Changes to Software Carpentry's Lesson Program Governance Committee and their work

In response to recent changes to The Carpentries Core Team, the Software Carpentry LPGC announces changes to their workflow and governance.

Hi all!

Like you all, we were surprised, upset, and a little taken aback by the loss of several members of the Carpentries Core Team. Our thoughts and best wishes are with all those who have been affected.

What does a reduction in Core Team support available mean for Software Carpentry Governance and the maintenance and development of lesson materials? These are the most difficult conversations we have had in the past year as the Lesson Program Governance Committee (LPGC).

The LPGCs were founded last year with the aims of overseeing strategy and policy for each lesson program (Software Carpentry, Data Carpentry, and Library Carpentry). In particular, the LPGCs’ main tasks include discussing high-level changes to the curriculum, identifying priorities, monitoring the health of lessons, advocating for the lesson program within the community, reporting to the Core Team, and ensuring information on the website is up-to-date.

With your support, we plan to merge the Software Carpentry LPGC with the Software Carpentry Curriculum Advisory Committee (CAC), which oversees the maintenance of lessons and coordinates Software Carpentry Maintainers. This will enable us to ensure more responsiveness and activity, even with reduced support from the Core Team. As a single committee, we will continue the LPGC work in moving the SWC curricula forward while also supporting the existing curricula. None of these changes will affect Data Carpentry or Library Carpentry.

Starting March 2024, the remit of the committee will be:

  1. Continue with former LPGC duties: auditing lessons, promoting incubator lessons, updating the curriculum (and coordinating big updates), communicating with key stakeholders, and general policy and governance for Software Carpentry.
  2. Continue with former CAC duties: approve major changes in lessons and support maintainers, as stated in the CAC consultation rubric.
  3. Assist the Core Team when needed.

Our first SWC Governors joint meeting was held on Thursday, 29th of February.

What this means for the community

We can only do this with your help.

In particular, we need Maintainers for some of the core and additional lessons in the current lesson programme. A call for volunteers to join the 2024 round of Maintainer Onboarding will be published next week, and we encourage you to get involved if you are able to. There will be a big push in the coming months for volunteers to update some lesson materials, which we are hoping to tie into some community events.

For Maintainers of Software Carpentry lessons

The Lesson Program Governance Committee is now your point of contact for issues that used to be escalated to the CAC, according to the rubric linked above. We can also assist you in any other way that may help you maintain your lesson.

For developers of Incubator lessons

We are open to considering new lessons to be included in the Software Carpentry official curricula. Please contact us if you would like to propose your lesson as a candidate once it’s in a stable state.

The email address for contacting the committee is We look forward to working with you in the next chapter of Software Carpentry governance.

Who are the Committee Members:

Members were initially picked by the Core Team after an application process. In the future, they are set to be elected by the community every two years.

  • Samantha Ahern, UK
    • Instructor and Trainer.
    • Co-Chair of the Software Carpentry LPGC.
  • Valentina Hurtado-McCormick, Australia
    • Maintainer (Shell Genomics lesson).
    • Co-chair of the Software Carpentry LPGC.
  • Martino Sorbaro, Italy
    • Maintainer (Git lesson).
    • Instructor and Trainer.
    • Secretary of the Software Carpentry LPGC.
  • Menglan Xiang, USA
    • Instructor.
    • Member of the former Software Carpentry CAC.

Dialogue & Discussion

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