November’s Community Call: A conversation about community governance

For our November community call (17 November, 4pm UTC / 11am EST | join here) we’re hosting a conversation on community governance. This topic has come up several times this year in our community of practice, and so we wanted to create an opportunity to explore it in more detail through a set of activities, resource-sharing, and discussion.

The call will include a short primer on community governance models, as well as opportunities to discuss governance structures currently in place in the ecosystem of STEM communities. In order to make this a safer space for sharing and learning, this month’s call WILL NOT BE RECORDED. And, to ensure that you get the most out of the experience, we encourage you to stay for the full 90 minutes. 

On our November call, we’ll offer a primer on different models of governance in communities, with a focus on the STEM ecosystem. Image credit: CSCCE

Community governance

Every community has its own way of keeping things running, usually relying on a combination of paid staff and volunteers to get things done. Sometimes, there’s an intentional strategy at play, sometimes there’s a grassroots evolution that solidified into a status quo, and sometimes a community’s governance model will change over time as the community itself evolves. 

As a community manager, we often experience the results of community governance directly, receiving feedback from members who feel their perspective has not been acknowledged, coordinating complex group decision-making, or noticing burnout among volunteer leadership. Sometimes, establishing a governance structure can even feel antithetical to the very idea of creating a community-led organization if that governance is poorly thought through and excludes members from having input. 

In this month’s community call, we plan to host an interactive exploration of a variety of community governance models. We’ll start with a short orienting presentation, followed by small group breakout activities around worksheet prompts, and then a deep dive discussion as a group into the promise and pitfalls of different models and what implementation looks like in reality. Please come along to learn, share, and leave with ideas and language to implement in your own community. 

Please note: To help create a space in which these conversations can happen, we will not be recording this month’s call. We realize that this means some people will not benefit from the discussion, however, we will share a blog post recap of the call along with a curated selection of resources by Friday, 19 November. If you have any questions, please feel free to reach out to

November’s call


Join November’s Community Call to:

  • Learn about different models of community governance
  • Explore the STEM community ecosystem and the implementation of different governance models
  • Consider how your community runs, and reflect on whether there are ways you could adjust your governance model to be more inclusive, sustainable, or otherwise meet the needs of your members and/or staff


  • Alycia Crall, The Carpentries
  • Lou Woodley, CSCCE

How to join

November’s call will take place on Wednesday, 17 November at 4pm UTC / 11am US Eastern Time. Please note this is an earlier time that 2020’s calls to be more accessible for all of our members. 

Our calls are hosted in Zoom – simply click here and we’ll see you in the webinar!

Video or not? You’re welcome to turn on your webcam if you like but fine if you prefer just to use audio.

Our community calls last 90 minutes, but we will do our best to ensure that all of the presentations take place in the first hour, in case you have to leave early. The last 30 minutes is generally reserved for open discussion and Q&A with the presenters. Come for the hour – or for the full 90 mins, as your schedule permits!

Please note: We will not be recording this month’s call. If you are unable to attend, watch out for a summary blog post and additional resources after the call.


Our community calls usually take place on the third Wednesday of every month at 11am Eastern, but occasionally times and dates vary depending on speaker availability so please keep an eye on our calendar of events.

Wonder what we’ve talked about in previous calls? The archive listings can be found here, with select recordings available on YouTube.

Not yet in our Slack group? Request to join here.