Engaged in the totality of the profession: Conference leadership

The spotlight has been on the W. P. Carey School’s Supply Chain Management department as our faculty served in leadership positions at three major conferences.

Chairman John Fowler was co-program chair for the INFORMS 2012 Annual meeting held in Phoenix where several faculty members presented. Preceding that conference was the Supply Chain Management Director’s Conference, hosted by our department with Assitant Chairman Michele Pfund heading it up as conference chair. Fowler was also a track coordinator for the Winter Simulation conference in Germany, and Professor Thomas Choi was the program chair for the Decision Sciences conference in San Francisco (photo).

These leadership roles are significant professional plums for our faculty, and evidence of the department’s stature, but they are also important for students, alumni and those in industry who look to the department for new ideas.

“We are thought leaders in that we are engaged in the totality of our profession,” Fowler said. “These conferences combine the academic with industry. They are about research, teaching and service. The fact that we are continually chosen to lead means that we are recognized as thought leaders.”

New ideas for the classroom

The Supply Chain Management Director’s Conference brings together administrators, program directors, deans and center directors to talk about developing and managing different aspects of supply chain programs and curriculum – in other words, fine tuning what we do to turn out great employees and leaders.

Pfund said that this was only the second conference on this topic. Some 45 faculty from 29 schools attended.

Associate Professor Mohan Gopalakrishnan, who was on the program committee, said the purpose of the conference is to explore trends in industry and share innovative teaching and service delivery developments. Some schools are just beginning to build supply chain management into their programs. Some don’t have a dedicated department yet, but offer a class, or a concentration as part of another major. The conference is the place where questions get answered.


The annual meeting of the Institute for Operations Research and Management Science (INFORMS) drew more than 4,000 members and experts in the field to the Phoenix Convention Center. ASU led this conference. Professor Ronald Askin of ASU’s Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering, was the general chair for the event. W. P. Carey’s Fowler and Ira A. Fulton’s Esma Gel were co-program chairs.

The four-day event was an intense experience for participants. There were 60-70 sessions per hour, and the program book was over 500 pages long. W.P. Carey faculty presented research at the meeting. In addition to Fowler, Srimathy Mohan, Antonios Printezis, Mohan Gopalakrishnan, Hongmin Li and Rui Yin participated in the conference. Nobel Laureate and W. P. Carey Economics Professor Edward C. Prescott delivered the Omega Rho Distinguished lecture (Photo above shows Prescott, left, and Fowler after the lecture).

Winter Sim

The Winter Simulation Conference has been convening annually for more than 50 years. It’s the premier international forum for disseminating recent advances in the field of system simulation. According to its website, Winter Sim “provides the central meeting place for simulation researchers, practitioners, and vendors working in all disciplines and in industrial, governmental, military, service and academic sectors.”

Fowler, who is on the Board of Directors of the conference, co-chaired the “Applications in Health Care” track. According to the program, “this track addresses an important burgeoning area in which simulation can provide critical decision support for operational and strategic planning and decision making that individual providers (doctors/nurses, clinics, hospitals) face, as well as for policy issues that must be addressed by larger administering systems (e.g., insurance companies and governments).”

Decision Sciences

Professor Thomas Choi was the program chair of the 2012 annual meeting of the Decision Sciences Institute in San Francisco. The conference theme was “Globalization: Working together, celebrating our differences.” There were six theme-based showcase sessions. Professor Mohan Gopalakrishnan organized the Asia session, and Professor Adegoke Oke organized the Africa session. Professor Craig Carter served as the chair of the Sustainable Operations Track, and Professor Elliot Rabinovich served as the chair of the New Talent Showcase Track. In total, there were 2114 authors from all six continents, and 55 countries were represented. The program featured 342 sessions.

The Decision Science Institute is a professional organization of academicians and practitioners interested in the application of quantitative and behavioral methods to the problems of society.

Photo by Caroline Culler

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