Introducing The Carpentries Community Facilitators Program

Read on and find out how to collaborate with us to develop resources under this program

The Community Facilitators Program is a new initiative in The Carpentries that seeks to create new pathways for active involvement in everyday community activities by more community members. This program will help sustain the growing Carpentries community and support other core programs that contribute to the advancement of our mission.

In 2019, Kari L. Jordan, Tracy Teal, Sher! Hurt and Serah Rono constituted a Core Team working group that discussed how to support Carpentries community members through conflict. This working group identified the need for a task force to make recommendations for dealing with incidents that come up in our community spaces and whose review and resolution fall outside the mandate of The Carpentries Code of Conduct (CoC) committee (see task force charter). One of the key recommendations from this Task Force was the institution of a Code of Conduct Facilitators Program to serve as an added layer of support for our community before incidents are reported to the Code of Conduct Committee (CoCc). More specific suggestions about how the Code of Conduct Facilitators Program could operate were first proposed by Malvika Sharan, the 2020 Code of Conduct committee chair in Q1 2019. In summary, while maintaining the role of the CoCc as a CoC enforcement body, Code of Conduct Facilitators would actively monitor Carpentries online spaces and physical meetings and share potentially negative behaviours or otherwise certify that the community is functioning as expected.

In thinking about the term facilitation as a verb in our community, we also realised there existed more opportunities for community facilitationfor both existing and new community members. With this in mind, we decided to expand on the original Carpentries Code of Conduct Facilitators mandate to include other necessary elements of facilitation that we see as necessary for the health and continuance of an established community. This, we believe, will help community members see themselves as Facilitators, open up multiple pathways for interested community members to build trust, and create a peer network of facilitators.

In Summary, Community Facilitators are people who are empowered to advocate for others in the community and guide community members as they navigate The Carpentries global community.

Community Facilitation in The Carpentries

The Carpentries Community Development Team, in collaboration with experts like Lou Woodley of the CSCCE, has been hard at work from Q2 2020 (i) developing resources and (ii) preparing to onboard and empower community members to spearhead different kinds of facilitation in The Carpentries. Here are the different facilitation roles we see an immediate need for in The Carpentries:

  1. Code of Conduct facilitation

    Bridge between community members at events and our Code of Conduct processes

  2. Feedback facilitation

    • collect and organise community feedback shared publicly and informally in Carpentries spaces for ease of filtering, action and response in the community,
    • periodically offer official recommendations and kickstart conversations on issues and items that Core Team should prioritise,
    • maintain a public, community-wishlist board that collates community feedback on different initiatives and experiences in The Carpentries
    • recommend topics for Carpentries Conversations and Themed Discussions to the Instructor Development and Communications facilitation team as appropriate
  3. Technology facilitation

    Community-facing and community-led helpdesk for all everyday ‘how-do-I’ questions that newcomers have as they collaborate with others on platforms The Carpentries uses i.e. GitHub

  4. Community buddy system

    Providing a safe and welcoming environment for the onboarding of new community members - saying hello and ‘come to me with any questions’, etc

  5. Communications facilitation

    • Community-led committee to help translate key communications so we can share these in languages other than English across our socials
    • Scouting for good candidates across our community to speak in panel-style, monthly Carpentries conversations
  6. Resource-enhancement facilitation

    Content design facilitation to guide the publication and archiving of community-created resources in a way that makes them accessible to all, and lowers barriers to knowledge acquisition by other community members i.e. replacing sea of text with images, GIFs, videos, illustrating workflows to make them easier to understand, managing tags and their use to collate resources across Carpentries platforms, etc

  7. Accessibility facilitation

    Reviewing Carpentries accessibility guidelines that guide interactions in online and in-person spaces, as well as the creation of written and audio-visual content and choice of platforms. Ideally, these guidelines will be authored by Core Team and passed along to community facilitators for expansion, enforcement and maintenance i.e. update guidelines as nature of interactions or platforms evolve.

Community Facilitators Program Timeline

The seven modules we have identified as a starting point mean there is a lot for us to do.

Here is a timeline of activities as The Carpentries Core Team works to develop resources for the Community Facilitators program. If you are interested in collaborating with us on a specific module that may also be of interest for your community, please reach out to Serah Rono via email.

Role Personnel Timeline
Program Lead Serah Rono start - end of program
Curriculum authors:
Pilot module
Code of Conduct Module
All other modules

Lou Woodley, Serah Rono, Kari Jordan
CoCc, Serah Rono
Community Development Team

Q3 2020
Q1 2021
Q2 2021 - Q4 2021
Trainers / Mentors:
Pilot module
Code of Conduct Module
All other modules

Lou Woodley, Serah Rono, Kari Jordan
CoCc, Serah Rono
Community Development Team

October 2020
May 2021
Q3 2021 - Q2 2022
Outreach Carpentries Communications Manager, Serah Rono start - end of program
Resource reviewers:
Pilot module
Code of Conduct Module
All other modules

Core Team
Core Team, Executive Council
Core Team, facilitators from previous cohorts

Mid and end of Q3 2020
Mid and end of Q1 2021
Periodically between Q2 and Q4 2021

We look forward to hearing from and collaborating with you.

Dialogue & Discussion