The System Dynamics Society recognizes the importance of mentoring for the future of our field. To that end, we offer four options to support those trying to learn and apply systems thinking and System Dynamics skills. For more immediate support, consider making a request on our General Discussion Forum or Facebook Discussion Group.
Learning groups organized around a common interest and geographic proximity.
Open to All
Intensive long-term coaching to build a map or System Dynamics model.
One-on-one coaching session on specific System Dynamics modeling questions.
One-on-one coaching for PhDs/Faculty to publish in quality scientific journals.
Join our 25+ seasoned mentors and help build the skills of the next generation of modelers. You will be matched with those you can best support. Meetings can be aranged at your convenience wiht your assigned mentees.
Peer mentoring typically consists of students who join early in their academic career and continue together until all members have completed their education and moved on to employment after graduation. Many continue even longer as they continue to support each other in building their careers. Groups of students are organized around a common interest and geographic proximity. These groups meet regularly to share their work. The typical commitment is 1 – 1.5 hour sessions every 1-3 weeks, typically with breaks over the summer. A group leader emerges whose responsibility will be to organize the meetings and the agenda, ideally on a regular basis with advance notice. The peer mentoring groups may elect to receive support from an experienced mentor whose role will be to listen in, ask questions, and provide insight and suggestions for the members’ work.
This program was developed by the Student Chapter of the Society under the leadership of Laura Black and Larry Gottschamer and is currently administered by their President Kelechi Odemena and Vice President Emiliya Suprun.
Society members received mentoring as a membership benefit through the generous donation of time by experienced practitioners in the field. With one-on-one mentoring, the mentor meets with a mentee at predetermined intervals to discuss their work and provide technical and process advice. This service is intended for a person who desires regular coaching to build a causal map or System Dynamics simulation model. Mentoring may cover any or all of the stages of modeling (problem definition, model formulation, model testing) and possibly also advice on writing and presentations. The typical commitment is one hour-long meeting per week with some preparation required in between by both mentor and mentee. The relationship can endure as long as needed by the student which could be weeks, months, or even years. This program is best for someone who desires intensive ongoing tutoring and support for their mapping and modeling. Recent experience with mentoring suggests that mentees should not be rank beginners but should rather have taken a class or read a book and be ready for the next step: building their own map or model. If you are not yet ready for a mentor, please check out the learning resources in our bookstore and the free learning resources from our partner organization, the Creative Learning Exchange, which include Road Maps: A Guide to Learning System Dynamics and System Dynamics in Education Project: Guided Study Program.
The one-on-one mentorship program was developed by Jack Homer (VP Professional Practice) and Gary Hirsch (AVP of Professional Practice).
Modeling Assistance Workshop (MAW)
The popular Modeling Assistance Workshop (MAW) is being offered as a conference event, for conference attendees. This event enables participants to obtain one-on-one coaching on specific System Dynamics modeling questions or obtain guidance on whether SD is an appropriate method to approach a certain problem. Questions may relate to a System Dynamics model that you are thinking about, studying, or developing. All levels of modeling background are welcome, from beginner to advanced. Modeling questions may cover problem articulation, dynamic hypothesis, model formulation, model testing, or policy design and evaluation. Questions may also relate to something that you don’t understand in one of the System Dynamics textbooks or software packages. You might even get the author of the textbook or software as your coach!
We will be matching modelers with coaches based on interest and notifying both of you. Meetings between coaches and modelers will occur in-person if possible during the conference. If not possible, virtual meetings will occur after the conference and it will be up to the two of you to be in touch and set up a time to “meet” via Zoom, Skype, or other means.
This program is organized by Gary Hirsch and Rod MacDonald.
Publishing Assistance Workshop (PAW)
Deadline to apply for PAW Roundtable Session: June 27, 2022
The Publishing Assistance Workshop (PAW) provides prospective authors with guidance on developing manuscripts using systems thinking and modeling for submission to top academic journals. A panel of System Dynamics experts with impressive publication records will share suggestions for navigating the journal publishing process.
Attend this event if you are interested in publishing your System Dynamics work in academic journals. The first half of this workshop is open to all conference attendees and includes short presentations by a subset of the panel members with tips about publishing System Dynamics research in top journals. The panel presentations will be followed by an open Q&A session.
The second half of the workshop involves small roundtable discussions and is EXCLUSIVE to participants that submit working papers and receive invitations to the second half. This portion of the workshop provides invited participants with developmental suggestions for improving their working papers.
The Publishing Assistance Workshop will be held during the main conference. Further details about the time and location will be provided once the conference program is finalized. We especially encourage advanced doctoral students, post-docs, and early-career faculty members to apply for the second half of the workshop.
This program is organized by Shayne Gary. Panel members include those below:
- Andreas Größler
- Birgit Kopainsky
- Coty Gonzales
- David Ford
- Edward Anderson
- Hazhir Rahmandad
- John Sterman
- Martin Kunc
- Peter Hovmand
- Rogelio Oliva
- Scott Rockart
- Shayne Gary
- Yaman Barlas
Andreas Größler is a Professor and Head of the Department of Operations Management at the University of Stuttgart. He is the editor of System Dynamics Review and has published widely in top operations management journals. His research interests include production technologies, operations strategies for long-term and sustainable development of value creation within firms, and system dynamics. Andreas received his doctoral degree and habilitation from Mannheim University.
Birgit Kopainsky is a Professor in System Dynamics in the Department of Geography at the University of Bergen, Norway. Her research explores the role that system dynamics analysis and modeling techniques play in facilitating transformation processes in social-ecological systems, such as the transition towards sustainable agri-food systems on local, national, and international levels. Birgit is particularly interested in engaging with a wide range of stakeholders by creatively adapting proven tools and techniques from systems thinking and system dynamics modeling to advance decision-making in social-ecological systems and to achieve breakthrough moments of understanding for those stakeholders to become champions of change towards resilience and sustainability. She has published widely in a range of science and sustainability journals.
Cleotilde (Coty) Gonzalez is a Research Professor of Decision Sciences in the Department of Social and Decision Sciences and the Founding Director of the Dynamic Decision Making Laboratory (DDMLab) at Carnegie Mellon University. She is also affiliated with the Security and Privacy Institute (CyLab), the Center for Behavioral Decision Research (CBDR), and other research centers at Carnegie Mellon University. Her work focuses on the experimental studies and computational representations of the cognitive processes involved in decisions from experience in dynamic environments.
David Ford is the Beavers Charitable Trust/William F. Urban ’41 Professor in Construction Engineering and Management at Texas A&M University. His research areas include sustainability in built infrastructure, managerial real options, construction as a product development process, project management process design, and system dynamics. David has published widely in top engineering journals and also in the System Dynamics Review.
Edward Anderson is the Wright Centennial Professor for Management of Innovative Technology and Director of the McCombs Healthcare Innovation Initiative at the University of Texas at Austin. His research areas include: computer simulation, information economics, knowledge management, operations management, outsourcing business process, quality management, service management, supply chain management, and system dynamics
Hazhir Rahmandad is the Schussel Family Professor of Management Science and an Associate Professor of System Dynamics at the MIT Sloan School of Management. His research shows how complex organizational dynamics lead to heterogeneity in organizational practices and outcomes. In another stream of work, Hazhir has studied public health problems, including obesity and depression dynamics, and compared different modeling methodologies in application to epidemics. He also contributes to expanding the dynamic modeling toolbox through advancing parameter estimation and validation methods for dynamic models. Hazhir has published in diverse journals including Management Science, Organization Science, Strategic Management Journal, Strategy Science, Journal of Operations Management, International Journal of Obesity, and System Dynamics Review. Hazhir holds a BS in industrial engineering from the Sharif University of Technology and a Ph.D. in management with a System Dynamics concentration from MIT.
John Sterman is the Jay W. Forrester Professor of Management at the MIT Sloan School of Management and a Professor at the MIT Institute for Data, Systems, and Society. He is also the Director of the MIT System Dynamics Group and the MIT Sloan Sustainability Initiative. John’s research centers on improving decision-making in complex systems, including corporate strategy and operations, energy policy, public health, environmental sustainability, and climate change. He is the author of many scholarly and popular articles on the challenges and opportunities facing organizations today, including the book, Modeling for Organizational Learning, and the award-winning textbook, Business Dynamics. John is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and has twice been awarded the Jay W. Forrester Prize for the best-published work in System Dynamics. He holds an AB in engineering and environmental systems from Dartmouth College and a Ph.D. in System Dynamics from MIT.
Martin Kunc is a Professor of Business Analytics/Management Science at the University of Southampton, UK. His research interests include business analytics, strategic modeling, managerial capabilities, behavioral strategic decision making, and system dynamics. Martin was previously a faculty member at the University of Warwick and obtained his Ph.D. from London Business School. He has published widely in Operations Research journals, Strategic Management Journal, System Dynamics Review, and other top journals.
Peter Hovmand is a Professor of Medicine at the Center for Community Health Integration and also a Professor of Biomedical Engineering at Case Western Reserve University. He previously founded and led the Brown School’s Social System Design Lab at Washington University in St. Louis. Peter’s research focuses on advancing methods for understanding and preventing structural violence underlying gender inequality, structural racism, and more broadly, social determinants of health across a variety of outcomes, from pediatric obesity and interpersonal violence to household air pollution and cancer. He has a degree in electrical engineering and mathematics with an MSW and Ph.D. from Michigan State University in Interdisciplinary Social Sciences in Social Work and Community Ecological Psychology and cognate in Women’s Studies/Feminist Philosophy.
Rogelio Oliva is the Bob and Kelly Jordan Professor of Business in the Department of Information and Operations Management at the Mays Business School, Adjunct Professor at MIT’s Zaragoza Logistics Center, and Research Affiliate at MIT Center for Transportation & Logistics. His research explores how behavioral and social aspects of an organization interact with its technical components to determine the firm’s operational performance. His current research interests include behavioral operations management, retail and service operations, and the transition that product manufacturers are making to become service providers. His research has been published in many top journals, including Management Science, Organization Science, Journal of Operations Management, California Management Review, and Production and Operations Management.
Scott Rockart is an Associate Professor of Practice in Strategy at Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business. His research focuses on policies for repeated decision-making (e.g., decisions about pricing, investment, research, and product offerings). His research has appeared in Management Science, System Dynamics Review, and Strategic Management Journal. He currently serves on the editorial boards of the Strategic Management Journal and Organization Science. Scott obtained his Ph.D. from MIT in behavioral and policy sciences and management science.
Shayne Gary is a Professor at UNSW Business School in Sydney Australia. His research examines how differences in mental models, decision rules, and strategies lead to differences in firm performance over time. Shayne investigates these issues through experiments, in-depth fieldwork, and system dynamics simulation modeling. His research has been published in many top journals, including Strategic Management Journal, Organization Science, and The Accounting Review. Shayne was awarded the 2016 Jay Wright Forrester Award and is a Managing Editor of the System Dynamics Review. He is a founding member and former Chair of the Behavioral Strategy Interest Group in the Strategic Management Society. Shayne holds a BSc in Management Science from MIT and a Ph.D. in Strategic Management from London Business School.
Yaman Barlas is a Professor of Industrial Engineering at Boğaziçi University in Istanbul where he is the director of the SESDYN research laboratory. His research areas include the credibility of simulation models, SD method, systems science, modeling of socioeconomic and medical problems, and simulation as a learning/training platform. Yaman is a founding member and a former President of the System Dynamics Society. He has served in various editorial roles in different publications, including most recently as Executive Editor of System Dynamics Review (SDR). SDR’s impact factor increased substantially under Yaman’s watch as Executive Editor. He received his BS, MS, and Ph.D. degrees in industrial and systems engineering.
Become a Mentor
A mentor is a coach or a teacher. They are experienced practitioners of systems thinking and System Dynamics give back by supporting students of the field. They donate their time to the Society and typically commit to a long term relationship of support – months or even years. Mentors may work with one or more students on a one-to-one basis or may support a peer mentoring group that can benefit from a member with more experience and skill. Mentors typically spend 1 hour a week with each student.group. Light preparation for each meeting is a ground rule with the onus on the student or peer mentoring group leader to arrange meetings, present their work, and ask questions. In some cases, a mentor may take a deep dive and become much more involved in a mentee’s work – in one case a mentor became a co-author on a paper. Mentorship support provided can be substantive and technical, focusing on the material presented and include digging into equations, but may also focus on suggestions for the process itself. Reasonable advice might include reflecting on scope, urging a student to stop and write a paper, and even suggesting a student switch to other methods should System Dynamics not seem the best path for the mentee and their topic.
Most mentor-mentee relationships will be remote, using email as well as videoconferencing software such as Skype, GoToMeeting, Zoom, Webex, Google Hangouts, or the Society’s Slack account.
We currently have more than 25 mentors available to provide support. Some are academics, others are practicing consultants. They all have substantial experience and represent a diverse array of industries and functional areas. They are from North America, Europe, Asia, Africa, and Australia. They are experienced with various types of SD software: Vensim, Stella/ithink, Powersim, and Anylogic.