Teaching basic lab skills
for research computing

Raniere Silva: Nomination for 2018 Steering Committee

Who am I?

My name is Raniere Silva. I’m a Brazilian who currently lives in Manchester, UK, where I work for the Software Sustainability Institute as a Community Officer and help run the Institute’s Fellowship Programme. The programme supports, among other activities, Carpentry workshops and this incredible community in the UK and beyond.

Previous Involvement

I discovered Software Carpentry in 2013 after reading this blog post, being redirected to it by this announcement. Months later, I joined the 6th round of instructor training along side Leszek Tarkowski, Michael Crusoe, Christina Koch, Mark Laufersweiler, Jonah Duckles and many other fabulous instructors that I would only meet in person years later.

In 2014, Fernando Mayer and I taught the first Software Carpentry workshop in Brazil and South America. Later that year, I had an opportunity to teach more Software Carpentry workshops in Brazil with some international visitors: Alex Viana and Diego Barneche.

In 2015 and 2016 I served 2 years at the Software Carpentry Steering Committee. During that time, I got especially involved with the mentoring activities, now being lead by Marian Schmidt and Jamie Hadwin, and pushed, in some form, the culture to have more than one session to help volunteers to attend those independent of where they live and their personal commitments.

At the end of 2016, I decided that was time to let others contribute to the project as members of the Steering Committee. Kate Hertweck contacted me asking to help with the lesson styles and most of my contributions to the project this year has been on the technical side.

Last week, a friend delivered a Carpentry-inspired workshop in Brazil with a very positive feedback from the learners and with requests for more similar events. I was part of the Steering Committee of that workshop and it motivated me to apply to serve on the Steering Committee once again.

Strengths

In the five years that I have been involved with the Carpentries, the top 3 strengths of the Carpentry programme that I see are:

  • The Carpentries’ name/brand, which is now recognised in many places worldwide.
  • Transparency in all Carpentries’ activities, which is very hard to do but is always on the priority list.
  • Community, that is passionate about the project and sharing their experiences and lessons learnt on a daily basis (for this week examples, see this email and this pull request).

Weaknesses

Of course, there is always room for improvement. My top 3 items for us to be careful in the next 2 years is:

  • Procedures, which need to be documented in a public place, as they are extremely important for the on-boarding process of new members of staff and community, but registering this knowledge takes time and in some cases slides down on our priority list.
  • Communication, with the recent increase on numbers of our staff and volunteers we need to share the information with more people on various channels and still keep the number of emails, chat messages, meetings to a minimum, which is almost contradictory, we need to review our communication strategy.
  • Diversity, we are very proud to be an inclusive community but, as Greg Wilson mentioned here, we need to review our definitions and work to improve our inclusivity numbers.

Two Years From Now

My metrics of success for the Carpentries in two years time are:

  • At least 5 teams of staff located in at least the following time zones: UTC-8, UTC-5/UTC-3, UTC+1, UTC+8 and UTC+12 to secure easier reach and support for our worldwide community,
  • 30% of partners from the United States and Canada, 30% from Europe, 30% from Oceania, East Asia and Southeast Asia and 10% from other places. I would love to see more partners from South America, Africa and Asia but I know is unrealistic at the moment.
  • Clarification of the ways in which volunteers could engage with the community. Although teaching workshops will continue to be the primary way to contribute followed by lesson development, volunteers can contribute in other forms but they need a clear path to do so.
  • Conduct two studies, one in 2018 and another in 2019, about the retention rate of instructors and other volunteers without duplicating the work being done by the Community Health Analytics Open Source Software (CHAOSS) project.
  • A repeated CarpentryCon in 2019 (the one for 2018 is already planned).

Conclusion

Thanks very much for your consideration to have me again as a member of the Steering Committee. If I’m elected, I will put community, diversity and sustainability as top priorities. I’m happy to answer any questions by email or your preferred form of contact (see here how to reach me).

Dialogue & Discussion

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