A Promising Year of Change
by Krishna Dhir, Berry College
The season of new beginnings is upon us once again. On April 1st, there will be a change of leadership when President-Elect Powell Robinson of University of Houston will take over the presidency of the Decision Sciences Institute from me. I congratulate the incoming officers and members of the Board of Directors. They will find that the outgoing officers have left the Institute in an excellent, healthy, and vibrant state. My tenure as president was a highly satisfying experience, thanks to an outstanding slate of members constituting the Board of Directors and a remarkable team of volunteer-members who worked hard through various ad hoc, constitutional, and standing committees. These leaders, along with the dedicated staff of the Decision Sciences Institute under the guidance of Executive Director Carol Latta, form a formidable human capital of our Institute.
During the presidency of Keong Leong of University of Nevada Las Vegas, the Development Committee chaired by Tom Jones of the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville undertook a detailed study of the position of the Decision Sciences Institute in the industry of associations. To do this, the committee deployed Porter's Five Forces model. Informed by this study, I constituted an ad hoc committee to examine the role of our Institute in the evolution of the discipline of decision sciences and entrusted it, again, to Tom Jones, along with Bill Carper of the University of West Florida. The committee drew inspiration from Wickham Skinner's memorable presentation at the annual meeting of the Institute in October 2010 in San Diego, which was subsequently published as, "Decision Sciences and the Decision Sciences Institute," in the January 2011 issue of Decision Line. If you missed Skinner's presentation, you would do well to read this thought-provoking article. The Jones-Carper ad hoc committee made a number of recommendations that go to the heart of improving the efficiencies of member services. The Board of Directors has made a commitment to implement strategies to improve the operational effectiveness of the Institute. For instance, in my letter in January 2012, I had written about the decision by the Board of Directors to adopt a conference implementation system developed by All Academic, Inc. of Eugene, Oregon. This system has now been inaugurated and paper submissions are coming in for the annual meeting to be held in San Francisco in November 2012. The Board of Directors has further refined the processes for the development of Specific Interest Groups (SIGs). These groups represent communities of DSI members who have an interest in advancing a specific area of knowledge, learning, or technology, and may communicate, meet, and organize conference sessions to share ideas, solutions, and/or conduct research. The activities of SIGs may evolve to be quite independent of the seasonality of annual meetings. It is hoped that SIGs will attract new members to the Institute and will generate new areas of interest, such as disaster management, health care management, dealing with terrorism, management of national debt, etc. Calls for SIG Proposals will be forthcoming in future issues of Decision Line.
The Board of Directors has been desirous of organizing a World Congress in collaboration with other like-minded associations. Kwei Tang of the National Chengchi University, Taiwan, discussed this idea with Barbara Flynn of Indiana University at length. Barbara, who is one of our past presidents, has agreed to champion this initiative and investigate the possibility of such collaboration in various parts of the globe, including China and Brazil.
The membership of the Institute increased during 2011. The attendance at the last annual meeting increased 12.5 percent over the previous year. For this we are grateful to Ken Boyer of Ohio State University, who instituted a number of program innovations. I have no doubt that the future of our Institute is secure at all levels. For instance, at the annual meeting of the Southeast DSI regional subdivision held in Columbia, SC, during February 29 through March 2, 2012, I was impressed to observe that of the 163 attendees, 14 percent were students! New vigor is coming to the organization in the form of highly committed and motivated professionals. The European subdivision, too, is helping the Institute to expand its global reach through the subcontinent. After the first and the second annual meetings held in Barcelona, Spain, and Wiesbaden, Germany, respectively, the third annual meeting is scheduled to be held in Istanbul, Turkey, during June 24 through 27, 2012.
The Decision Sciences Journal continues to do us proud. Its impact factor published by the ISI Web of Knowledge places it at the second rank in the Operations/Supply Chain Management pool, and at the fourth rank in the Information Systems/Technology pool. The importance our Institute gives to teaching and learning is emphatically articulated by the rise of the Decision Sciences Journal of Innovative Education. This journal has matured into a four-issue per year journal. Our newsletter, Decision Line, too, is getting considerable respect. Now that it has become a 'commendable' Cabell periodical and is listed in EbscoHost, you have all the more reason to use it as your communication channel. Send us your essays and become a thought leader in and for the Decision Sciences Institute!