Tenth President of AIS: Richard T. Watson
Richard T. Watson was the tenth president of AIS. When he took office, AIS has incurred two annual successive losses exceeding $200,000. As a result, establishing the financial viability of AIS monopolized his attention during this term. The budget was carefully scrutinized, and the cycle of losses was turned into more than a $100,000 surplus.
Fortunately, he was co-chair of ICIS in 2004 with Sambamurthy, and by carefully managing the ICIS budget, they were able to contribute significantly to restoring the financial well-being of AIS. A number of actions were taken to establish the long-term financial health of AIS, including an analysis of the operations of AIS by the Finance Committee, chaired by Joe Valacich, and a review of the financial contributions of AMCIS and ICIS by a committee chaired by Malcolm Munro, VP of Meetings and Conferences. Also, AIS replaced its in-house website system with an open-source content management system to reduce costs and improve the currency of the site.
Rick grew up on a farm at Narembeen, about 300 kilometers east of Perth in Western Australia. Upon completing primary school in Narembeen, he moved to Perth to live with his maternal grandparents to attend Mt. Lawley Senior High School, as Narembeen was too small to have a high school.
He started his career in 1970 with the Post Master General’s Department in Melbourne, Australia, and subsequently held positions in private enterprise and consulting before joining the Western Australian Institute of Technology (now Curtin University) in 1976. Three years later he was recruited by the Churchlands College of Advanced Education (now Edith Cowan University) as the foundation head of the informations systems department. He established several undergraduate and graduate programs in IS during the next few years. In 1984, he took leave to undertake a Ph.D. in MIS at the University of Minnesota. Upon his return to Australia in 1987, he resumed his position as head of IS. In 1989 he joined the University of Georgia. He now holds the J. Rex Fuqua Distinguished Chair for Internet Strategy in the MIS department in the Terry College of Business.
Rick is the author of more than 150 journal articles and 18 books. He recently published, with Marie-Claude Boudreau, Energy Informatics. He has given over 200 invited presentations in more than 30 countries. He is a consulting editor to John Wiley & Sons, a visiting scholar at the University of Agder in Norway and the Viktoria Institute in Sweden, the international coordinator for the Ph.D. in Information Systems at Addis Ababa University in Ethiopia, and the research director for the Advanced Practices Council of the Society of Information Management. He founded and co-leads, with Don McCubbrey, the Global Text Project, which is creating a library of open content textbooks for students in the developing world. He has been active in the management of several conferences and served on several editorial boards, including a senior editorship with MIS Quarterly. He is a fellow of the Association for Information Systems and the Royal Society for the Arts.
BSc and Diploma (Computation), 1968 and 1969, University of Western Australia; MBA, 1973, Monash University; PhD, 1987, University of Minnesota.