Thank You SO MUCH Carpentries Community!

We spent some time reflecting on 2020 as a Team, and wrote thank you notes for our community.

composite image of Carpentries Core Team as seen on The image above is a composite of our Core Team’s photos - from left to right,
first row : Zhian, Talisha, Sher!, Angelique, Kelly, Karen, Toby
second row: Serah, Omar, Maneesha, Kari, Erin, François


What a year! As we come to the close of 2020, in all our reflection and retrospectives and reporting and winding-down and planning for 2021 - the most accurate sentiment to sum up how we feel about our community in THANK YOU. There is so much we can collectively say as a team, in fact, we started to co-author our thank you notes to all of you, and seven pages into our collaborative document, we still have more to say, and the wise words of many of you at the back of our minds - short and succinct, that is how all Carpentries posts should be!

In any case, it is hard for us to edit our sentiments - what can we leave out of our anecdotes from this year - the innumerous times when you all stepped up, came through, spoke up, wrote down, listened, shared, asked, suggested, created, participated, reviewed, improved - and in plenty more adjectives - exemplified The Carpentries Core Values in 2020.

We will publish all seven pages of our gratitudes below, we reckon it might make for some great reading in your downtime, and should it inspire you to write your own thank you notes, we will be happy to read them on Slack #general, Discuss, or to publish them here on The Carpentries blog.

From all of us to you, THANK YOU!

Long-Form #GreenStickies by Carpentries Core Team

CarpentryCon Participants and Task Force

CarpentryCon is a global community conference for The Carpentries community that is organised by community members who constitute the conference Task Force. Having worked hard from late-2019 to organise an in-person CarpentryCon conference at University of Wisconsin-Madison, the need to change direction in 2020 to an online conference or none at all was a difficult decision for the Task Force.

We are in awe of the dedication, creativity and consistency that the Task Force showed. From facilitating a conference-swag design contest whose outcome was so impressive that we included some it in our 2019 annual report, to leading a community brainstorming session around the possibility of a 24-hour virtual conference by Malvika Sharan, the decision to run a seven-week conference and all the online conference wrangling that went into the planning process. We could not have asked for a more patient, creative and resourceful team of community members than the 2020 Task Force to work with. We really appreciate that people stepped up to lead in different capacities, and also spoke up to advocate for community members as we worked to deliver a community-centric conference. The conference itself turned out to be a great resource for new and existing community members, and as a place for networking and kickstarting collaborations. To our CarpentryCon@Home Task Force, presenters, session moderators, we thank you! You can revisit CarpentryCon@Home sessions on our YouTube channel.

Code of Conduct committee

There have been countless times throughout this year where our community has pointed to The Carpentries Code of Conduct as a beacon and exemplar to look to for organisations developing their own Codes of Conduct, A big thank you to community members that have served on the Code of Conduct Committee in 2020 and previous years for maintaining and iterating on a guide that so many can look to for inspiration and for working on a deeply important part of the organisation. One of the first steps to an inclusive organisation is an effective Code of Conduct and thanks to the Code of Conduct Committee we meet that.

A lot of the incredible work that our Code of Conduct committee does is likely to go unnoticed due to the nature of work that these community members are tasked with. Thank you Code of Conduct committee for continuing to ensure that our community members have a safe environment to work and collaborate in throughout the year. We appreciate how tirelessly you deliberate over policies and resources that guide different types of interactions in The Carpentries, and the quality with which you present these resources. The work you do directly impacts the safety and wellbeing of our community, and your insight is helping us build an inclusive community. Thank you so much Code of Conduct committee.

Community Discussion Hosts

Community Discussions in The Carpentries are hour-long discussion sessions, facilitated by Discussion Hosts, where Carpentries instructors and helpers come to debrief about past Carpentries workshops and discuss any pertinent questions and ideas around resources and lessons in The Carpentries. They are also an important part of the three-stage checkout process for certifying instructors that have previously completed their instructor training.

Discussion Hosts play a significant role in our community and without them, we would not have been able to check out as many Carpentries instructors as we were able to in 2020. Thank you for your flexibility when we shifted to an automated signup process for hosting discussion sessions this year. Your suggestions on how to make the Community Discussions Etherpad more user-friendly helped structure discussion slots in a way that made it more accessible to instructors during check-out and pre/post workshops discussions. Thank you for creating space for new community members to share their questions, and for our instructors to share how our workshops are going.

Carpentries Executive Council

The Executive Council is made up of community-elected and council-elected community members, and is the governance arm of The Carpentries. Our 2020 Executive Council has given so much this year- late nights, early mornings, wise counsel, support and resources for our community, thoughtful deliberations around Carpentries policies in calls, over email and in GitHub issues, diligently keeping our governance documents updated and supporting Dr Kari L. Jordan in her first year as The Carpentries Executive Director. Thank you so much!

Instructors, Supporting Instructors and Helpers

Carpentries instructors are the heartbeat of The Carpentries as our mission to bring foundational coding and data science skills to researchers worldwide would not be possible without instructors. Thank you for volunteering your time and expertise to teach foundational coding and data science skills over and over again.

In 2020, it has been incredible to watch our instructors, supporting instructors and helpers show up and deliver great workshops, and to read in blog posts and hear in community discussions about their unique, creative, generous and really useful approaches to knowledge sharing in uncharted territory - online workshops. A big thank you to all the instructors who made the shift to running online workshops possible, and for being so patient and responsive as our team communicated changes and called on you to teach online in 2020. Your dedication to make our workshops an excellent learning experience for all our learners and your willingness and openness to trying new ways of teaching made it possible for us to continue delivering workshops around the world during this global pandemic. It also helped us grow into creating new learning experiences for our community.

We really appreciate that beyond giving of their time and resources towards Carpentries workshops, instructors have continued to provide peer mentorship for learners, and have taken time to share their challenges, tips and hacks around teaching online in a way that has enabled us to offer well-rounded official Carpentries recommendations for teaching online, and inspire other communities to learn and implement these in their own learning environments. The feedback that instructors have provided by way of opening issues against lesson repositories, submitting pull requests to update, improve and add to existing resources has also enabled us to improve the quality of the resources that The Carpentries has shared globally in 2020.

We are also in awe of all of the new Instructors who have been involved in Teaching Demo sessions in the past year. It has been a true joy to engage with new members of our Instructor community and to see the ways in which each of you embody our values, bring new life to our teaching methods. All of the new strategies for teaching our lesson materials and words of wisdom supplied by our new instructors have been incredible, and we have learnt new things in every session we participated in. Thank you new instructors!

Instructor Development Committee

Instructor Development Committee (IDC) leaders in The Carpentries lead efforts to organise Community Discussions, set up mentoring cycles, and advocate for activities and initiatives that promote professional development, equity and inclusivity for Carpentries instructors. Since their onboarding in late 2020, it has been amazing to see how quickly and readily the 2021 IDC committee has taken hold of their roles and started to brainstorm about ways to improve the experience and opportunities and resources that are available to Carpentries instructors around the world. We are so excited for the work this committee will do with our instructor community in 2021, starting with the revamped Carpentries Mentoring Groups in January 2021.

We are also very grateful for all the work the outgoing IDC committee put in in 2019 and early 2020, as well as in previous years, as this has made it possible for incoming IDC Leaders to hit the ground running in their roles. Thank you so much to IDC Leadership, both current and alumni!

Lesson Developers

Our work to bring foundational coding and data science skills to researchers worldwide is made possible by our community members that author these lessons. Thank you for bringing your skills and expertise to our community. Meeting and working more closely with our lesson developers in The Carpentries Incubator this year as we welcomed our Curriculum Community Developer, Toby Hodges, this year has been amazing. The enthusiasm this growing sub-community displays for sharing knowledge and teaching new skills is extraordinary, and we have been struck by the pace at which some of these lessons have been developed. We are so excited to see how this community and the lessons develop in 2021!

Lesson Maintainers

Lesson Maintainers in The Carpentries work with the community to make sure that lessons stay up-to-date, accurate, functional and cohesive. The time and energy Lesson Maintainers continue to devote to Software, Library, and Data Carpentry lessons is so valuable. Our resources are as impactful as they are because our maintainers take the time to consider ways to improve them. It is no small task that the maintainers are at the receiving end of contributions that come in as part of our instructor checkout process, HacktoberFest initiatives, community discussions and other initiatives, and the grace, precision and timeliness with which they consider and prioritise these for incorporation is commendable. Thank you for helping us exemplify The Carpentries values of ‘ we value all contributions’ so well.

A big thank you to Angela Li for bringing so much energy during her time as the maintainer community lead in The Carpentries and tackling the challenge of our first-ever official maintainer onboarding. The work done by Angela Li to develop onboarding and documentation for lesson Maintainers will be so useful to community members learning to maintain official lessons and lessons in The Carpentries Incubator. And, after his amazing Git for Maintainers session at CarpentryCon@Home 2020, it is great to see Daniel Chen follow Angela and get further involved as the new Maintainer Community Lead. And of course, the community would not be anything without its members who help each other tackle difficult problems and support each other going forward. To that point, thank you so much to Rohit Goswami, Jeff Oliver, and Allison Theobold for working together in identifying and recommending paths forward in migrating our R-based lessons to be compatible with version 4.0. Last, but not least, we are so grateful to Christina Koch for leading a maintainer coworking session in November 2020 that was very well received and will serve as a model for future sessions to strengthen the maintainer community. We are also grateful to everyone who contributed to Glosario, especially Ian Flores, Batool Almarzouq, Janetta Steyn, and Bailey Harrington, who contributed valuable functionality and feedback that helped improve the experience for future Glosario contributors.

Thank you for all the work and energy you put into making sure our lessons remain up-to-date, the bugs and typos are taken care of, and suggestions to improve the lessons are reviewed. Your contributions make our lessons better and contribute to the success of our workshops, and most importantly, our learners!

Member organisations

A Member Organisation in The Carpentries is one that has made a financial commitment to the growth and sustainability of The Carpentries and works with us to build local capacity for training. We would like to thank our current member organisations for sticking with us through the pandemic, even as some have dealt with budget cuts and rescoped organisational priorities. Thank you for being so supportive of our Membership team transition, and shout out to all of the brand new Carpentries members who were onboarded this year - your attendance and contribution to the membership survey, and in member council meetings is highly appreciated.

Sometimes when new member organisations are onboarded, they request for guidance from other member organisations, particularly on matters around community building and sustainability. It has been great to see member organisation contacts excited and willing to take the time to share their methods and tips for getting a new community started. Thank you for being so resourceful and generous with your knowledge!

Carpentries Trainers

Our Trainer community has provided indispensable leadership during the transition to online training, and has come together to support each other through supportive co-instruction and Trainer meetings, among other things, in such amazing ways this year.

We are in awe of the flexibility shown by our Trainer community in 2020. When the pandemic started to take hold, it quickly became clear that the standard model of Instructor Training over two full days would not be practical for many Trainers and trainee Instructors who had to juggle multiple responsibilities while navigating the challenges of working from home. The Trainer community quickly began experimenting with alternative formats, splitting training over multiple days and comparing notes on the arrangement and division of training sessions they found worked best. This was a tremendous example of how an active and reflective community can communicate and collaborate to solve difficult problems.

Trainers’ feedback was integral to our recommendations for teaching Carpentries workshops online and they helped us launch our new bonus modules for Instructor Training by serving as pilot learners, coming to onboarding sessions, and offering to teach this new workshop! We also really appreciate your patience and constructive feedback as we updated the Trainer Agreement this year!

We would also like to thank our provisional Trainers Leadership group who were recruited in 2019 with the goal of spending a few months to set up for an elected governance, and ended up investing a full year attending monthly meetings, keeping the Trainer community running, offering guidance on key policies, and finally getting to a place where retainer community elections can take place. This first Trainer Leadership cohort has taken on more than what was asked of them, and our trainer community has benefited tremendously from their care and perseverance. Thank you so much Trainers Leadership team! Our Instructor Training Curriculum maintainers – some of whom have also seen us through the leadership push – have not only maintained, but leveled up the approach to continuing, collaborative development of our Instructor Training program. Weam so excited to see what 2021 brings us as these groups build on their accomplishments from this year!

From all of us at The Carpentries, thank you so much for all you do! Remember, if you feel inspired to write your own thank you notes as you reflect on your year in The Carpentries, please feel free to share in Slack #general, Discuss, or to submit a PR and we will publish them here on The Carpentries blog.

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