The Carpentries Executive Council


The Carpentries Executive Council is the highest leadership body of The Carpentries, to whom the Executive Director of the Carpentries reports. The Council comprises nine members - four elected by the community and five appointed by the Executive Council.

The Executive Council is responsible for strategic and organisational planning, selecting the Executive Director and evaluating their performance, financial oversight, identifying revenue streams and resource development, approving and monitoring The Carpentries programs and services, and enhancing The Carpentries public image. Members of the Council also serve as advocates and ambassadors for the organisation, leveraging their networks to benefit the organization’s reputation and fundraising. The Executive Council executes these responsibilities through a combination of monthly Executive Council meetings and regular correspondence and collaboration via email and online platforms. For the full description of the Executive Council’s roles and responsibilities, see the Executive Council section of the Carpentries Bylaws.

In addition to publicly posting meeting minutes, the Executive Council reports on its activities periodically in Carpentry Clippings (the organizational newsletter) as well as through blog posts. The council also prepares Yearly Summaries of its activities.

Executive Council’s Standing Committees

As of January 2021, the following standing committee structure was implemented as a practical way to manage the work and engagement of the Executive Council:

Serving on a specific standing committee provides Executive Council members with the opportunity to bring their subject matter expertise to specific governance and operational priorities, deal with issues and projects more effectively and efficiently, and maximize time and resources between meetings. Each Executive Council member serves on at least one, but no more than two committees. When considered beneficial or necessary, these committees can have members from The Carpentries community and/or Core Team.

In addition to the Standing committees, the Executive council may appoint Ad hoc committees to handle issues that are typically short-term and specialized in nature.

Officers Committee

This committee consists of the Executive Council Officers: Chair, Vice Chair, Secretary and Treasurer.

Roles & Responsibilities

  • Act with full authority of the Executive Council between EC meetings when needed in urgent matters, subject to Executive Council imposed limitations on committee action Prioritize the agenda of the Executive Council meetings

  • Monitor the performance of the Executive Director, conduct their annual performance review, and make recommendations to the Executive Council regarding the Executive Director’s performance goals for the subsequent year

  • Provide a sounding board to the Executive Director and serve as a source of ready advice on operating and personnel matters

  • Obtain and evaluate relevant compensation information and make a recommendation to the Executive Council regarding the Executive Director’s compensation (including all benefits)

  • Provide support to the Executive Director and direction to the Executive Council on oversight of legal and operational issues

  • Lead Executive Council level oversight of the organization’s long-term strategic plan and short-term annual planning, including annual review of strategic plan performance metrics against anticipated community end results (outcomes).

Governance Committee

This committee is chaired by the Vice Chair of the Executive Council.

Roles & Responsibilities

  • Assessing the Executive Council’s performance as the governing body of The Carpentries

  • Leading the writing, maintenance, and updates to the Carpentries bylaws, revising/re-approving the bylaws every 2 years, or as needed, according to the bylaws

  • Organizing the annual Executive Council retreat

  • Leading the process to identify, nominate, and onboard new Executive Council members

  • Suggesting special committees/task forces as needed and preparing for their formation as per the Committee Policy

Finance Committee

This committee is chaired by the Treasurer of the Executive Council.

Roles & Responsibilities

  • Ensuring strong fiduciary oversight and financial management

  • Making sure financial reports are accurate

  • Overseeing the organization’s budget

  • Identifying revenue streams and resource development

  • Advise on a strategy for establishing reserve funds, lines of credit, and short- and long-term investments

Communications Committee

This committee is chaired by the Secretary of the Executive Council.

Roles & Responsibilities

  • Work to enhance The Carpentries public image

  • Prepare Public Statements from The Carpentries when needed

  • Ensure blog posts related to the work of the Executive council are published in a timely fashion

  • Write the Year-in-review summary of the major activities accomplished by the Executive Council

Program Committee

This committee can be chaired by any member of the Executive Council.

Roles & Responsibilities

  • Evaluating The Carpentries programs and services

  • Making recommendations to strengthen programs and services in line with the Carpentries mission, vision, and strategic plan

Contacting the Executive Council

If you have a question or concern for the Executive Council, there are three ways for communicating with Executive Council Members:

  1. File an issue in this repository. This is appropriate if you would like to solicit additional community feedback on a topic of general interest to the community.

  2. Send us an email. This is appropriate for communicating directly with the Executive Council but not the rest of our community.

  3. Submit this form. This is preferable if you would like confidential communication with the Executive Council, or if you would like to remain anonymous.

Executive Council’s Documentation

The information below describes all procedures, routines and resources relevant for the Executive Council. This information is added here as onboarding information for new Executive Council members, as well as to provide transparency for the community.

NOTE that a number of links lead to pages for which access is restricted to Executive Council members. We wish to be as transparent as we can, but sometimes we need to choose to withhold information from others.

Responsibilities of all Executive Council Members

The Carpentries Bylaws describe the formal responsibilities of the Executive Council from an organisational level. This text describes the current implementation of the tasks described in the bylaws and represents flexible guidelines that may be adapted as the Executive Council deems necessary. In addition to documenting Executive Council standard operating procedures, it is also intended to clarify Executive Council function for the broader community and help potential members understand the commitment to serve on the Executive Council.

In practice, each Executive Council member is responsible for the following general tasks:

  • Supporting the Mission and Vision of The Carpentries

  • Exemplifying the Code of Conduct

  • Ensuring The Carpentries’ adherence to legal agreements and standards

  • Offering their expertise to help ensure the health and success of the organization

  • Actively participating in discussions about strategic and financial decisions

  • Providing feedback and voting on formal motions within one week of their posting

  • Attending (in person or by phone/web-based) at least 75% of the meetings held each year

  • Dedicating at least three volunteer hours per week toward Carpentries activities (including meeting attendance)

The specific commitments expected of Executive Council members include monthly meetings (1-1.5 hours, online) and a once-yearly face-to-face meeting (expenses covered by The Carpentries). Minutes for these meetings are published to a GitHub repository after approval by Executive Council members. We may periodically schedule additional virtual meetings to address particular topics. Officers and Executive Council liaisons to Committees or Task Forces may have additional commitments for meetings. Asynchronous commitments involve suggesting agenda items for meetings, responding to email requests for opinions, and formal voting on resolutions (as issues in this repository), and work resulting from being on a task force or committee representing the Executive Council.

Executive Council transparency in decision making

The Executive Council, the Core Team and the Executive Director agreed on the following points:

1. The Executive Council should vote on:

  • The strategic plan: approving mid to long term strategic direction priorities (Mid term 1 year and long term 3-5 years). Include voting on strategic alliances with outside organisations

  • The yearly budget: oversee the yearly budget and annual financial reports

  • By-laws: modifying and approving official policy changes biannually

  • Mission, vision, and values: defining, updating and approving the public mission, vision, and values statements

  • Council-elected members: Policy to identifying, appointing, and removing/ replacing council-elected members when necessary

  • Executive director: Appointing/removing the Executive Director when necessary

2. The Executive Council should advise on but not vote on:

  • New staff appointments: Executive Council advice should continue to be considered alongside community members and The Core Team

  • Equity, inclusion and access matters

  • Approaches to growth in new regions

  • Formation of committees/sub communities, specially if they affect multiple communities

3. The Executive Council should be informed of (but no decision or advising expected):

  • Decisions relating to Core Team changes

  • The Executive Council needs to be generally informed where groups have explicit powers that affect the culture of the organisation (e.g. Decisions of the Lessons Programs governance committees and Task Forces)

Executive Council Officers

Executive Council officers are selected at the first regular meeting following election and appointment of new members and serve one year terms. Officer positions include:

  • Chair

  • Vice Chair

  • Secretary

  • Treasurer

General tasks for each officer position are described in the bylaws. More detailed descriptions can be found on the page describing the Executive Council officers responsibilities.


We use two mailing lists:

  • this is an internal list, and includes Executive Council and Executive Director; this list can only receive messages from list members

  • recipients are Executive Council Chair and Vice Chair; anyone can send to this, allowing the community to communicate directly with the Executive Council (but not the rest of our community)


The Executive Council generally meets once monthly (we are required to hold at least 10 meetings a year, either in person or online). Smaller groups of Executive Council members may hold additional meetings when needed.

  • Publicly available meeting minutes

  • See the Agendas and minutes folder* in the Executive Council Google Drive. We use a single document for meeting agendas/minutes for the entire year (meetings from February - January)

  • Our Meeting conduct document* describes how we prepare for and conduct regular meetings, see the Google Doc in the above-mentioned folder (folder Agendas_Minutes –> Meeting conduct.gdoc)

  • Scheduling is done through our Google calendar*

  • Executive Council members are invited to attend the Core Team meetings whenever they desire

Finances and Fiscal Sponsor

See the Finance folder* in the Executive Council Google Drive.

The Carpentries Fiscal Sponsor

The Carpentries is fiscally sponsored by Community Initiatives, a registered 501c3 based in Oakland, CA. Here are some relevant resources:

See also the Community Initiative’s bylaws and the Carpentries’ fiscal sponsor agreement in the Fiscal Sponsor folder* on the Executive Council Google Drive (folder EC_processes –> folder Fiscal_Sponsor).


We maintain multiple repositories with variable permissions (some public, some restricted to Executive Council and/or various Core Team members).


This is a GitHub organisation ‘owned’ by The Carpentries Core Team. Executive council members have access, as well as members of the Core Team and some community members

  • public repository

  • used to publish information intended for the community, such as our monthly meeting minutes

  • also used for voting on our our motions (our decisions)*

  • private repository

  • used for discussions between Executive Council and Executive Director that require broader direct feedback from the Core Team

  • issues for approval of meeting minutes are posted here


This is a GitHub organisation ‘owned’ by the Executive Council, used for information or documents that only Executive Council members should have access to. Optionally, the Executive Director can be given access by inviting them as collaborator.*

  • private repository. Executive council members have access, as well as the Executive Director (but not the Core Team)

  • used to

    • discuss issues between Executive Council and Executive Director outside of the Executive Council monthly meetings

    • storing relevant information that needs to be private to the world, and necessary or OK for the Executive Director to have access to*

  • private repository, only Executive Council (not Executive Director or the Core Team) have access

  • used for

    • those parts of the minutes that only Executive Council should have access to

    • voting on motions that should only be visible to Executive Council. Examples of such discussions and motions:

      • hiring of a new Executive Director

      • salary discussions/decisions*

  • private repository, Executive Council, Executive Director and the Core Team have access

  • used for visualisations and plots for communicating The Carpentries finances

Google Drive

We use a private Google Drive folder called Carpentries_Executive_Council*, see its README for orientation to contents.

Yearly Timeline

Additional annual tasks:

  • in-person (face-to-face) meeting

  • reassessing the strategic plan

  • annual financial report

Additional recurring tasks:

  • every second year, starting 2020: revision or reapproval of the bylaws


  • Review previous year’s minutes, ensuring all are approved and posted

  • Onboarding meeting for incoming Executive Council members with current Chair and/or Vice Chair and Executive Director

  • Overlap meeting of outgoing/incoming members

  • Logistics of offboarding outgoing members

  • Logistics of onboarding new members

  • Solicit nominations for Executive Council officers

  • Suggest annual goals for new Executive Council

  • Assess availability of incoming Executive Council Members for in-person meeting

  • Publish Q4 Code of Conduct Transparency Report


  • New Executive Council officially takes over

  • Reassess meeting procedures, including methods for setting the agenda and taking minutes

  • Select new officers

  • Select Executive Council liason to Code of Conduct Committee

  • Finalise annual goals for Executive Council

  • Review Q4 financial report


  • Review and discussion of strategic plan activities


  • Review draft of annual financial report

  • Publish Q1 Code of Conduct Transparency Report


  • Review Q1 financial report


  • Review and discussion of strategic plan activities


  • Publish Q2 Code of Conduct Transparency Report


  • Review Q2 financial report


  • Assign individuals to reassess bylaws (required in even-numbered years, due in November)

  • Review and discussion of strategic plan activities


  • Assess desired skills for incoming Executive Council members

  • Announce opening of self-nomination for Executive Council

  • Solicit nominees for community awards

  • Publish Q3 Code of Conduct Transparency Report


  • Executive Director evaluation

  • Solicit nominations for appointed members

  • Nominations for Executive Council elections close (at start of first community call)

  • Community call for Executive Council nominees

  • Vote on reassessed bylaws

  • Review Q3 financial report


  • Announce community award winners

  • First full week (Monday-Friday) in December: elections open

  • Selection of appointed members

  • Ratifying community-elected positions and council-elected positions (private GitHub repo)

  • Ratifying the new Executive Council members (public GitHub repro)

  • Announcement of the new Executive Council

  • Start organising dates for face-to-face meeting in first half of year

  • Review and discussion of strategic plan activities


Details about how Executive Council Members are elected and their terms of service are available in the bylaws. Elections are currently administered by an Executive Council Member (who is not up for re-election) via ElectionBuddy.

A checklist for the Executive Council election process is available as a Google Doc* in the Executive Council Google Drive (folder Election –> EC Election Process.gdoc)

An overview of whose council member’s seats are up for (re-)election can be found in a Google Sheet* (folder Elections –> Year-of-term for executive council members.gsheet).

Transitions between Executive Councils

The transfer of responsibilities to the incoming Executive Council includes

A checklist for the transition process can be found as a Google Doc* (folder EC_processes –> Onboarding_offboarding members, ED.gdoc).

Onboarding new Executive Council members

New (incoming) members (both Community-elected and Council-elected) are announced in late December/early January. The official term of office for incoming Executive Council members is February 1. We ask that incoming members attend the final regularly scheduled meeting of the current Executive Council in January, prior to taking office, to learn how meetings operate, and to prepare for formal transfer of responsibility.

The outgoing Chair and/or Vice Chair should meet with the incoming Executive Council members and Executive Director in January to discuss the following key points:

  • The general workflow of the Executive Council

    • monthly meetings

    • as-needed special meetings and yearly in-person meeting

    • asynchronous communications

  • Where different types of information are stored

  • Responsibilities and expectations for all Executive Council members

Access to resources

Executive Council members have access to the following resources:

  • Google Drive folder Carpentries_Executive_Council

  • GitHub organisations, teams, and repositories

    • Organisation: carpentries

      • Team: carpentries/executive-council

      • Repo: executive-council-info (public, this repository)

    • Repo: private (Executive Council + the Core Team)

      • Team: carpentries-ec/ec

      • Repo: Executive Council + Executive Director

      • Repo: Executive Council only

  • Mailing list (listserv)


  • Executive Council Google Calendar

Incoming Executive Council members should be granted access to these resources in January. Outgoing members’ access to these resources should be removed in February.

Additionally, The Carpentries’ website that includes the Executive Council Members/Officers should be updated.

Transfer of member responsibilities

The following Executive Council roles should be assigned at the February meeting (these require formal voting by Executive Council members):

  • Officer positions:

    • Chair

    • Vice Chair

    • Secretary

    • Treasurer

  • Committee representatives (these may continue from previous terms as applicable):

    • 2 x 2 Committee representatives

    • CoC representative

    • Representatives to Community Initiatives (CI)

*Access to this information is restricted to Executive Council members.