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

3 April 1995

Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Cambridge, Massachusetts USA

In Attendance.


Alexander L. Pugh, III (Vice President - Finance), Michael J. Radzicki (Secretary), Khalid Saeed (President)

Policy Council:

Lou Alfeld, Julia DeStefano, Robert Eberlein, James M. Lyneis

Executive Director:

Julie Pugh


David Andersen, Jay W. Forrester, George P. Richardson

1. Opening

The meeting was called to order at 10:39 AM by President Saeed.

2. Secretary's Report

Mike Radzicki moved and Bob Eberlein seconded a motion that "the minutes of the 24 April 1994 meeting of the Policy Council be approved." The motion passed.

3. Report of the Editor of the System Dynamics Review

Mike Radzicki read an e-mail message from Editor-In-Chief Graham Winch. The message contained the following points:


  1. Issue 10(4) of the Review did not carry an announcement for the 1995 conference of the System Dynamics Society, but should have.


  2. The backlog of articles at the Review is low. Society members should be encouraged to submit articles.

The Council addressed these two points by asking Mike Radzicki to contact Vice President - Meetings Jim Hines and Vice President - Publications David Lane. Hines is to be given the task of ensuring that, in the future, the Review (and other relevant journals) is given an announcement of the Society's upcoming annual conference, one year in advance. Lane is to be given the task of making sure that the Review's Editorial Board annually searches the Society's conference proceedings for papers that have the potential for publication in the Review. Lane should also make sure that the Editorial Board contacts the authors of the papers and tries to convince them to submit their work to the Review.

Julie Pugh volunteered to write a short column titled "Society Doings" for each issue of the Review. It was agreed that her idea would be forwarded to Graham Winch by Mike Radzicki.

4. Society Chapters

Mike Radzicki read an e-mail message from Habib Sedehi, detailing a preliminary proposal and constitution for an Italian chapter of the System Dynamics Society. The reaction of the Council to the draft proposal was positive, and Radzicki was instructed to tell Sedehi to continue with his efforts to form the chapter.

The Council then turned to the issue of requalifying chapters each year -- that is, annually checking to see if chapters are continuing to meet all Society requirements. Bob Eberlein was charged with the task of contacting all Society chapters and asking them to prepare a report of their activities for the General Business Meeting of the Society in Tokyo.

Finally, Julia DeStefano suggested that, analogous to a "Society Doings" column in the Review, there be a "Chapters" column in the Review and/or President's Letter. The reaction of the Council to the suggestion was positive.

5. History of the Field

The Council discussed the possibility of commissioning and funding a study of the history of the field of System Dynamics. The consensus was that such a study has either already been done (e.g., Greg Scholl's undergraduate thesis at Harvard), or will be done in the future by interested students and scholars. As a result, the Council felt that the Society should not commission or fund a study.

6. 1996 Conference

Jack Pugh (1996 conference Chair) reported that the 1996 conference will be held in Cambridge, Massachusetts. The most likely location is the Mariott Hotel in Cambridge, although MIT facilities may be used. The Mariott has offered a room rate of $129.00 per day (double or single occupancy) if the conference draws at least 150 participants (i.e., overnight guests). Along with this rate, the Mariott has offered free conference meeting space. Jack further reported that a Call For Papers for this conference will be distributed in Tokyo, and that he is currently trying to interest system dynamics consulting firms in guaranteeing that the conference will not run a financial deficit, in return for free exhibition space.

7. 1995 Conference

Khalid Saeed (1995 conference program Chair) reported that the arrangements for the 1995 conference are coming along well. 146 abstracts have been received to date and 20 have been selected for 5 plenary sessions. The conference will feature 20 parallel sessions, approximately 15 papers from Japanese presenters, and a tutorial program presented in Japanese. The only significant problem that has arisen to date is the falling value of the US dollar, relative to the Japanese yen. Although the appreciating yen could cause the cost of the conference to rise for many Society members, the Japanese have successfully raised funds from outside sources. Thus, the conference fees (registration, hotel, etc.) will remain as announced.

8. 1994 Conference

Khalid Saeed provided a brief review of the 1994 conference for the Council.

9. Conference Program Organization

Khalid Saeed moved and Bob Eberlein seconded a motion that "the President-Elect of the Society be ex officio program chairperson for the Society's annual conference, starting with the 1997 conference." The motion passed.

10. Conference Logistics

Julie Pugh moved and Julia DeStefano seconded a motion that "Jim Hines, Vice President - Meetings, head a committee consisting of David Andersen, George Richardson, and Jack Pugh, to investigate alternative means of handling the logistics and financing of the Society's annual conference, and that the committee report its findings to the Policy Council in Tokyo." The motion passed.

11. Future Conferences

Possible sites for the 1997 Society conference were discussed. Among the sites suggested were: Italy (perhaps hosted by the new Italian chapter of the Society), Bergen (Norway), Seville (Spain), and Portugal. Jim Hines, Vice President - Meetings, was charged with the task of soliciting sites for the 1997, '98, and '99 conferences.

12. Conference Agreements

Khalid Saeed moved and Julia DeStefano seconded a motion that "the Society create a formal document stipulating that the Society is not responsible for financial losses incurred by any individual or institution hosting its annual conference, and that this document be signed by the Society President and Conference Organizer each year." After a lengthy discussion about the pros and cons of such a document, the motion was tabled.

13. Treasurer's Report

Vice President - Finance Jack Pugh reported that the financial position of the Society remains solid. The Society currently has a cash balance of $126,313.

Jack Pugh moved and Bob Eberlein seconded a motion that "the Society transfer its financial accounts from the firm Kidder Peabody to the firm Dean Whitter." The motion passed.

Jack Pugh moved and Bob Eberlein seconded a motion that "the Society split its aggregate account into two accounts -- one for the Society and one for the Gordon Brown Fund." The motion passed.

Jack Pugh moved and Bob Eberlein seconded a motion that "the Society open a checking account for the Gordon Brown Fund." The motion passed.

14. Spending of Society Funds

Bob Eberlein moved and Julia DeStefano seconded a motion that "it is appropriate for any agenda items dealing with the spending of money to be explicitly flagged and that it is good practice to distribute the agenda to all members of the Policy Council at least one week in advance of a meeting." The motion passed.

15. Society Dues

George Richardson noted that John Wiley and Sons may ask the Society to raise its dues (or at least the price for a subscription to the Review) in the near term, and that the Policy Council should be ready with an answer. Jack Pugh noted that the Society in not currently in any financial difficulty, so that raising membership dues is not really necessary. George Richardson mentioned that Wiley may have recently experienced some increases in its production costs and that this would motivate them to raise subscription prices. Richardson volunteered to e-mail Diane Taylor and ask her about Wiley's current pricing plans.

16. Society Logo

Julia DeStefano reported that some entries have been received for a Society Logo, but that no decision on a winning entry has been made to date. The Council asked her to display the entries at the Tokyo conference and see if they motivate any additional entries. Jay Forrester cautioned against voting for a winner at the Tokyo conference.

17. Old Issues of Proceedings

Julie Pugh reported that the proceedings from four past Society conferences are now unavailable. She also reported that she has been selling the tables of contents to various conference proceedings for $7, as well as copies of individual papers from the proceedings. The Council felt that this practice was fine and well within her authority as Executive Director.

18. Adjournment

Bob Eberlein moved and Lou Alfeld seconded a motion "to adjourn." The motion passed.

Respectfully submitted.

Michael J. Radzicki