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System Dynamics

Volume 21 – Number 3        September 2008


From The President

James M. Lyneis

Greetings from Vermont. It was a pleasure to see many of you at the conference in Athens.

Last year at this time then President Qifan Wang announced in the September newsletter the implement-ation of the new tiered dues structure. We asked for comments and they ranged from "bravos" to a handful of folks who refused to renew under the new plan. I would like to update you on the financial impact of the tiered dues structure by including part of David Andersen's Finance Report that was presented at the Summer 2008 Policy Council Meeting.

"We will not be able to fully evaluate the impact of the new tiered dues structure because the first fiscal year is not yet closed and this is not a controlled experiment. But I believe that there have been four overall impacts.
- A small number of high income members have expressed displeasure at the change. Articulated concerns seem less addressed at the actual increase in dues and more at the need to disclose salary ranges.
- As of this writing, we have seen a slight increase (69 versus 61) in low income members of the Society. So I would say that if our goal is to increase low income membership, we still have an opportunity that needs to be developed.
- Our membership renewals as a percentage and as an absolute number are not significantly different from last year. It is possible that memberships would have risen had we not changed the dues structure and it is also possible that they may not have risen (because Athens is a less attended conference than Boston 2007). We will probably never know.
- As of this writing total dues income is up by a slight amount compared to last year."

The tiered dues plan will be reviewed formally after two years in action. We will keep you posted.

Another update on an item that was introduced by Qifan Wang during his presidency was the appointment of a planning team to look into key initiatives for the Society that will foster the growth of the field and the Society. Although the make up of the team has changed, they have been very busy under the leadership of Kim Warren. Some preliminary diagrams have been created that capture the key stocks and flows, and the main feedback loops affecting growth of the field. The SD Strategic team plans both to consult with a wider community and to get additional input and guidance from the Chapters, SIGs, the K-12 folk, and others. This is exciting work, and progress on this project will be highlighted as we move forward.

Finally, for the first time we have formed a Conference Program Committee consisting of the Program Chairs from current and future conferences, the VPs for Meetings, Publications, and Electronic Presence, and the Executive Director. The purpose of this committee is to provide a means for dealing with program issues and for achieving continuity of policies and initiatives between conferences. We all agree that the quality of the conference has been improving, and this committee will work with the Thread Chairs and Peer Reviewers to maintain ideas that work, and to test new initiatives to keep up that improvement.

Best Regards, Jim Lyneis, President 2008


SD Wiki, Web and Mailing List

from Bob Eberlein, VP Electronic Presence

OThe SD Wiki has been up and running since April at To date there has been only limited content added, and we are waiting until it is more fully populated to make it a prominent part of the Society website. If you have a chance I would encourage you to visit the Wiki and see if you have anything to add (or remove). If you are reluctant to just jump in and edit, but would like to make suggestions on structure, please feel free to drop me a message at [email protected].

We are also working on moving the Society website to a content management system that will allow us to both update things more easily and give more coherent access to our membership. With a single log on you will be able to access the conference submission system, do Wiki editing, query the membership directory and update your own membership profile. There are no definite plans on this as yet but I am hoping to get something in place before the submission system for the Albuquerque conference opens in January.

As part of this change in the website, we will be including discussion forums that will replace the current mailing list. In the meantime the mailing list is still running, but has gone back to its roots, with discussion restricted to technical issues and announcements of interest to the community.

Weeklong Workshop for Albuquerque Teachers

from Anne LaVigne, Waters Foundation


School teacher shares her CLD at Albuquerque workshop

The Waters Foundation, with the support of Sandia National Laboratories, the Science Education Institute of the Southwest (SEIS), and the University of New Mexico, sponsored the 2nd ST/SD workshop for teachers in Albuquerque this last July. Presenters Tracy Benson and Anne LaVigne delivered the instructional materials and engaged the group for four days on how to integrate the materials into their K-12 work. Participants experienced and represented the interdependent, dynamic nature of systems using a variety of methods, including kinesthetic activities, systems thinking tools, modeling, and computer simulation.

In addition, guest speakers Walt Beyeler, Steve Conrad, and Len Malczynski, all from Sandia, shared real-world simulation-based applications. Finally, the participants designed and presented plans for classroom and school implementation as well as decided on ways to continue developing their skills. One outcome was the formation of a Learning Collaborative group, which will meet throughout the school year to refine and review the understanding concepts and tools, and to share current work. The next meeting of the Albuquerque Learning Collaborative will occur on October 6, 2008.

Society Officers and Policy Council Nominations

from Qifan Wang, Chair of the Nominating Committee

The Nominating Committee of the Society is soliciting nominations for the following open officer and Policy Council positions, terms beginning 1st January 2010:

President Elect (2010, serves as President in 2011)
Vice President At Large: (2010 - 2012)
Vice President Meetings: (2010 - 2012)
Policy Council (2010 - 2012) (4 positions)

If you are interested in any of these positions, or know of someone who might be interested, please fill out the form: The nominee will be asked to fill out a brief biographical description, including information that demonstrates s/he 1) is actively committed to the System Dynamics Society and the field of system dynamics, and 2) will make a contribution to the Society and the field through his/her membership on the Policy Council. The Society is interested in achieving a broad and diverse governing body; we need your input to help us accomplish this.

The 2010 Nominating Committee consists of the following members (terms run from August to July): Qifan Wang, Chair, Jim Lyneis , Erling Moxnes, Ozge Pala, Deborah Campbell and Yaman Barlas.

The Nominating Committee presents a slate which consists of one candidate per open position. However, after the slate is announced, according to Society Bylaws and Policies, members may submit other nominations for these offices and positions provided that:

1) each such nomination is accompanied by a petition signed by twenty-five members in good standing, or ten percent of the total membership, whichever is less
2) each nominee is a member in good standing
3) written evidence is submitted to the effect that each nominee has agreed to stand for election
4) such nominations reach the Secretary within five weeks after publication of nominations received from the Nominating Committee.

If no nominations are received by the Policy Council from the membership at large, the slate of candidates submitted by the Nominating Committee and approved by the Council will be deemed elected. If the Council has received any nominations from the membership at large, the Society business office will mail to all members a ballot, plus a brief biographical sketch of each nominee, during the second quarter of the fiscal year. To be counted, ballots must reach the Society business office on or before June 30th. A plurality is sufficient to elect.


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The System Dynamics Newsletter is published four times a year by the System Dynamics Society.