The Academic - Practitioner (Non)-Divide

In the past, when I renewed my membership to the Institute for Operations Research and Management sciences (INFORMS), one of the questions I was asked to answer to update my membership profile bothered me. The question provided only two checkboxes, of which only one could be selected. Specifically, I was asked to identify myself as primarily an "Academic" OR a "Practitioner" (of Operations Research, or OR). (Note the two different uses of the word/acronymn "OR" in the previous sentence.)

However, I consider myself to be both an academic AND a practitioner. If you consider there to be a fence or dividing line between the two, I would say that I have one foot firmly on the ground on either side of it. But, I don't see it as being quite so clear cut. For OR practitioners, it is important to have a solid academic background supporting your work. Similarly, to be a good academic, having practical experience is invaluable to both teaching and research efforts.

Upon renewing my membership for 2013, I noticed that the question is now more clear in that it asks for the "primary employment classification" and offers five choices -- academic, government, business, consulting, retired/underemployed/other. And, there is another question that allows members to specify the various roles that they perform.

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