2011 Winter Meeting of the Policy Council
Minutes of Face-to-Face Portion, Cambridge, MA, USA
February 14, 2011   11:00 AM

In attendance: Katherine Dykes, Bob Eberlein, David Ford, Jay Forrester, David Lane, Jim Lyneis, Len Malczynski, Brad Morrison, Rogelio Oliva, George Richardson, Khalid Saeed, Roberta Spencer, Lees Stuntz, and Aldo Zagonel.

I. Opening and overview of electronic session (pre face-to-face meeting)

David Lane called the meeting to order, welcomed the new members to the Policy Council, and reviewed the electronic votes that occurred between the end of 2010 summer PC Meeting and the beginning of the 2011 winter PC Meeting.  All four motions voted on were approved:

II. Vice Presidential Reports – Presentation, Discussion and Announcements

A. VP Chapter Activities:  The Policy Council wishes to commend Martin Schaffernicht for an excellent job and a comprehensive report.  The Society wants to identify ways to strengthen chapters, especially dormant ones.  Martin proposes to meet with all representatives from each chapter at the Washington, DC conference to ask what they are doing and how can the Society help.  We should also try to clarify for Martin and the chapters what should be standard reporting items that reflect the health of chapters.

Len Malczynski stated that our website should not list a SIG or Chapter that is not active.  Khalid Saeed suggested that we might consider term limits for chapters and that we should think of ways to increase membership and association.

B. VP E-Presence:  Jay Forrester stated that when the listserv went away, he lost contact with on-line discussions. Many people are in the same position.  David L. asked if our Wiki page could be upgraded. Bob Eberlein commented that a listserv is difficult to moderate because many postings are not on topic. There were comments about improving our electronic presence and ideas about how to better reach the public. Bob E. mentioned that we have two volunteers who will start working on promoting the Society with social networking tools. It was suggested that we find more youngsters to do things to help social networking,  Lees may be able to help find some students who are interested. Bob E. noted that there are also system dynamics postings coming from other sources, not posting on the Society web pages, so we should maintain an awareness of these other e-presence activities.  David Ford asked Bob to keep us informed with updates.

C .VP Finance:  Roberta Spencer stated she was available to answer any questions in the absence of VP Finance, David Andersen (away on sabbatical). The report is the same format that everyone has seen in past Winter PC Meeting. There were no questions.

D. VP Meetings: There were no questions or comments on the 2010 Seoul final report. Regarding 2011, David L. commented that the Washington room price seems expensive; Roberta commented that the price shown includes taxes. There were no questions or comments on the 2012 or 2013 report.

For 2014, the process of finding a European default location continues.  Jay asked why England is not on the list of sites being considered. Other cities of interest were Amsterdam and Zurich.  David L noted that we are working with the Hyatt Hotel chain for the Boston location and hope to work with them also for the European location.

We need a clear statement of what we are looking for in a site and how we will reach a decision.  For example, David L. noted that the city needs to be interesting if we do not have a social program developed by a local team.  Ease of access, particularly the availability of direct flights, is also important.

David L suggested that Andreas Groessler work with Roberta on this to determine how much work it will take if we host the meeting in a city without a local organizing team - the first time and on subsequent returns to the same site.  We need to determine what information the home office needs about the site to choose it for one year's convention, perhaps as a pilot with the expectation it will get easier in subsequent years.

Jay noted that sponsorship is rather important and raised the concern that repeat sponsorships at the same sites may be difficult to generate.  Roberta replied that that is an issue.

E. VP Member services: David L. stated that Etienne Rouwette’s report recommends a budget for projects and asked for comments. David questioned whether we should allocate a budget or we should solicit proposals to review.  Aldo Zagonel stated that we currently have an opportunity to organize a capacity building workshop in Brazil. Regarding proposals, there were questions about how to get support and about how to structure and endorse an event that would promote system dynamics and the Society in some form. Proposals should address building the capacity to grow the field in system dynamics. David L. asked Aldo Z. to send in a proposal.

We clarified that the VP Chapters is responsible for the chapters, and the VP Members should be responsible for the SIGS. The two VPs should work together as appropriate.

F. VP Publications: (The VP report was not considered at this points but at the part of the meeting under section III).

Executive Editor of SDR: We noted a somewhat low acceptance rate and acknowledged that this could be interpreted as a sign of good quality or alternatively as a sign that authors are not clear as to expectations.

G. Executive Director: The report was available and there were no comments or questions.

III. Committee Reports – Presentation, Discussion and Announcements

A). Standing Committees

1. Administrative Committee - Bob E. chaired the Administrative Committee Meeting that was held immediately before the Policy Council meeting.  He reported that the Society's finances are in order.  Investment income was strong in 2010.  We signed a 3-year contract with the University at Albany.  We also signed the Wiley contract.

2. Awards Committee - Khalid S. reported that Jac Vennix stepped down from the JWF Award Committee, and now he will become a member of the Awards Committee replacing Kim Warren. Peter Milling will be the interim chair of the JWF Award Committee. Peter will oversee the Chair succession process. By the end of year, everything will be in place.

David Ford moved (Rogelio seconded) to appoint Jac Vennix to replace Kim Warren on the Awards Committee from 2011 to 2013.

3. Nominating Committee - David L commented that the Nominating Committee did not look for diversity of candidates as a goal in itself . Rather, it tried hard to look widely and broadly and then chose the best people. The welcome diversity of the resulting list was therefore an emergent property of that process, not an imposed criterion  The slate of candidates nominated to take office 01/01/12 are: President-Elect: Kim Warren; VP E-Presence: Robert Eberlein (re-appoint); VP Member Services: Etienne Rouwette (re-appoint); VP Publications: George Richardson (re-appoint); Policy Council Members: Rod MacDonald, Silvia Ulli-Beer, Lees Stuntz and Nicole Zimmermann. Also PC Member (original term 2010-12) Martin Schaffernicht is nominated to continue as VP Chapters (2012-13 partial term); requiring a PC Member replacement. The Nominating Committee suggests Burcu Tan for a partial term (2011-12).

4. Organization and Bylaws Committee - Brad stated that the committee has not been making progress on the task of updating the bylaws to reflect the amendments that have been made over time. Rogelio suggested the home office should take back the task of updating the bylaws.  It will also be necessary to update the Policies.  Rogelio further suggested that the Organization and Bylaws Committee be disbanded.  The Committee responsibilities would be incorporated into the duties of the Secretary in the Policies and Bylaws. 

5 Publications Committee: David L., David F., and George (VP Publications) had useful discussions about the composition of this committee during a visit to the Society’s offices the previous day.  They concluded that the current structure, which calls for 7 people including some ex officio members, makes the committee too large.

George moved (Bob E. seconded) that the Publications Committee consist of the VP Publications servicing as Ex officio Chair, and three members serving staggered 3 year terms, nominated by the President and approved by the Policy Council.  The proposed new member names will be included on the list of all committee members.

David L comments that many journals are actively seeking ways to improve and we should do the same. He offered to connect George with some contacts in UK. George commented that through this process he has recognized a distinction between informal and formal advice between the Executive Editor and VP Publications. There should be responsibilities the Executive Editor is bound by, and other responsibilities that can just be discussed.

B). Ad Hoc Committees

There was some general discussion about whom Ad Hoc committees report to, why they exist, and whether they should be folded into the VP reports so we would not need the independent reports. Committees should have a clearly designated VP to whom they are responsible.

1. Conference Selection Committee: Taken up previously. No report.

2. Conference Scholarship committee: Bob E. reported that we award 10 scholarships that pay for both registration fees and hotel rooms. The conference scholarship has limited impact on the budget.

3. Diversity: The full report will be available in the summer.

4. Dues/Conference Fees: Len M. asked why the conference fee is higher, and Roberta replied it was due to the budget projection for that conference.

5. Society Program Oversight Committee: No report, but associated issues were addressed later in the agenda.

6. Society Investment Committee: Roberta reported that investments were discussed during the Administrative Committee.  Jim Lyneis and Roberta will meet after the PC Meeting to talk about next steps for this committee. There will be a report before summer.

IV. Call for additions to agenda for discussion at Face-to-face meeting and second electronic session

A- Progress report in documentations of Duties of Officers: Previously, Jim Lyneis did a lot of work on documenting the duties of the Policy Council officers. The Society further edited these documents. The documents have been sent to David L. for review. The descriptions will be distributed so that new officers will know what will be expected. Once finalized, the descriptions will be sent to all officers.

B- Strategy committee: Rogelio reviewed the history of this committee.  Jim Lyneis started this as an Ad Hoc Committee, and then it was made into a Standing Committee. Rogelio reported when he was President he struggled to do anything with this committee. The President is on a lot of committees and he felt very limited to be able to think strategically during his term. David L echoed this experience, commenting that his executive duties as President had resulted in his  barely having had a chance to start thinking about strategic matters. He commented that Erling Moxnes had noted in his strategy report that there was a history of good ideas but a lack of follow through.

Discussion turned to who, including which Presidents, should serve on this committee, who would have more time to think,  if there should be an ex officio chair, and if we should have a 5-year plan.

Rogelio noted that the VP at Large role in strategic thinking was taken over by the Strategy Committee. George stated that past presidents have convened and talked about strategy and that a past presidents' group could do this.  Jim L felt the group needed someone separate to lead.  Jay F. stated a group of past presidents is a promising suggestion, but we cannot count on them to do much work. Someone who is interested in the subject should take the job. George suggested asking a strategy professor to assign this project to some students.  Jim L. noted that Kim Warren had done this for another professional society and offered to do it for us but no one had time to invest in the project.  Aldo Z. suggested that if we want to make progress, we should find someone who is excited and who has some experience to do it.  We also need to make sure that person has some resources to use for things such as a video about system dynamics or a Society sanctioned workshop.  We have been very conservative and reluctant to spend money or raise fees.

Jay commented that there is no harm in doing what George proposed.  David L. commented that we are stuck in an infinite plateau: we are now at 1000 members, but we must get bigger. We need to do strategic thinking to move us forward.  George suggested we can find senior members in the field and ask them to add this task to a strategy class they teach and that we will also need follow up by professor who is teaching the course.  Jay said we can ask students to consider these issues about the Society membership.  George volunteered to contact three people who will incorporate a strategic plan into their class.

George suggested that as an experiment on strategy making for the Society, he will  contact three faculty members to ask them to bring to their class the question of long term strategic planning for the System Dynamics Society. George will report back to president in 3 weeks. If others have suggestions on whom to contact, please contact George.

C: Organizations and Bylaws committee: Rogelio stated the job of updating the Policies and Bylaws is not getting done. One idea was that the committee’s duties could be fulfilled by the secretary; another idea was to change the Policies to make the Secretary ex officio chair of this committee. Most people felt that an individual, not a committee, should take on these duties.

George moved (Rogelio seconded) that the duties currently listed in the Policies for the Organization and Bylaws Committee be assigned to the Secretary and that the Committee be disbanded. The duties of the Secretary will be edited to include any and all responsibilities of the former committee.

D) Membership/Structure of Publications Committee: Addressed earlier in the agenda.

E. Dues and Conference Fees Committee: Jim L. commented that the new dues structure has brought in a little more money, but it has not yet substantially increased low income members. David F. suggested that when we go to the two default conference site system, this topic should be brought up again.   We can reconstitute a committee then if needed.

Rogelio moved (David F. seconded) to disband the Dues/Conference Fee Ad Hoc Committee since it has fulfilled its mandate.

Supporting materials: Thanks to these committee members for their important work.

V. Motions

1. Society Program Oversight Committee (SPOC):  David L. commented that the SPOC is not working as hoped and suggested that we need a semi-permanent chair to enable better transfer of knowledge from conference team to conference team.

The composition of the SPOC currently is the Program chair for the current calendar year (chair), the Program chair for the upcoming year, the Program chairs from the past two years, the VP Meetings, the VP Publications, the VP Electronic Presence, and the Executive Director. George stated that because it is so large it does not focus. Rogelio said we need to capture our institutional learning, which can be beneficial to the upcoming chair, since the conference program process is daunting.  Jay asked if the accumulated learning is written down, and Rogelio replied that this is what should be done. George commented that when he got involved in the midst of the Seoul conference, it became clear that Jim and he, as the upcoming program chairs, were the ones really interested. George also offered his impression that he did not feel they could change much; the process and thread chairs were established, and the day to day structure of the conference was set.  Jim stated that the SPOC reviewed the thread chairs to make sure they are good and that they also discussed program quality. Lees asked if there is a structure to review the structure of the conference. Rogelio commented that the thread chairs are critical. Len asked if the flexibility for special program events will be removed with appointment of program chairs, because it is important for local organizers or special interest groups to be able to schedule things.

George moved (David F. seconded) that in order to enable better transfer of learning about program content from conference to conference, the position of Chair of the Society Program Oversight Committee shall be semi-permanent. The first appointee is Rogelio Oliva, for an initial period of three years (2011, 2012 and 2013).

2. Adhoc on Organization: (See Addendum 1) David L. asked David F. to constitute the Ad Hoc Committee on the Organization of the System Dynamics Society. Names are being considered. Bob Cavana and Deb Andersen have agreed. David L. states that the committee will include Europeans.

Len Malczynski moved (Rogelio seconded) to form an ad hoc Committee on the Organization of the System Dynamics Society.

3. Updated list of committee membership and terms.  Rogelio has consolidated and updated the committee membership information along with terms of appointment in one document (Addendum 2 to these minutes).  The Strategy Committee will be dormant.

George moved (Len seconded) to approve the appointments and respective terms for standing committee members as listed on chart below (See Addendum 2).

Supporting material: Regarding Ad Hoc committees, it is the responsibility of the forming officer to make sure memberships of the committees are adhering to Policies.

4. Program Chairs for 2013 conference. We need nominations.

5. VP at Large Office Rogelio stated that the  VP at Large was a non-functioning position.  Rogelio had a conversation with the current VP at Large, and there was no clear mandate for this role. It was here to do special projects, but Ad Hoc committees can do special projects. The standing VP at Large resigned, and the position was left vacant. Rogelio and David F. reviewed the Policies that describe 5 responsibilities for the VP at Large.

Discussion about what might be needed if we discontinued the VP at Large led to several points.  The SDS has not been proactive in development of research, nor have we been particularly effective in the task “to encourage and develop educational programs in the behavior of systems.”  Funding is needed to accomplish both.

Jay asks whether we know anything about what is being done in the name of system dynamics in universities. He suspects some are lectures in a course, not an education in system dynamics.

Lees explained that Creative Learning Exchange (CLE) does these kinds of activities as part of the development function. George commented that this officer could gather information on networking,  track all of the courses and degree programs, maintain lists of universities and courses, and be a resource for people who run the PhD Colloquium.  Lees commented that the more the SDS focuses on academia, the less we will get to real issues such as "what is system dynamics?"   Jay stated the SDS should have a role in outreach to help the general population to understand system dynamics.  For example, simple things ought to be able to be packaged into new media so that we reach the public and communicate that dynamics matter. David L said that Oxford has a Chair for the  Public Understanding of Science. Rogelio said there are there are two tasks in the Articles of Incorporation that we do not support: educational programs and outreach - and both are critically important.  Jay noted that public outreach is not to bring people into the Society, but to get the public to grasp the nature of dynamics.

Rogelio moved (Len seconded) that in order in ensure continuation with all of the duties and responsibilities of the VP at Large, an Education, Outreach, and Public Understanding (EOPU) an Ad Hoc Committee be formed to define the structure, purpose, and mission for education, outreach and public understanding. The committee will report back to the Policy Council at the Summer 2012 meeting. Lees Stuntz is nominated as Chair. Other members include Rogelio Oliva and Len Malczynski. The Committee is encouraged to appoint a student member. The committee will report to the President.

David F. moved (Rogelio seconded) to discontinue the VP at Large office. The Society would like to thank previous officers who held this position:  Joel Rahn, Bob Cavana, Michiya Morita, Roger I. Hall, Jose A. D. Machuca, James H. Hines, Jr., John D. Sterman, Erich K. O. Zahn, Erik Mosekilde, and Jean D. Lebel.

5. Motion to Recognize Benelux Chapter of the System Dynamics Society. The motion is already posted on the PC Menu.

David F. moved (Jay seconded) to adjourn the face-to-face portion of the Winter Meeting..

The meeting ended at 3.50 PM

Recorded by Secretary Brad Morrison.

Addendum 1: Charge for the Ad Hoc Committee on the Organization of the System Dynamics Society

Whereas, the International System Dynamics Society (Society) provides a variety of activities and services to its members in support of the system dynamics community and,

Whereas, the Society has been and is growing and evolving, which can impact the needs for and effectiveness of Society activities and services, and

Whereas, that growth and evolution has been largely organic in nature, by extending existing activities and services, and

Whereas, other similar organizations have similar goals and provide similar activities and services,

Therefore, the Policy Council of the Society approves the creation of an Ad Hoc committee to gather and report on the organization of societies and other organizations relevant to the Society. This is not an external benchmarking activity, in the sense of checking that SDS is doing the same things in the same way as other bodies. It is entirely possible that SDS should have some activities quite different from other fields. Rather, the objective of the committee and report is to provide a basis for comparing the Society with other relevant organizations to allow the Society to consider whether it is doing the right things, whether those things are being done in the best way, and whether there are any new activities or services that should be considered.

The Society’s articles of organization and bylaws will be used as guidance for the objectives and goals of the Society. Potential features of other organizations include, but are not limited to governance, committees, membership types and fees, prizes, conferences (frequency, timing, cost, quality control but not location), publications, web presence, and other PR-type activities, regional and specialist areas activities.

Target deadlines include an interim report at the summer, 2011 Policy Council meeting and a final report at the winter, 2012 meeting.

The Society President will appoint a committee chair.  The Chair will then propose membership of the Ad Hoc committee (to consist of two to five additional people) for approval by the President.

Addendum 2:  Charge Standing Committee Members and Term Appointments

 (associated with Motion 110, 2011 Winter PC Meeting)

Edited 3-11-11, replaces original "Addendum 2" in draft meeting minutes



Dictated Members


Appointed Members



Administrative Committee


Past President


Jim Thompson






Bob Eberlein




President Elect


Peter Milling (Chair)






Awards Committees


David Andersen




Andy Ford




Erling Moxnes




David Lane




Jac Vennix




Khalid Saeed (Chair)




Nominating Committee


Past President (Chair)


Yaman Barlas


8/08 - 7/11




Birgit Kopainsky


8/09 - 7/12




Ed Anderson


8/10 - 7/13


Organization & ByLaws


Roberta Spencer




Robert Eberlein




Brad Morrison (Chair)






VP Publications (Chair)


Andrew Ford




Rogelio Oliva




Etienne Rouwette




Strategy Development


President (Chair)


Kim Warren




Past President


Jim Thompson






Erling Moxnes




Next President-Elect


Note: Organization and By-Laws Committee: Disbanded Winter 2011.

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