voted electronically to involve everyone, and that the mailing list be used for discussion.


No decision was taken.  The President will decide the path forward.



The meeting was adjourned by unanimous vote at 5:25pm


Respectfully Submitted,

David W. Packer, Secretary

Assisted by Ed Anderson, Assistant VP (Secretary)

August 15, 2007