Michael Johnson headshot

Michael P. Johnson

Professor and Chair, Department of Public Policy and Public Affairs
University of Massachusetts Boston

Biographical Profile


  • Northwestern University, Ph.D. Operations Research, 1997
  • University of California, Berkeley, M.S. Operations Research, 1990
  • Georgia Institute of Technology, M.S. Electrical Engineering, 1987
  • Morehouse College, B.S. Mathematics and French, 1987

Professional Experience

  • University of Massachusetts Boston (Professor, Associate Professor, 2007-present)
  • Massachusetts Institute of Technology (Visiting Scholar, 2014)
  • Carnegie Mellon University (Associate Professor, Assistant Professor, 1997-2007)
  • Cleveland Consulting Associates (1990-1993)

Selected INFORMS Activities

  • Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee (founding chair, 2016-present)
  • Vice President, Chapters and Fora (2016-2017)
  • Pro Bono Analytics Committee (2014-present)
  • Subdivisions Council (2011-2015)
  • Section on Public Sector O.R. (2009-present; president, 2010-2011)
  • Section on Location Analysis (1996-present; president, 2004-2006)
  • Minority Issues Forum (1996-present)

Other Professional Activities

  • National Forum for Black Public Administrators (2008-present)
  • Urban Research-Based Action Network (2012-present)

Vision Statement

INFORMS is the largest society for the profession of operations research and analytics in the world. Our members represent universities, corporations, consultancies, government agencies and nonprofit organizations.

We are practitioners, scholars, researchers, administrators and entrepreneurs. We come from different countries and represent many diverse identities. What unites us is our commitment to data, analysis, evidence and a model-driven approach to decision-making to help our organizations operate more efficiently, provide products and services that improve people’s lives and ultimately enable our world to be a better place for all.

If elected as president of INFORMS, I would aspire to ensure that our discipline and our profession can best meet the many different challenges our communities and societies face. These include healthcare, governance, supply chain resilience, racial inequality and climate change, among many others.

To meet these challenges, our profession must draw from the expertise and experiences of a diverse society, in which the membership of INFORMS more closely represents the makeup of the operations research (O.R.) and STEM professions. Recent data from the U.S. Census Bureau, Bureau of Labor Statistics and INFORMS indicate that women are underrepresented within INFORMS (28.5% of all members but 52.5% of the ‘O.R. analyst’ profession), as are Blacks and Hispanics (2.6% and 6.9%, respectively, of all members but 7.0% and 13.2%, respectively, of the STEM profession). 

This vital work will also require O.R./analytics expertise to be well-represented across all work sectors. While data and decision analytics are widely used in business and engineering, this is less so for local government and community-focused nonprofits. There is also less awareness of the promise of O.R./analytics among legislators, advocates and thought leaders than is the case for information technologies.

As president, I will work to enable the alignment of INFORMS activities with INFORMS’ values of integrity, impact, inclusion and innovation. First, I would like to develop and refine initiatives to enhance collaboration between INFORMS and other professional societies in STEM, public policy, planning and social sciences. Second, I would like to amplify the impact and influence of INFORMS on legislative, regulatory and policy issues, so we can set the terms of debate and innovations while championing our profession. Third, I would like to increase INFORMS’ efforts to address the “leaky tech pipeline” that reduces opportunities in O.R./analytics for people from traditionally underrepresented groups. Next, I would like to ensure that the benefits of innovative INFORMS programs like Doing Good with Good O.R. and Pro Bono Analytics reach even more organizations that are in need of analytics support. Of course, I will support the work of our scholarly publications, communities and conferences that continue to produce world-class scholarship and practice innovations.

I’ve been a member of INFORMS since 1989 and I’ve served as president of two sections, on the board of directors as vice-president of Chapters and Fora, was founding chair of the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion committee and am a long-time member of Minority Issues Forum. My research on housing and community development has received funding from the National Science Foundation’s CAREER and Decision, Risk and Management Sciences programs as well as local foundations. I am chair of the Department of Public Policy and Public Affairs at University of Massachusetts Boston, an urban public research university. My academic training spans large public and private universities and a historically black college.

I believe that by embracing inclusive excellence and collaborating with professionals across disciplines and practice areas, we can have a transformative impact on our world. I welcome the opportunity to work on these tasks as president of INFORMS.