by Larry P. Ritzman, Boston College
MOVING FORWARDWhile the snow-covered landscape here in New England is beautiful, I am not alone as I look forward to the warm breezes and new growth that comes from the spring season. The Decision Sciences Institute follows a similar seasonal cycle, with the officer year running from April of last year through this March. A new group of officers, committee chairs, and committee members with new ideas and enthusiasm are ready to step forward, assuring the Institute's continual renewal. With my year as president almost over, let me take the opportunity in this last letter to review the highlights of the year and the accomplishments of the 1993-1994 Board of Directors. I also would like to take a brief look forward to what promises to be a great new year for the Institute.
Highlights of This Year
The Decision Sciences Institute has made good progress on several fronts this year. These accomplishments were made possible by the hard work of many wonderful people dedicated to making the Institue even a better value to our membership.
The Seoul meeting was a truly momentous occasion for the Institute by every measure, with 450 attendees from 25 different countries. They discussed and advanced the decision sciences from a global viewpoint. Our presence in the Asia-Pacific academic and business community has been advanced, thanks to the marvelous work of Bob Markland, Duk Choong Kim, Kee Young Kim, Chan Hahn, Soo Ill Kwak, and their program team.
All five regions successfully held their annual meetings. With the new Asia-Pacific region being created, in the wake of the Seoul meeting, there will be regional meetings every other year at still another place in the world. Duk Choong Kim and Kee Young Kim will serve as the first president and president-elect of the Institute's newest region. The annual meeting in Washington, under the leadership of Jim Evans, was outstanding. It attracted the second largest number of attendees ever never mind the airline strike and the tight budgets. With rare exceptions, the sessions were of high quality and well attended. Questions were fielded well and discussants offered helpful insights. The atmosphere was one of friendly, mutual support.
There was one rough spot at the meetingūsuch an unusually large percentage of registrants decided to attend the President's Luncheon that 32 people could not be served. Although they were reimbursed, an explanation to everybody is needed. The registration process for meal functions is really the classic ``paperboy'' problem of inventory theory. When people pre-register in the spring for the conference, they indicate whether they will attend the luncheon. As the meeting approaches, many change their minds because of airline reservations, or even because of the weather on the day of the luncheon. History shows that anywhere from 40 to 91 percent of the people who say they will attend the luncheon actually do so. For the San Francisco meeting, 877 people said that they would attend. We committed to the hotel for 625 meals, but only 385 people actually ate a meal. The result was that the Institute was charged $25 for each of the 240 meals not eaten, for a total loss of $4,000. If we had committed for all 877 meals, the loss would have been even larger at $12,300. We are not good stewards for the membership if we allow such waste, and seek that illusive middle ground where everyone gets served without too many wasted meals.
Mike Showalter, the 1994 Program Chair, is lining up an annual meeting that will not disappoint. There will be some outstanding invited sessions and workshops. For example, Hassan Tehranian of Boston College is the Finance track chair this year. He has lined up invited sessions featuring such presenters as Michael Brennan of UCLA, the associate editor of many journals such as Journal of Finance and Journal of Financial Economics; and Wayne Mikkelsom of the University of Oregon and Richard Rubach of Harvard University, two of the four co-editors of Journal of Financial Economics. We are hoping to see more than ever of our Finance colleagues in Hawaii!
The editorial transition from Jim Hershauer to Lee Krajewski went smoothly. The format of the Decision Sciences journal is redesigned, and abstracts of accepted papers are published in Decision Line. The average review time, from the receipt of the article to the first editorial response, is only 40 days. There are 26 associate editors and a special issue on Global Quality Management is underway. The journal increasingly receives submissions from a growing selection of functional areas related to decision making.
Another successful editorial transition is being made with the Decision Line newsletter, as Roscoe Davis passes the baton to Terry Rakes. I have heard many good comments about the newsletter, and Terry is committed to making it even better.
Leon Price completed his first year as placement services coordinator, providing timely and quality information even though the supply-demand situation in the market is not as favorable as applicants would like. In the meantime Clive Sanford, the prior placement services coordinator, has assumed his new responsibilities as computer services coordinator. As discussed below, he has initiated a long-needed revision in the information system for managing our membership database.
1993-1994 Board of Directors Accomplishments
The Board of Directors is the main decision making body for the Institute. It addresses almost all of the Institute's key issues. This year the Board met many hours in April (Atlanta), November (Washington), and January (Orlando). The Board is guided by the good work of about ten committees. These committee respond to charges put together by the president, making recommendations about most of the charges. The process worked extremely well this year. The list of achievements listed below reflects the dedication and hard work of these committees and the Board of Directors.
The Board gave preliminary approval for an international meeting in Puebla, Mexico in 1995, asking for more detailed information on this location for the April meeting. It also asked for further information on a proposed international meeting site in Prague, Czech Republic, in time for presentation at the April Board meeting for a possible 1996 international meeting.
The position of ``Global Coordinator'' is being created, providing a ``champion'' for the international dimensions of the Institute. A job description will be proposed at the April Board Meeting, and a vacancy announcement for the position will be published in the May issue of Decision Line with an application deadline of November 15. A subcommittee is also at work to focus the many good ideas in a recent report of the International Affairs Committee, prioritize them, and formulate committee charges for presentation to the Board in April.
A final proposal for the Constitution and Bylaws for the Pacific region is expected from Kee Young Kim for review at the April Board meeting.
Jerry Habeggar, 1994 Accounting track chair, will be implementing the same CPE credit procedures that are used at the annual meeting of the American Accounting Association. Forms will be handed out by session chairs. After filling them out, attendees return them to the session chair for validation. Validated forms will be returned to attendees with a copy sent to the Institute's Home Office to be part of a permanent file.
News of our meetings and tracks will be sent to sister organizations, along with the offer to publish similar information about them in Decision Line.
The deadline for future submissions to the annual meeting will be February 15. For papers postmarked after that date, a $25 late fee must accompany the paper. No papers will be accepted that are postmarked after March 1. This new policy responds to the large number of papers received during a short time period around or after the deadline date. It should also save many authors the excessive express mailing charges.
It will be recommended to future program chairs that track chairs (rather than authors) send their copies of the papers directly to their discussants. In the event that a paper is updated, a revised copy should be sent to discussants by the author.
The Convention Management System (CMS) was used effectively at the annual meeting in Washington. Previously it had been used only at the Northeast and Midwest conferences.
The Board accepted the recommendation to develop first-class invited sessions involving well-known speakers who do not always attend the annual meetings.
While hard copy of the Proceedings will continue indefinitely, we continue to consider alternatives to microfiche. The option being considered is to scan page images into a file and make it available over Internet. Rather than experiment directly with the Proceedings, we will learn from the experience of making Decision Line available through this medium.
A synopsis of the work of all Instructional Innovation Award finalists will be published each year in Decision Line.
A form will be submitted to reviewers for the annual meeting, encouraging them to complete one for each paper they review, especially those papers that are rejected. If an author requests feedback, the track chair can use records of these forms as the basis for their response. This plan responds to the desire for feedback by some authors of rejected papers. The Publications Committee will be asked to provide more detailed criteria for reviewer survey forms, so that reviewers are not unduly burdened.
Hal Jacobs will report to the Publications Committee at each annual meeting, discussing the condition of information technology used for publications.
The Board approved the practice of inserting in Decision Line an annual report from the Treasurer to accompany the audit report. There also will be an explanation of the process for making meal function reservations for the annual meetings.
Alpha Iota Delta
Rodger Collons generated the first copy of a national newsletter that was distributed to each chapter. The name of future issues will be The Decision Forum.
A database for Alpha Iota Delta has been designed using Paradox, and the process of building the database has started.
Alpha Iota Delta is establishing regional vice presidents who attend regional meetings, work with chapters within their regions, and encourage new chapters. Brenda Killingsworth, Vice President, wrote the draft copy of a guide to assist regional vice presidents and new chapters. The regional vice presidents will also be invited to join the Regional Activities Committee meeting at the annual meeting.
Alpha Iota Delta is being asked to include in Decision Line an explanation of its activities and how to start a chapter; and to make a short presentation at the luncheon in conjunction with the Instructional Innovation Award presentation.
In response to an assessment of trends in the Ph.D. job market by the Doctoral Student Affairs Committee, the Board accepted a recommendation to create a column in Decision Line that emphasizes career guidance, planning, and development. Included would be periodic reports on jobs available and students graduating, drawing from statistics available from AACSB and our Placement Services.
The Consortium Coordinator will be asked to consider consortium sessions such as doing research while carrying a heavy teaching load, doing research on Internet, and doing research when available resources are scarce.
An initial list of non-traditional employers has been identified. The Board of Directors charged the placement coordinator to work with the Doctoral Student Consortium coordinator and the program chair to consider approaching such firms with the idea of advertising in the Placement Directory and participating in the Consortium.
Laminated plaques will be presented to the author, advisor, and department of the winner of the Elwood S. Buffa Doctoral Dissertation Award. The program chair will be notified of the name and address of the winner of the award, leaving it to his/her discretion as to whether to have a special session for the winner and other high contenders in the prior year's competition. Finally, the editor of Decision Sciences will invite the winner to submit a paper for publication, without guarantee of publication.
The Board adopted the policy that dissertations must be submitted in English to be eligible for the Elwood S. Buffa Doctoral Dissertation Award.
The Board received an excellent report from Bob Parsons which surveyed 1992 regional conference attendees and individuals with accepted papers at the 1992 annual meeting. There is a sharp increase in the number of respondents who see the Decision Sciences Institute as their primary professional/scholarly organization. The quality measures monitored show that satisfaction with our meetings is quite high. Members who place a good deal of importance on some dimension of the meetings are almost always satisfied with what the Institute provides.
To strengthen the Campus Representative Program, flyers were included in the registration packets that define the task of a campus representative and solicit expressions of interest. Institute members at institutions where there are no campus representatives are being asked if they would like to participate. Regional vice presidents are writing each year to the campus representative in their region, making sure that they wish to continue on or finding their successors. The goal is building a cadre of committed active campus representatives who will spread the word on Institute events, such as the New Faculty Consortium.
A report on the effectiveness of the Campus Representative Program, working with the regional vice presidents of member services, is underway and will be available for the Board meeting in April. Ideas for further improvements in the program will be considered by the Board at that time.
The Board approved Mark Davis at Bentley College as the new member services coordinator, succeeding Bob Parsons effective January, 1995.
Investments of the Institute
On the recommendation of the new Investment Advisory Committee, some of the Institute's excess cash and other assets will be put into equity investments, rather than relying only on certificates of deposit and treasury bills.
When a new treasurer is elected, the outgoing treasurer will chair the Investment Advisory Committee for the first year, and the incoming treasurer will serve on the Committee. In subsequent years, the new treasurer will be the chair.
The Regional Activities Committee is being charged to follow up implementation of the creation of ``institutional memory'' at the regional level.
The Regional Activities Committee is being charged to consider more ways to foster communication between the regions, particularly as it relates to regional meetings and ideas that do or don't work.
A new computer information system should be on line this summer to better handle the Institute's membership requirements. This database application uses the Paradox 4.5 for Windows database management system. It is being designed in an integrative fashion with the current hardware and operating system platforms. It will not only help manage the common membership database at the Home Office, but has the interfaces required for services to conferences, regions, the journal editor, and placement services. Internet will be used as the common linkage for exchange of data between the various geographically distributed applications. This new system will replace the current ``legacy system'' that no longer fulfills its original purpose, is maintenance intensive, contains redundant data, and is not multi-user.
A laser printer is being purchased for the Home Office. This equipment complements the new computer equipment purchased last year which is working out so well.
Development Committee for Excellence
The Development Committee is to be charged with evaluating corporate sponsors in an effort to defray costs of the annual meetings, based on the very positive experience in Seoul.
The next year promises to be an excellent one for the Decision Sciences Institute, capped off with our regional meetings and the annual meeting in Hawaii. Roscoe Davis steps forward as president on April 1, and he already is at work to assure success. Congratulations also go to our other new leaders. John Anderson (University of Minnesota) is the president-elect, Michael Showalter (Florida State University) is the 1994 program chair, and Marion Sobol (Southern Methodist University) is the new treasurer. Our new vice presidents on the Board of Directors are Al Avery (Towson State University), Bob Jacobs (Indiana University), Jim Hershauer (Arizona State University), David Olson (Texas A&M University), and Gary Ragatz (Michigan State University).
Thanks go to the people who served with me, particularly the members of the Board of Directors, Past president Bill Perkins, and each of the committee chairs. A special word of thanks go to Bob Markland, Chan Hahn, Kee Young Kim, Duk Choong Kim, and their organizing committee for the Second International Meeting. They did a splendid job, reinforcing our enthusiasm for the international dimensions of the Institute. Special thanks also go to Jim Evans for staging the annual meeting in Washington. It was our second largest meeting and was of high quality. Both the Washington and Seoul meetings will be long remembered by those attending. I am also in debt to Carol Latta and the Home Office staff. They are wonderful, keeping us on track throughout the year.
As I close, let me thank you and the other members of Decision Sciences Institute for giving me a chance to serve this year in such a special way. It has been a great learning experience, one that sped by in a hurry. I look forward to working with you in other ways, hearing of your progress on teaching and research, and renewing friendships at future meetings. See you in Hawaii!