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Ethics article earns Mission Award from Notre Dame

Scott Nestler and David HuntAn article co-authored by Scott Nestler and David Hunt, both longtime and active members of INFORMS, was named a winner of the Mission Award from the Mendoza College of Business at the University of Notre Dame. The article, “Using INFORMS ethics guidelines in the classroom,” appeared in the February 2017 issue of OR/MS Today (the INFORMS membership magazine). The Mission Award recognizes one or more Notre Dame faculty members for a specific research work that contributes to the common good.

Nestler, CAP, is an associate teaching professor in the Department of Information Technology, Analytics and Operations (ITAO) with the Mendoza College of Business at Notre Dame. Hunt is an engagement manager at Oliver Wyman who chaired the INFORMS Ad Hoc Committee on Ethical Guidelines.

The citation read in part: “Scott Nestler and colleague David Hunt describe how the Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences (INFORMS) and its ethics guidelines can be used in the classroom. Their work stems from their involvement with the creation of the INFORMS Ethics in O.R. & Analytics Group, which is meant to bring awareness to and the promotion of issues of ethics in operations research and analytics.”

The citation also included the following excerpt: “Work done by members of INFORMS increasingly impacts peoples’ lives as the use of our algorithms and models spreads and as data collection becomes more detailed and more personal. Yet too often we become absorbed by the elegance of our models and research, failing to consider any potential ethical implications. Or, we find ourselves faced with a situation that seems unethical and are forced to determine the best course of action without previously having established exactly what we consider to be ethical. INFORMS recently approved a set of ethical guidelines ‘intended to be aspirational, something members should attempt to follow throughout their career.’ The guidelines are organized around our responsibilities to society, to the organization where or for whom we work, and to the profession of operations research. The guidelines include 18 topics, ranging from ‘accountable’ to ‘rigorous’ to ‘tolerant,’ with each topic accompanied by a brief description to provide aspirational guidance without defining an exact course of action.”

Nestler and Hunt’s article was one of five articles – one for each of Mendoza’s five departments – cited by Associate Dean Ken Kelley.

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