INFORMS News - INFORMS Board update: 2017 Annual Meeting

The INFORMS Board of Directors met in Houston on Oct. 21-22 in conjunction with the 2017 INFORMS Annual Meeting. Following is a summary of the meeting.

Financial: INFORMS is very strong financially. Projected net revenue for 2017 is $246,000. The reserves balance is $13.96 million, or 135 percent of three-year average annual expenses (versus a 75 percent target). Short-term capital is $5.79 million. Total net assets of $19.75 million represents a record for INFORMS. The Board approved the 2018 budget with a projected surplus of $85,000 and authorized $1 million from the reserves for initiatives.

Membership: INFORMS has 11,256 members. This number increases seasonally around the time of the annual meeting, and it is projected to be around 11,700 by year-end. INFORMS is paying increased attention to retention and new member recruitment.

Meetings: Nearly 5,900 people attended the INFORMS Annual Meeting in Houston – the largest meeting to date! Prior survey results highlighted concerns about too many parallel sessions and low participation on Wednesday, and hence, the meeting experimented with a 2 p.m. Wednesday end. For future conferences, potential changes include limiting sessions allocated to subdivisions (sponsored sessions have the lowest average number of talks per session), shifting to a Saturday-Tuesday format (70 percent of survey respondents were in favor), limiting each registered attendee to one presentation (as speaker), a special track for Ph.D. students in the academic job market, rapid fire talks for contributed talks (see pechakucha.org) and inviting high-profile speakers (with local connections) for a plenary session.

Strategic issues: Board members Susan Martonosi and Laura Albert led a strategic discussion about the future members of INFORMS. The Board discussed the topics of diversity, analytics, practitioner membership and international applications. Specifically, whether and how to do things differently, activities to initiate or sunset, and how to gather resources and volunteers to support efforts.

Publications: Journal submissions continue to increase at approximately 15 percent annually. Publications downloads nearing 2 million per year, with an annual increase of about 3 percent. Editors are considering the possibility of term limits for editorial board members, for example 50 percent turnover every three years. This topic will be discussed by the Publications Committee and potentially considered at the January Board meeting. A charter for authors was discussed at the Editors’ Meeting. Further discussion is needed prior to Board consideration. Two new INFORMS journals, Journal on Optimization and Stochastic Systems, opened for submissions in 2017.

Practice activities: Board approved revisions to the Practice Policies and Procedures (Section 12) to:

  • Align with Board’s goal of being strategic
  • Develop structure for increasing outreach efforts
  • Facilitate stronger partnerships between industry and academia
  • Increase member engagement by being more inclusive

Three new committees formed: Practice Strategy, Industry-Academia Collaborations and Industry Outreach and Engagement.

Strategic initiatives: Several exciting completed or ongoing initiatives were highlighted:

  • Academic Leadership Workshop at the annual meeting
  • Diversity, Equity, Inclusion Committee formed and active
  • Student Leadership Conference held for first time, will be repeated in 2018
  • Expanding volunteer opportunities
  • Opportunities to donate and contribute to INFORMS initiatives
  • Mentor match program

Approved initiative funding, as follows:

  • $225,000 for policy conferences in Washington, D.C., in 2018, 2019 and 2020
  • $440,000 to increase awareness of the profession and INFORMS in 2018
  • $409,823 to offer and endow a student scholarship 2018-2022
  • $45,000 one-time funding for evaluation and consideration of conversion to a new customer management system (with another substantial additional funding request to be made in 2018)

Nicholas G. Hall, INFORMS president-elect, and Pinar Keskinocak, INFORMS secretary