Calling for Volunteers to join a Lesson Program Governance Committee

Guide the development of Software Carpentry, Library Carpentry, or Data Carpentry

This post was updated on 3rd February 2023, extending the deadline for applications to the end of Wednesday 15th February 2023 Anywhere on Earth.

The Carpentries has three lesson programs, Software Carpentry, Library Carpentry, and Data Carpentry. In November, I published a post describing the governance structure of each lesson program, and outlining a plan to introduce more community governance in the form of Lesson Program Governance Committees (LPGCs). Today, 24 January we open the call for volunteers to form these new committees. The call for volunteers will remain open until the end of 5th February, and I encourage anyone interested in community leadership and guiding the development of one of the lesson programs to apply.

The proposed structure of lesson program governance, and the responsibilities of each governance group, following the 
introduction of Lesson Program Governance Committees in 

Committee Powers & Responsibilities

The Responsibilities of the new LPGCs will fall into three main categories of leadership: strategy, advocacy, and communication.

  • Strategy:
    • Monitoring the health of the lesson program and designing strategies to maintain and improve it
    • Identifying priorities for growing the community and reach of the lesson program
    • Working with Core Team and other community members to act on the strategic priorities identified
  • Advocacy:
    • Representing the lesson program in their local and professional networks
    • Working with the Executive Council and Core Team to promote the interests of the lesson program within The Carpentries
  • Communication:
    • Reporting on the activities, objectives, and needs of the lesson program to the Executive Council and Core Team
    • Engaging the community on topics and projects relevant to the development of the lesson program
    • Working with the Core Team to maintain up-to-date information about the lesson program on The Carpentries websites

Committee members will take on a leadership role within the lesson program community, and have the chance to guide the development of the lesson program. For example, committee members might identify new audiences for the lesson program and help develop strategies to reach those new audiences; they might identify opportunities to strengthen the lesson program community; or they might approve the addition of whole new curricula to the lesson program.

The committees will communicate about and advocate for their lesson program, for example by representing the lesson program at conferences and other relevant events. They will also report and make recommendations to the Executive Council, coordinate with the Curriculum Advisory Committee(s) (CAC(s)) for their lesson program, and communicate with the wider lesson program community.

Especially as these committees are being established for the first time, they will be given a large degree of self-determination: in accordance with the Lesson Program Governance Policy, the Governance Committees will have the power to decide on their own terms, e.g. the length of member term limits, the method by which new members will be selected (e.g. elected or approved), how they overlap/interact with Curriculum Advisors, request additional powers from the Executive Council, etc.

As with other committees in The Carpentries, each LPGC will include a Chair and Secretary. These officers will hold additional responsibilities alongside those of a regular LPGC member, and will receive additional onboarding to ensure they are well-prepared to take on the roles. The responsibilities associated with these officer roles will be almost identical to the Chair and Secretary of Curriculum Advisory Committees.

Support for LPGCs

Although they will act independently, LPGC members will be supported throughout their term, via:

  • Onboarding: at least two hours of information and training to prepare you to carry out duties as a committee member, including information about meeting logistics, decision-making, and communication channels.
  • Core Team liaison: a liaison from the Core Team will be assigned to each Governance Committee, attending each committee meeting to answer questions about the internal logistics of the organisation and act as a conduit for information and requests between committee members and the Core Team.
  • Data and other information provided by the Core Team on request from governance committees (in accordance with data security and privacy policies) e.g. data to inform committee discussions concerning the health of the lesson program.
  • Comprehensive documentation as a handbook for Lesson Program Governors.

Who Should Apply?

You should! We would like committees to be broadly representative of their lesson program community, which means including perspectives from every community role. Maintainers have a vital role to play, bringing their experience of handling contributions to lessons and interacting with the community on GitHub. The voice of Instructors will be essential, to inform discussions based on experience gained from teaching workshops and interacting with Learners. Workshop Hosts can speak to the value of the lesson program to their communities, and how Carpentries workshops fit into the bigger picture of training and professional development in their context. Curriculum Advisors could provide a vital bridge between the governance of curriculum and the lesson program as a whole. If you are reading this, would like to apply, but do not fit any of the roles mentioned above, you should still do so! If you would like to take on a role in The Carpentries community but this is not the right time for you to apply - or if you think a different role might be a better fit - we will also be opening a call for volunteers to join Maintainer Onboarding in mid-February, and are likely to be calling for new Curriculum Advisors in the middle of 2023 too. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact me.

What is the Time Requirement?

As this is the first time that LPGCs are being established, we have no information about the time required for this role. However, committees are expected to meet quarterly, with a minimum of 1 hour of preparation/follow-up work (probably 2 for the committee Chair). Taking into account other time that may be taken up by communication and other tasks, you can expect LPGC membership to require a minimum of 3 hours every three months.

How to Apply

You can volunteer to join a Lesson Program Governance Committee by filling out this short form. The call for volunteers will close at the end of Wednesday 15th February 2023 Anywhere on Earth After this, volunteer applications will be reviewed by members of the Core Team and Executive Council, as well as other volunteers from the community. (If you would like to volunteer to review applications, please contact me!) Onboarding will then take place in the first half of March 2023.

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