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 organisation’s reputation and fundraising. The Executive Council executes these responsibilities through a combination of quarterly 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 Carpentries Clippings (the organisational newsletter) as well as through blog posts. The Council also prepares Yearly Summaries of its activities.

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

Roles and responsibilities for Executive Council Officers are described in the bylaws.

Executive Council 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 specialised 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 either by ad hoc objection from any EC member or from a list of limitations specified in the bylaws.

  • Prioritise 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

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 organisation’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.

Program Committee

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

Roles & Responsibilities

  • Approving and monitoring The Carpentries programs and services.

  • Make 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 to communicate 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 Documentation

The Executive Council Handbook includes the following information:

  • Roles and responsibilities of Executive Council Members

  • Onboarding documentation

  • Offboarding documentation

  • Communication and collaboration spaces

  • Step-by-step guides

  • Resources

  • Glossary of terms

Executive Council transparency in decision making

The Executive Council, the Core Team and the Executive Director agreed on the following decision-making rubric:

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 Meetings

The Executive Council meets quarterly (i.e. February, May, August, December). Standing Committees hold additional meetings when needed, typically monthly. Minutes of the Executive Council meetings are shared publically in the executive-council-info repository. Executive Council members are invited to attend the Core Team meetings as needed, and Core Team members attend Standing Committee meetings as needed. A list of issues to be discussed during quarterly Executive Council meetings is provided below. A monthly list of issues to be discussed and tasks to complete outside of quarterly Executive Council meetings is provided in the Executive Council Work Plan


  • Approve minutes from December meeting

  • Select new officers and standing committee members

  • Select Executive Council Liaison to Code of Conduct Committee

  • Review Q4 financial report from previous year

  • Decide upon annual goals for New Executive Council (can vote on goals asynchronously if needed)


  • Approve minutes from February meeting

  • Review Q1 financial report

  • Standing Committee Reports

  • Review draft of annual financial report

  • Review and discussion of strategic plan activities


  • Approve minutes from May meeting

  • Review Q2 financial report

  • Standing Committee Reports

  • Review and discussion of strategic plan activities

  • Identify desired skills for incoming Executive Council members


  • Approve minutes from August meeting

  • Election of the next Executive Council

  • Review Q3 financial report

  • Approve next year’s budget

  • Standing Committee Reports

  • Review and discussion of strategic plan activities