Summary of May Community Call: Restructuring the Carpentries

This post originally appeared on the Software Carpentry website.

Thanks to those of you who attended the May Community Calls, the topic of which was restructuring of Software Carpentry (SWC) and Data Carpentry (DC) into a single unified (umbrella) organization, with SWC and DC continuing as lesson organizations within the umbrella.

As the Chair of the SWC Steering Committee, I am one of the representatives from each organization tasked with developing a plan of action for how the restructuring will proceed over the next ca. six months. I am gratified by how much our community cares about its future, and what we (as community) believe is important to target as we proceed in planning. The following items highlight major discussion points synthesized from both community calls, and a complete set of notes is available on the etherpad.

  • Organizational members represent major stakeholders in our community. Given a majority of organizations have signed joint memberships with SWC and DC, we expect the transition to a restructured organization will be smooth, with scheduling of workshops proceeding as normal. Representatives of each member organization currently comprise the SWC Advisory Council, and we are currently assessing how to maintain connections with member organizations in a restructured Carpentries.

  • Scalability of a restructured organization is clearly an area of interest throughout our community. An umbrella organization represents an ability to not only combine the assets and advantages of both DC and SWC, but also allows for planning to expand operations into different disciplines, geographic areas, lesson modules etc. We are mindful of a need to balance opportunities for growth with continuing to provide high-quality workshops.

  • Local communities are a cornerstone of scalable growth. Finding ways to bolster local and regional groups of learners and instructors represents an essential step in maintaining cohesiveness and identity as we continue to promote both the umbrella organization as well as individual lesson organizations.

  • Other lesson developers besides DC and SWC (e.g., Library Carpentry) are already thinking about how they might fit in to the restructured umbrella organization. Given the restructured organization was designed specifically with this type of growth in mind, we are currently considering what mutual expectations and onboarding might look like in these cases.

  • Instructor Training is currently in high demand throughout our community, and represents one of the major deliverables to our organizational members. Instructors certified for either DC or SWC are currently eligible to teach workshops for either group. When combined with the focus of instructor training on effective pedagogical practices, the restructuring process should not change how we train instructors.

Please note that we have only begun to lay out the basic framework for the restructured organization, and the points above serve to highlight areas of interest from the community calls. I’m excited about taking this feedback to the rest of the group involved in planning, and look forward to continued reporting on this process.

Dialogue & Discussion

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