In my recently completed President's Letter I mention future administration of the Society as an issue that needs special attention. This fax is the first step in tackling the issue and the beginning of a venture that may occupy not only my Presidency but also George Richardson's Presidency in 1997.
As you know, the Society's affairs have for many years been administered by Julie Pugh. In her post as Executive Director she has generously provided her time on a purely voluntary basis. However, as the Society grows and becomes more international it is unreasonable to ask anyone to fill this post on a voluntary basis. So I am beginning this year to examine the options for the future administration of the Society in the expectation that a professionally funded office will meet our growing needs.
To generate options to put before the Policy Council I am writing to several key individuals who may be in a position to arrange a base from which to run Society affairs with funding for professional administrative support provided by the Society. In each case I am inviting the individual to reply with an expression of interest. Those who express a definite interest should then prepare a brief proposal according to the format specified below. The list of individuals and institutional bases comprises:
|David Andersen - University at Albany - SUNY, USA
||Paal Davidsen - University of Bergen, Norway
||David Lane - UK Operational Research Society (of which David is an Officer)
||Peter Milling - University of Mannheim, Germany
||John Sterman - MIT Sloan School, USA and strong connections to INFORMS
If you believe there are other individuals who should be added to this list then please let me know. The key requirements are that they are long-standing members of the Society, operating from a stable academic base, with access to (or the authority to approve) administrative support.
The Society will offer seed-funding for the administrative post in the expectation that the post will become self-funding on the basis of revenue generated from Society activities. The scale of such seed funding will need to be thought out in relation to current Society reserves, the likely demands of the post, and the likely skills required of the post holder. However, as a rough guide it is probable that the Society could commit to fund a half-time staff position to be paid out of Society reserves for a guaranteed period of two years. Thereafter the post would become self-funding as mentioned above.
George and I have identified three different approaches to providing professional administrative support of the kind the Society needs:
If you have ideas for alternative approaches please let me know.
There are a number of ways in which a professional administrator could work on behalf of the Society to provide support for members and at the same time generate revenues that eventually could build to a level that would fully support the administrative position. George and I have identified the following:
No doubt there are other possibilities and I would welcome your creative ideas.
I am looking for a short written proposal of about two pages in length. I would like to receive the proposal in advance of this summer's conference in Cambridge MA which begins on Monday July 22nd. Please fax your reply direct to me at London Business School as soon as possible, using the number indicated at the end of this fax message. Even if you are not seriously interested in participating, please send me a note declining my invitation to bid so that I have a record to show Policy Council (and the Society membership) of the process we have been through.
I suggest you prepare a proposal under the following headings:
I look forward to receiving your reply
President of the System Dynamics Society