Teaching basic lab skills
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The Steering Committee has Landed!

The Steering Committe has now had its first few meeetings. Minutes from them are up, please go have a look if you are wondering what we are up to!

The Software Carpentry Foundation Steering Committee has been in operation since the beginning of February. So far, we have had five very productive and interesting meetings. The first thing that the committee did, was to elect its officers. As you might have caught in other announcements, the following people have been elected:

  • Chair: Katy Huff
  • Vice-Chair: Matt Davis
  • Treasurer: Jason Williams
  • Secretary: Karin Lagesen

Subsequently, several subcommittees focusing on mentoring, lesson planning, communications, partner relations, finances and assessment have been created. Each subcommittees has at least one Steering Committee member in it, who may or may not be the leader of said committee, but who acts as a liaison between the Steering Committee and the subcommittee. A complete overview of current subcommittees can be found on this page in Github.

The committee has dealt with several things after being formed. Several of these have had to do with financial matters, and how the foundation is going to support itself. In addition to the more permanent committees mentioned above, we now have a Fees subcommittee working on defining and formalizing how and when discounts and fee waivers can be given for workshops. The Software Carpentry Foundation needs fees generated from workshops to support itself, but we still want to have provisions in place that will allow us to give discounts and fee waivers to groups that may not be able to pay our fee. The SCF has for instance previously supported WISE workshops, and our goal is to be able to support such initiatives in a more organized and coordinated fashion. We expect to have some guidelines in place for these kinds of situations in the next couple of weeks.

Another issue that the committee has been working on is the possibility of running week-long workshops in a "master-class" kind of format. The goal for these workshops would be to offer scientific groups a way of upskilling themselves. The focus would be on continuous integration, code review, code profiling, makefiles, reproducibility and other similar things. The target for such workshops would be both academic and private institutions.

We have also had discussions regarding how the Foundation should deal with workshops for companies. As some of you might recall, we had a request from Monsanto earlier this spring that caused a very interesting and informative discussion about commercial workshops on the Discuss list. The committee has taken this discussion to heart, and have discussed various solutions to this. We have come up with a pilot program where commercial companies will pay a higher fee, but where the increased fee will be used to underwrite administrative fees for non-profit organizations. We are limiting this pilot to five workshops, after which we will discuss further with companies, instructors and students to see if this is a viable and acceptable model.

The Committee is aiming to move Software Carpentry forward intentionally and strategically, and to this end we are working on a strategic plan. To support that effort, we will have an in-person strategic planning meeting in June where we will set forth our long term plans in a strategic plan document. Discussions with the community will happen around that time on the Discuss list and in the blog so that the community's ideas can inform our direction.

Last, but not least, the Steering Committee would like to express its gratitude towards the Interim Committee - thanks to their work we did not have to start from scratch. The running of the Software Carpentry Foundation takes a lot of work, and we thank them for getting us off to a good start!

We would like to remind people that all board meeting minutes will be made available in the public board repository on GitHub. The minutes of the first meetings have been made available, and the rest will follow on a regular basis. If you are curious about what we are up to, go have a look!

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