Draft Minutes: ITANA call of 30-Jan-2014


Rich Stevenson, University of Maryland University College (host)
Mojgan Amini, UC San Diego
Chris Eagle, University of Michigan
Leo Fernig, University of British Columbia
Scott Fullerton, University of Wisconsin - Madison
Piet Niederhausen, University of Washington
Jim Phelps, University of Washington
Brenda Reeb, University of Rochester
Dave Roberts, University of Michigan Medical School
Brian Savage, Boston College

ITANA Website: http://itana.org/
ITANA Wiki: https://spaces.at.internet2.edu/display/itana/Home

Jim thanked the group for their work while he has been transitioning to his new role at the University of Washington. He introduced the topic of ITANA governance with several goals:

  • Providing continuity of leadership for ITANA if Jim were no longer able to lead the group at some point.
  • Involving more people in leadership to reflect the growth in ITANA’s activities and membership.
  • Having a group of highly engaged ITANA members able to represent ITANA at events, beyond those that Jim is able to cover.
  • Coordinating the volunteers who work on ITANA’s various communications on the web, in social media, etc.

With these goals in mind, at the end of 2012 Jim asked a small group to propose a governance structure. He turned over the remainder of the January 30 call to the group to present this proposed structure. Jim plans to remain as chair and continue to participate in or lead calls.

Proposed Governance

Rich hosted the remainder of the call. The group reviewed the following governance documents:

Piet walked the group through the documents section by section.

Key points in the new Governance section include:

  • In the General Membership section, we reaffirm the open membership and grassroots nature of ITANA.
  • A Steering Committee is proposed to meet regularly and ensure that certain key activities are carried out, represent the interests of ITANA at events, support the working groups, and oversee ITANA operations.
  • Three offices are proposed to be appointed: Chair, Vice-Chair, and Secretary.

Comments from the group on this document included:

  • Mojgan supported the idea of continuity of leadership, and pointed out the value of having two year terms but allowing the same person to continue in a position over time.
  • Rich pointed out that additional officer roles are possible in the future, such as a Treasurer type of role if ITANA has funds to administer.

Key points in the proposed procedures include:

  • Most of the procedures are not new, but are a way of documenting ITANA’s current accepted practices for continuity in case of leadership changes.
  • A new operations working group is proposed to coordinate work on various ITANA content such as the web sites, calendar, and minutes.
  • Because ITANA is based on an open general membership, the new governance roles are proposed to be appointed rather than elected. Jim as the current chair will appoint an initial Steering Committee, which will select an initial set of officers.
  • New working groups would be reviewed by the Steering Committee in accordance with the existing Charge to Working Groups.

Comments from the group on this document included:

  • Leo suggested an annual face to face meeting of the Steering Committee. This could take place in conjunction with the general ITANA face to face meeting at Educause.
  • Brenda commented that the transition process to the new governance sounds realistic and might extend for several years.
  • Brenda suggested that the relationship of the Operations working group to the outreach content could be more clear in the procedures.
  • Brian suggested that some of the areas covered in the proposed procedures don’t require formal procedures — for example, the regular well-established working group meetings and face to face meetings. Considering the small number of people actively involved, and the relatively early maturity of the working groups, the proposal may create more formality than needed. In their early stages working groups should be very open, able to experiment, and organic. ITANA should do more to support or provision resources for new groups, with less governance and more incubation.
  • Rich commented that while most working groups are open, an established group could decide to control its membership to focus its activities. Also, the Steering Committee should have some ability to make sure that ITANA resources are going toward activities that forward the mission.
  • Chris commented that we assume that all working groups will be opened and self-governing, but that ITANA should have the opportunity to get involved if needed.
  • Brian added that if possible we should err on the side of being open; the rare cases of a need to control membership in a group could be taken care of on an individual basis. ITANA as an Educause constituency group should avoid becoming a collection of semi-private groups that don’t encourage participation.
  • Rich commented that the purpose and value of ITANA is to be a community of practice and that there is no intent to be exclusionary or to create privileged positions.
  • Brian proposed that Steering Committee calls/meetings should, at least initially, be public, as part of a regular ITANA call or in some other way. Brenda suggested that in order for regular ITANA agendas to move forward, they would be separate meetings but both available for everyone to listen in.

The meeting concluded with approval of the bootstrap process to form the new Steering Committee.

Next call: February 13, 2014.

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