The Carpentries Strategic Plan: Year Two In Review
In April of 2021, The Carpentries published our Year One Strategic Plan Update.
Outlined in the strategic plan are the following six goals:
- Build regional and local capacity to empower sustainable communities
- Intentionally incorporate equity, inclusion, and accessibility to support a diverse community.
- Provide opportunities for growth and professional development of our volunteers and Core Team.
- Facilitate the creation and maintenance of relevant, high-quality, community-curated curricula.
- Strengthen organisational structure and capacity to be strategic and responsive.
- Advocate for our values and vision to empower more people to work with data and software.
Each of these goals carries with it specific objectives and rationale to aid us in implementing them.
In our second year of work towards the Strategic Plan, we have made significant progress on each of the six goals. Read on to learn about the work we accomplished in each goal, and follow the Strategic Plan GitHub repository for quarterly updates.
Goal 1: Build regional and local capacity to empower sustainable communities
In this second year of our strategic plan, we began consolidating our community management efforts into a Community Development Program. This program brings together aspects of our previous Champions, Community Facilitators, and Regional Coordinators programs, and synthesizes efforts to enable our community members to support their local groups effectively.
To further support the growing Carpentries community in Africa, we brought on a full-time African Capacity Development Manager, who organised and facilitated the first Virtual CarpentryConnect on the African continent with over 120 attendees and volunteers from 28 countries worldwide, including 16 countries in Africa. During the event, an estimated 300GB of mobile data was provided to 71 attendees over 19 African network providers - a first for The Carpentries.
You can view the completed Strategic Plan deliverables under Goal 1 in GitHub.
Goal 2: Intentionally incorporate equity, inclusion, and accessibility to support a diverse community.
We received two grants this year focused on diversity, equity, and inclusion. With support from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, we are working with four historically underrepresented serving professional organisations to offer workshops and Instructor Training to their members and increase the diversity of The Carpentries community. Representatives from each organisation also form The Carpentries Equity Council, with a remit to bring culturally responsive teaching practices to Carpentries workshops and Instructor Training. Additional funding from the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative has enabled us to hire a full-time Accessibility Manager and provide training and support to better integrate Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) awareness and education into The Carpentries operations and community. These funds will also support sponsored memberships for three organisations in Latin America and Southern Africa.
We have focused on continuously improving the accessibility of our online presence - including adding alt-text to images across our existing curricula and building accessibility checks into our new lesson infrastructure. We have made our programming more affordable for organisations around the world by introducing geographically-tiered pricing according to the World Bank’s gross national income categorisation and a financial support process.
We continue to see our community grow globally and linguistically - with community members leading the first Carpentries workshop in Japanese, two Spanish-language Instructor Training events, and our second annual Glossario contribution drive among other initiatives, which resulted in over 300 contributions in Amharic and six other African languages.
You can view the completed Strategic Plan deliverables under Goal 2 in GitHub. Additionally, check out the blog posts tagged “accessibility”.
Goal 3: Provide opportunities for growth and professional development of our volunteers and Core Team.
This year, community members have had many opportunities to grow professionally by serving the community in a variety of roles, including new Code of Conduct Committee members, Curriculum Advisors, Community Discussion Hosts, and Lesson Maintainers.
We welcomed our largest and most linguistically diverse cohort of Instructor Trainers, inaugurated a Trainers Leadership Group, and published an updated version of our Instructor Training curriculum.
Our Core Team has received training in disability inclusion in the workplace through partnership with Understood. Our Team Leads are engaged in a joint professional development process using resources from The Management Center and in collaboration with Tara Robertson Consulting.
You can view the completed Strategic Plan deliverables under Goal 3 in GitHub.
Goal 4: Facilitate the creation and maintenance of relevant, high-quality, community-curated curricula.
Goal 4 is all about how our community interacts with and maintains our curricula. The seeds that we laid in year one of the strategic plan have bloomed into wonderful healthy projects that continue to grow and gain support. Case in point: In addition to new Data Carpentry astronomy curriculum, we have over 100 lessons in The Carpentries Incubator with new lessons regularly featured in a recurring blog series that we call the Carpentries Incubator Lesson Spotlight for our community to discover new work by other community members. To facilitate community cohesion, we led the pilot round of the Lesson Development Study Groups , which provided a space to support community members developing new lessons in The Carpentries Incubator. It was an overall success, creating a community that continues on in the form of monthly Lesson Development Coworking Sessions. One thing that we are really excited about is our partnership with the Journal of Open Source Education (JOSE) in piloting open peer review of lessons to provide both quality assurance and a clear pathway for lessons to graduate from the Incubator to The Carpentries Lab.
Facilitating the creation of future lessons is our upcoming lesson infrastructure (called The Carpentries Workbench), which recently had a complete redesign for the front-end. This new redesign makes sure the quality of the website matches the quality of the content by optimising layout and font choices, and ensuring contrast reaches AAA accessibility standards. Moreover, our testing of the maintainer interface to the workbench shows that it is intuitive and easy to use. After many improvements, the workbench has officially entered the beta phase and is already being actively used for several lessons. In the next phase, we will do a phased rollout of the workbench to our existing lessons to ensure our community has a smooth transition.
You can view the ongoing Strategic Plan deliverables under Goal 4 in GitHub.
Goal 5: Strengthen organisational structure and capacity to be strategic and responsive.
Goal 5 of our strategic plan is all about strengthening our organisation through effective and equitable processes and structures. In our governance, we clarified Executive Council roles and responsibilities and developed standing committees to empower the work and engagement of the Executive Council.
We improved our ability to plan capacity for offering workshops and Instructor Training by developing annual check-ins with community members in key volunteer roles, including Instructor Trainers and Lesson Maintainers. We undertook our first assessment of our Instructor Training program and reached a milestone of [supporting over 100 Member organisations(https://carpentries.org/blog/2021/06/100-carpentries-memberships/).
You can view the completed Strategic Plan deliverables under Goal 5 in GitHub.
Goal 6: Advocate for our values and vision to empower more people to work with data and software.
Our nine core values guide our decision-making and approach to serving the community. To ensure The Carpentries continues to collaborate with organisations with like-minded values, The Carpentries Executive Council approved a Values Alignment Task Force to outline a set of recommendations that would be used to develop a Due Diligence process for how to identify whether an organisation or service is acting in accordance with The Carpentries Core Values.
Additionally, Core Team members have advocated for The Carpentries and our approach to equity and inclusion, community building, and accessible infrastructure at Vive la differénce - research software engineers, and during meetings with the African American Medical Librarians Alliance, U.S. Government Accountability Office Division of Science, Technology Assessment, and Analytics, iDigBio, SADiLaR, and National Science Foundation.
You can view the completed Strategic Plan deliverables under Goal 6 in GitHub.
What is next?
The Strategic Plan is the plan! Watch this short video of Dr. Kari L. Jordan and Tara Robertson discussing The Carpentries’ Strategic Plan for 2020-2025 and how it aligns with our efforts in equity, inclusion, and accessibility. We also encourage you to follow updates in our Strategic Plan GitHub repository.
Dialogue & Discussion
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