After studying computer science in his native Poland, Pawel Kalczynski (pronounced Pavel Cal-chin-ski) joined the faculty of Cal State Fullerton’s business college in 2007, where he teaches both undergraduate and graduate coursework in business modeling; information resources and IT project management; business data transformation; and systems analysis, design and development.
With research appearing in peer-reviewed journals in both the U.S. and Europe, Kalczynski is known in his field for his interest in making business processes more efficient and effective.
Kalczynski shares with us a bit about the information systems and decision sciences profession, his research, the differences between information systems in his native Poland and the U.S., and his passion for soccer.
What interests you in information systems?
Information systems is the home of three disciplines: information systems, which in the United States is a behavioral discipline studying human interaction; decision sciences, a quantitative discipline based on mathematical and computation models for analytics; and statistics.
I’m on the numerical, quantitative side, so I would classify myself as a decision scientist.
There are many aspects to decision sciences. These days, the field is known as analytics. The most common subfields of analytics are descriptive, which are reporting and statistical analysis; predictive, which is forecasting; and prescriptive, which is optimization.
I deal with optimization, which is making things more efficient. Cheaper, faster, better. This is relevant not only to business, but to all aspects of life. I think that optimization should be applied to your chores, your family life and how you organize your day, as well.
What are your research interests?
Some of my recent projects deal with the optimal location of obnoxious facilities, such as garbage dumps or nuclear disposal sites. Something you don’t want near your residence.
My recent paper developed a model, which places facilities people need but don’t want to live near as far away from residences as possible in an optimal manner.
Another research paper examined making things cheaper and more efficient for self-organizing carpools, in which carpoolers organize their commute amongst themselves, rather than relying on a company or other entity to organize it for them, and in so doing gained more savings and reduced fuel consumption.
What do you like most about teaching?
I’ve been teaching graduate classes for the last 13 years at Mihaylo College, so I particularly enjoy teaching to this group of students. I especially appreciate the knowledge-sharing aspect.
It’s not just the students learning from me and my experience, but all of these students are working professionals or have some professional experience, so they come from different professional backgrounds and are willing to share.
It is not a one-to-many environment, but a many-to-many, in which all students and even myself as the instructor learn from each other.
What is business school like in your native Poland?
When it comes to the business core, the schools in Poland teach from the same textbooks, whether the subject is microeconomics, macroeconomics, management or statistics.
What is different is that the information systems field here in the United States is perceived as mostly the behavioral, human-computer interactions aspect, while the focus of information systems in Europe is mostly based on computational and quantitative aspects.
So the U.S. term for information systems is closer to computer science for business, and sometimes in Europe it is referred to as business informatics for that reason.
There are some classes in Poland offered in English. These days, the schools in Poland, especially my alma mater, Poznan University, have increased their offering of English courses. Information systems is a very English-focused field globally.
[For more on Poland, from an economic, historical and tourism perspective, please see the author’s LinkedIn piece featuring Kalczynski’s perspectives].
Tell us about your involvement in youth soccer. What motivates you?
I started playing soccer as soon as I started walking. These days, I’m very involved in youth soccer as an official (referee) in two organizations, which are a part of the U.S. Soccer Federation.
One is the top level of youth soccer in the country – U.S. Soccer Development Academy – as a high-level referee, and I’m privileged to officiate the highest level of youth games in the country.
And I am a volunteer for the largest soccer club in the world, AYSO, where I train referees and am the director of assessment for seven cities, which serves 13,000 players.
I am also an NCAA and NAIA soccer referee at the college level and a California Interscholastic Federation high school soccer referee; so, I’m in every single youth soccer organization in this country.
For More on Information Systems
Seeking a future in information systems and decision sciences? Mihaylo College offers undergraduate and graduate programs that prepare students for careers in such in-demand fields as data analytics, decision sciences and information technology. For more information, visit the Mihaylo College ISDS department website.
Read more articles about Information Systems and Decisions Sciences.