News: IS Achievement and Fun

November 14, 2012

The program book for the INFORMS annual meeting – held in Phoenix last month, is an inch thick. Navigating the sessions became a team effort, said Professor Raghu Santanam, who played a leadership role in organizing the information systems research conference that was held two days before the big meeting convened. Our student-led DISC club collected honors again this year from the Association for Information Systems. Back at school, however, we proved that IS types know how to have a good time, and we collected first prize for our efforts! Read on for more details.

IS researchers ponder the digital society

Last month thousands of academics and professionals converged on Phoenix for the annual meeting of INFORMS (the Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences). INFORMS is the largest professional society in the world for operations research, management science and business analytics. The meeting draws not only technical and engineering experts, but also management and marketing thinkers and professionals, and this year ASU took a prominent leadership role.

But for two days prior, information systems researchers held their own conclave. CIST 2012: Conference on Information Systems and Technology attracted 140 leading researchers from all over the world. The theme was “Digital Society.”

Professor Raghu Santanam (above), one of four co-chairs of the conference, said that 42 papers were chosen for presentation at the conference from 100 submissions. Information Systems Professor Bin Gu presented his paper entitled "The Ripple Effect of Defaults in Online Peer-to-Peer Lending." Using online peer-to-peer lending as a mini financial market, Bin and colleagues investigated how the default decision of one borrower influences other borrowers in his/her social networks, the lender, and other lenders in the lender's social networks. The goal of the research is to assess the degree to which a default decision starts a cascading effect among both borrowers and lenders.

Department Chairman Michael Goul was one of five leading experts on a panel that explored “Big Data Analytics, Health IT and Social Media.”

Steve Phillips, senior vice president and chief information officer at Avnet Inc. and member of the IS department’s Executive Advisory Board, was the keynote speaker. Phillips delivered a talk entitled “IT as a Competitive Advantage,” using the opportunity to share with his academic audience the challenges companies face.

“This is extremely important for us academics,” Santanam said. “It gives us hints about what the major issues are that companies face -- so how do we solve some of these problems? From that perspective, the keynote was a huge success. Many of the attendees came to me and said it was one of the best keynotes they had heard.”

For Santanam, the conference had special significance for another reason. His advisor from his master’s degree program in India, Chandrasekharan Rajendran, was one of the attendees. They had not seen each other in 18 years.

ExxonMobil: Supporting undergraduate opportunities

Department of information systems students will again benefit from a gift from ExxonMobil Corporation. The company gave the W. P. Carey School $12,000 -- $8,000 to IS and $4,000 to the department of supply chain management. W. P. Carey is one of 83 colleges and universities to receive this support, gifts totaling more than $20 million over the past 10 years. Department Chairman Michael Goul, shown here with Joe Killalea of ExxonMobil, explains that the funds are used to support opportunities for undergraduate students, including travel to competitions and to best practice learning events provided by the Association for Information Management. ExxonMobil is a member of the department’s Executive Advisory Board, and offers information systems students opportunities to develop their careers through internships and post-graduation jobs.

DISC voted outstanding chapter

For the third year in a row, DISC (Department of Information Systems Club) has been honored by the Association for Information Systems (AIS). After being named a Distinguished Student Chapter for two yesrs in a row, the student-led group was elevated to Outstanding Student Chapter award: According to the site, “The Outstanding Student Chapter award is given to those student chapters whose activities and accomplishments can be considered outstanding among their peers. The Outstanding Student Chapter displays dedication to the advancement of its members and the chapter itself that is worthy of recognition.”

Professor Gregory Dawson, faculty advisor to DISC, points out that the students themselves run the club, making their winning streak that much more remarkable. “To put this in perspective, of all 80-plus student chapters, we have been one of the top chapters every for the last three years,” he said. “These awards are hard to win because you have to do well on some many aspects of being a chapter including recruiting, education, community service, social and financial. Simply being good in one (or two) is not going to win these awards!”

T. J. Wey, who is president of DISC this year, members and officers work hard to make the club valuable. “Because of the way that DISC is governed, numerous officers (and all of the members) are involved in making this happen and these successes are a credit to our students.

"This is all thanks to the hard work of the dedicated officers and our most active members of the 2011-12 school year, who built off of the strong foundation our alumni left us. I am proud of the achievements DISC has made while I have been active in the organization, and I hope that we can continue to grow DISC's reputation this year,” she added.

On the docket for the coming months is a career day for high school students -- a joint effort with the Arizona Chapter of the Society for Information Management (AZ SIM). Watch KnowIT for details.

Down the IS rabbit hole …

The department of information systems went mad on Halloween! The department participated in the annual school-wide W. P. Scary contest … and won! Competition was stiff, but the judges were swept away when they entered “IS in Wonderland.” Faculty and staff went all out with costumes and decorating. Angela Walline was Alice for the day and Angelina Saric ruled as a much nicer version of the Queen of Hearts. Others in our photo, counter clockwise starting with the Mad Hatter (Greg Dawson): the Caterpiller (Sarah Jenkins), Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum (Saundra Lamb and Elizabeth Sortais), the Cheshire Cat (Amanda Alfano), the White [Pink] Rabbit (Emily Galindo-Elvira), and the Playing Cards: Professors Linda Prince, Tim Olsen, and Ajay Vinze, Ph.D. student Irfan Kanat, Professors Dan Mazzola, Uday Kulkarni, Altaf Ahmad and student worker Nima Harve. It was a “curiouser and curiouser” day!