Amending the Carpentries Bylaws in 2020

Here is what has changed in our bylaws this year

One of the tasks of the Executive Council is to “re-approve [the Bylaws] or an amended version every two years.”

What are our Bylaws?

The Carpentries Bylaws are a set of governance rules that describe the purpose of the organisation, how we are governed, how membership is regulated and how we operate.

The Carpentries Bylaws can be found in the Carpentries Handbook.

The first version of the Bylaws were developed, and approved in November 2018, by the first Executive Council of the newly formed The Carpentries organisation. This meant that 2020 marks the first time these bylaws have needed reapproval or amendment.

In order to do so, The Executive Council put together a working group that prepared amendments, and discussed these with the entire Council and in many cases the Executive Director and Core Team of The Carpentries.

Changes to the Bylaws

As a result of this process, we have made several changes.

Firstly, at the time of approval of the first version of the Bylaws, we had not yet created the Carpentries Vision Statement. One of the first changes we made this year was adding the final Vision Statement at the beginning of the bylaws. We cannot repeat our wonderful vision enough, so here it is again:

The Carpentries vision is to be the leading inclusive community teaching data and coding skills.

We also formalised that determining the vision of The Carpentries is a responsibility of the Executive Council, as well as clarified the Council’s roles and responsibilities and operational procedures.

Another change we made was to the timeline of the Election for the Executive Council. We relaxed the preparation procedure by starting the process a month earlier.

As an aside, at the time of writing, the Election for the 2021 Executive Council is ongoing. Please make sure to vote!

Interestingly, going through this process of amending the bylaws identified the need for improvements outside of them. The Bylaws in several places refer to policies, and as a result of the work on the Bylaws this year, the Executive Council and Core Team identified the need for two new policies:

These policies describe procedures related to formation, operations, documentation, and termination of these important efforts in our organisation.

We also made changes to individual membership (which gives community members the right to vote in the election for the Executive Council), putting certification as Trainer on equal footing with certification as Instructor and clarifying rules for membership based on community contributions.

Many of the other changes were clarifications of the language or intentions.

The full details of all the amendments made can be found by going through the two Pull Requests that we prepared and approved as part of the formal amendment process

As always, The Executive Council welcomes community feedback on these Bylaws. If you would like to contact us, see our contact information.

Dialogue & Discussion