Minutes of the Meeting of the Policy Council
of the
System Dynamics Society
31 January 2005
Sloan School, MIT, Cambridge MA

In Attendance


Graham Winch (President), Robert Eberlein (Past President), Mike Radzicki (President Elect), Jay Forrester (Founding President), David Packer (Secretary), David Andersen (Vice PresidentFinance), James Lyneis (Vice President- Meetings).

Policy Council:

Allen Boorstein, Brad Morrison.


Alan Graham, Oleg Pavlov (Econ Dynamics Chapter), Jack Pugh (Webmaster), Roberta Spencer (Executive Directory), John Sterman,, Lees Stuntz (Creative Learning Exchange), Akiro Uchino (Japan Chapter).

Call to Order and Agenda Overview

President Graham Winch called the meeting to order at 10:05am, moderated introductions of those present, and provided an overview of the agenda. He welcomed new members and officers Mike Radzicki, Henk Akkermans, Brad Morrison, Jim Thompson, and Scott Johnson and gave thanks to those outgoing, Bob Eberlein (departing as President but staying as Past President), Pal Davidsen, Andreas Grossler, Taehoon Moon, Kevin O’Neill and Qing-Rui Xu. Thanks were recorded for the contributions of Bob Eberlein, as President, and other retiring members of the Policy Council.

Reports, Announcements, and Agenda Item

Society Name: To correct a long-standing error with the State of Massachusetts in the name of the Society, Bob Eberlein moved and Jay Forrester seconded: “that the society be renamed to be the System Dynamics Society, Inc. (rather that Systems Dynamics Society, Inc.)”.  The motion was unanimously approved.

Visas:  Graham communicated a note from Brian Dangerfield that US Visas are becoming increasingly difficult and time-consuming to get which could unfavorably impact our members and conferences.  Alan Graham suggested compiling a list of lawyers who could help and John Sterman reported increasing requirements for early decisions on papers, noting that papers will be reviewed as they are submitted to speed up the process.

Minutes: Dave Packer.  The minutes of July 2004 Policy Council Meeting held at Keble College, Oxford, England were approved after two modifications, one to correct the number of complementary memberships to 20, the second to eliminate a sentence regarding a volunteer commitment.  Brad Morrison moved for approval, seconded by David Andersen, The minutes were unanimously approved.

Decision Recap: It was reported that the electronic vote to create the Dana Meadows Award endowment had passed.  John Sterman reported that the goal for this endowment had almost been reached and thanked all who have contributed.

VP Publications: (Deborah Andersen).  The written report was reviewed briefly and is supported by separate reports, following.

Administrative Committee: (Bob Eberlein for Peter Milling). 

VP Meetings: (Jim Lyneis).  Jim reported that the 2004 conference at Keble was successful and had a surplus of $90,000.  He also moved, Mike Radzicki seconding: “that student volunteers at Keble be given a free registration at a future conference, as this was not done in 2004”.  Motion was approved unanimously.  This is the first year we will be offering conference scholarships.

Dana Meadows Endowment: (John Sterman).  We are now only $2600 from achieving the $60,000 goal, which will certainly be achieved very soon.  He especially thanks Jane and Allen Boorstein, The Sustainability Institute (Drew Jones and Don Seville) and the Operational Research Society of the UK (David Lane) for their role in making this important project a success.

Executive Director: (Roberta Spencer).  Roberta referenced her full report, emphasizing conference success, scholarships available for 2005 (20), continuing membership growth, along with other favorable trends.  Jay Forrester asked how our drop out rate compares to other societies.  John Sterman reported that churn is normally highest among new members and that it would be interesting to know the longevity of dropouts.  Brad Morrison asked if the Society has a new member welcoming process.  Dave Packer commented that Pegasus has a significant “first timer event” and that new attendees to their conference have identifying ribbons on badges (though this is optional).  It was suggested that we could, for example, invite first time conference attendees to a function where they would meet some of the more senior people in the field. 

David Andersen suggested that the very dedicated office staff deserves many thanks!

VP Finance: (David Andersen).  David reviewed his comprehensive written report, focusing on the reasons for our favorable performance to plan.  In response to a question, he noted that we still have a favorable “membership transient” resulting from shifting timing of dues payments as a result of moving activities from Wiley to the Home Office; this impact will be about $25,000 in 2005.  Jay Forrester noted that higher registration fees did not reduce conference attendance.  Lees Stuntz inquired how much staff effort goes to conference activities, and Roberta said this is tracked closely and is about half of the total effort and these costs are charged against the conference budget.
Additional reports:

1)  Profit and Loss Previous Year (2003 vs. 2004)

2)  Budget Comparison Last Fiscal year (2004)

3)  Profit and Loss by Cost Centers (2004)

4)  Balance Sheet Previous Year Comparison (2004 unaudited)

VP Members and Chapters:  (Graham Winch for Ginny Wiley).  This item opened with a brief report on the Economics Dynamics Chapter by Oleg Pavlov, citing success at economics conferences and leadership changes. Graham stressed that it is a condition that chapters produce an annual report including a list of member in good standing as required by our policies (the policies also specify sanctions); the status of some Chapters is unclear at present; and the VP (Members and Chapters) should ensure that annual reports are received in future.  Complementary memberships might be used to support chapters struggling with the membership requirement.  There are proposals in the works for a Russian Chapter (received too late for this meeting) and for a Business SIG, for which we might do electronic votes before the summer Policy Council.  There are several other SIG ideas in the system, as well.

A template for SIG development, like we have for chapters, would be helpful and Ginny Wiley was asked to take this on.

VP at Large:  (Graham Winch for Bob Cavana).  The report focused on the proposal to use complimentary memberships to support the field where there is a low presence and to support recent SD graduates at posts with no other SD activity.  There needs also to be a high probability of achieving a sustainable chapter.  Bob Cavana and the subcommittee were asked to continue to develop and implement this mechanism, keeping in mind the need for simplicity and minimization of load on the Home Office. 

Nominating Committee: (Bob Eberlein). The Nominating Committee is: Bob Eberlein, Yaman Barlas, Deborah Campbell, Bob Cavana, Pal Davidsen, Isaac Dyner, and Qifan Wang (with Qifan stepping out as his candidacy was being discussed).

Bob Eberlein moved with Mike Radzicki seconding: ”that the slate of officers to take office in 2006 be President Elect: Qifan Wang, VP Publications: Deborah Andersen, and that new Policy Council members be: Gloria Perez (Mexico), Santanu Roy (India), Ali Kerem Saysel (Turkey), Krys Stave (USA)”.  The motion carried unanimously.  The slate will be published in the next newsletter and if uncontested in 60 days it goes forward without further vote.  Bob commented that the nominating committee reviewed a wide range of potential candidates and from a long list of very qualified potential nominees selected a slate that ensures our Policy Council members continue to represent the broad diversity of our Society.  Brad Morrison suggested that officers be assigned as mentors or guides to new Policy Council members.

Diversity Project: (Roberta Spencer for Deborah Campbell).  The written report was reviewed and accepted with encouragement of emailing further ideas to Deborah. The survey used had a very high return rate. The plan is to present results at the July Policy Council as well as to broaden the survey content.

Conference Scholarship Committee: (Bob Eberlein).  Bob will chair the existing committee and assure timely decisions.

Awards Committee: There are two committees, one for the Jay W. Forrester Award and one for the Dana Meadows award.  The recommendations for changing membership of these committees, as in John Morecroft’s report, were accepted.   

Publication Committee Restructuring: A basic question as to the role of this committee has been raised and was discussed.  As a result Graham Winch moved, Jim Lyneis seconding: “that this issue should be part of the mandates of VPs and Policy Council members project to be done by Graham Winch, Mike Radzicki, and Bob Eberlein with recommendations for consideration at the summer Policy Council meeting”.  The motion passed unanimously.  It was noted that this should include the idea of Policy Council members working with VPs for greater involvement. Along this line, Brad Morrison agreed in principle to be a “shadow VP”, possibly with the VP Members and Chapters. 

Business Application Award Proposal: (details) (Alan Graham).  Alan reviewed the proposal, which is supported by the Awards Committee.  The award would be a certificate, be present biannually, and the work would be presented at the conference in the System Dynamics Review.  Jay Forrester suggested that the timing might not be rigidly biannual as a result of lack of suitable candidates.  Bob Eberlein moved, David Andersen seconding: “that the Policy Council endorse the creation of the Business Application award, to be announced at the summer conference, with the only outstanding issue the timing.”  Approval was unanimous. 

Professional Development Conference: (Jim Thompson).  Consideration of this item was postponed to the next meeting (came in too late).

Program Guidelines: Deferred until after the Boston conference, to the winter 2006 Policy Council. 

Alternative K-12 Membership: (Hazir Rahmardad).  Deferred with the suggestion that Hazhir talk with Lees Stuntz and Alan Boorstein to explore alternatives.

Enhancement of Member Services: (Graham Winch).  Discussion centered on the Society playing a stronger role in career opportunities for SD people.  Known vacancies are already listed on the web site and people searching can be pointed to the SD list serve. If there are ways to service our membership more completely people are encouraged to bring ideas to the attention of the Home Office and the president.

Electronic Voting Procedures:  Bob Eberlein is still working on this project.

Relationships with Other Societies: Mike Radzicki continued to encourage participation in other conferences, especially by SIGs.

Items Dropped from PC Consideration List:  The following items were “dropped” for various reasons:  Policy on SDS Logo, Reseller Links, Editorial Presentation Format (effectively done with the Electronic Manuscript Management System), and Yellow Pages.  This action simply cleans up our list of important issues for future consideration. 


At 3:15pm David Andersen moved, Bob Eberlein seconding,  “that the meeting be adjourned”.  Unanimously approved!

Respectfully Submitted,

David W. Packer, Secretary (with thanks to Bob Eberlein for his real-time notes, and Roberta Spencer, Deborah Campbell and Graham Winch for feedback on the draft)

February 28, 2005 

[email protected]

revision 3