President’s Note – Mike Hewitt

  

Hello, TSL Society!

After a year that was full of challenges for all of us, I would first like to wish you a happy new year and hope that you find yourself and those you care about in good health. I am excited to take on the role of TSL President, as I consider it to be my academic home. TSL has provided me with many opportunities over the course of my career to develop relationships that I have enjoyed and benefited from both personally and professionally. I hope during my year as president to create an environment that provides similar opportunities to current and future TSL members. I would like to thank Ann Campbell both for her past service as 2020 TSL president and her guidance in the coming year.

The likelihood of physical meetings in 2021 is still unknown. Thus, to maintain a vibrant intellectual exchange, this year we will have a virtual seminar series. These will be monthly webinars given over Zoom by pre-eminent researchers in our field. Our first speaker is Dr. Pascal Van Hentenryck, who will present on Friday, January 15, 2021, at 9 am eastern time. You will receive a separate note with information regarding how to attend this webinar. Thanks to our SIG chairs, we have five more speakers who have agreed to give talks, one from each SIG. The list of speakers and dates is below. As these dates arrive, you will receive information regarding how to attend these webinars as well. When permitted, these webinars will be recorded so those who cannot attend can watch later. We will solicit speakers for the rest of the year as we approach the Summer.

Speaker

Affiliation

Date

Pascal Van Hentenryck

Georgia Tech

15-Jan-21

Yafeng Yin

University of Michigan

12-Feb-21

Rene de Koster

Rotterdam School of Management

12-Mar-21

Guy Desaulniers

Ecole-polytechnique de Montreal

16-Apr-21

Elise Miller-Hooks

George Mason University

7-May-21

John-Paul Clarke

Georgia Tech

11-Jun-21

 
I welcome other ideas for how we can maintain a sense of community in our society during these times when we cannot meet in person. However, I (and others) am still optimistic that we can have physical meetings this calendar year. Specifically, we have two workshops planned: one at Erasmus University, Rotterdam in July 2021, and another at the Indian Institute of Management Ahmedabad in December 2021. I thank the respective organizers for the time they have spent (and will spend) organizing these events during these uncertain times.  

I believe 2020 highlighted the need for all of us to re-examine our approaches, attitudes, and systems related to diversity, equity, and inclusion. Thankfully, Ann organized a committee of TSL members (Burcu Balcik, Alejandro Vigo Camargo, Layla Martin, and Jordan Ludders Srour) to start looking at how DEI-related issues relate to our society. The conversations I have had with the committee indicate they have many initiatives planned for this year, and I look forward to hearing about their work. Lastly, from what I understand, INFORMS as a whole is also putting efforts towards DEI-related issues in its societies.

 Regarding the financial position of TSL, our membership dues revenue as of October 2020 was less than half what it was in October 2019. Fortunately, our expenses were also significantly less, so the financial position of TSL is still strong. However, the health of a society is often measured by the length of its member list so such a dramatic drop in membership is disconcerting. I realize this drop is likely due in part to the strain COVID has placed upon the finances of many of our institutions. However, I also know that I tend to renew my INFORMS membership when I register for the Annual meeting. I imagine others do the same and can’t help but wonder if this drop isn’t due in part to the lack of an Annual meeting. If you have not renewed, and are in a position to be able to, I encourage you to do so.

 Best regards,

 Mike Hewitt

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