In April, Rachel Cherry announced she was stepping down as the Director of WPCampus. Since the announcement, WPCampus formed a community working group to design, implement, and lead our community transition toward a new governance model.
Our community is so grateful for all the time and energy donated by the transition working group. This group of people gave their time and skills to ensure that our organization has what it needs to succeed and grow.
The current WPCampus governance model
Since the establishment of WPCampus in 2015, our governance model has been pretty basic: “WPCampus has one leadership role: its Director, Rachel Cherry (she/her). Rachel is responsible for the organization’s operations and finances.” Rachel prioritizes community feedback and input to guide and inform her choices to ensure she never makes decisions in a vacuum. This model worked relatively well but ultimately put a lot of the organization’s responsibilities on Rachel and placed most of our organizational knowledge with one person. This model is not sustainable for long-term growth.
Around the time of Rachel’s announcement to step down, the WPCampus organization also received federal 501(c)(3) non-profit status! Being a federal non-profit will help our community to accomplish even more. Still, non-profit status also comes with requirements that affect how we design our new governance model, including the need for a Board of Directors.
Introducing the new WPCampus governance model: Board of Directors
Starting in January 2023, the WPCampus leadership model will move from one Director (Rachel Cherry) to a Board of Directors. Rachel will serve as one of the initial Directors in the role of “Past President,” who serves as a non-voting advisor.
One of the most significant projects tackled by our working group was creating a new set of bylaws for our organization and our Board of Directors. Bylaws establish management procedures and serve as an operating manual for our new leadership. The bylaws are a living document and can be edited and changed by the new Board as they see fit. The bylaws will be vital to our governance structure to ensure accountability and transparency and define boundaries and expectations.
While creating our bylaws, the working group’s goals were to ensure the new Board has a solid foundation to empower them for success, provide them with essential oversight, and not burden them with unnecessary bureaucracy.
The working group had to make some leadership decisions (in a vacuum) but understood that this is a living document that the new Board can modify if desired. The decisions made by the working group primarily focused on the management of the Board itself, e.g., how long someone would serve on the Board. The working group did not make any decisions that affected organizational strategy or finances, as this was not the group’s purpose. The power to determine organizational strategy and finances will soon belong to the new Board of Directors.
Our organization’s bylaws will always be accessible via the Governance section of the WPCampus website at www.wpcampus.org/about/governance/bylaws.
Opening nominations to form the new Board of Directors
Now that we have a governance framework (bylaws) in place, we need to open the process of forming our new leadership and Board of Directors. The working group has decided the best procedure for filling the Board is to open a call for nominations.
How to nominate someone for the Board of Directors
You can nominate yourself or someone else to be a member of the new WPCampus Board of Directors. We do not have any requirements for selection as a Director, but having at least some affiliation to, or combination of, working on the web, higher education, or WordPress will take precedence.
Nominations will close on Tuesday, November 22, 2022.
Why you should join the WPCampus Board of Directors
Do you have ideas on how to improve WordPress in higher education? Or ideas for how to support those who use WordPress in higher ed? Or ideas for how to enrich the WPCampus community? If you are invested in the future of WordPress in higher education, then WPCampus needs you and your leadership.
WPCampus is a large and flourishing community filled with wonderful people and organizations working to support each other and higher education. We have always strived to provide a friendly, inclusive, and supportive environment that is open to ideas and debate. Our organization has laid a lot of groundwork for high-quality resources, e.g., our conferences and Learning Library, and is ready for whatever the future might hold.
If we wish to sustain the community, our organization needs people motivated to support our mission of advancing higher education while providing a friendly, safe, welcoming, and accessible environment. This governance transition could be the beginning of a whole new organization and community with fresh ideas and direction. Or it could be the end of our work together.
We understand that it can feel strange to nominate yourself for something. But ultimately, WPCampus needs individuals who want to do the job. Nominating yourself shows the community that you want this role and are excited to do the work and lead the future of our organization.
What to expect as a WPCampus Director
If you are interested in becoming a WPCampus Director, we want to make sure you understand what will be expected of you:
- Being a WPCampus Director is a 100% volunteer position.
- It is highly recommended that you read the new WPCampus Bylaws to better understand what’s expected of the Board and how the Board will function
- The Board is responsible for the overall policy and direction of the WPCampus Corporation.
- However, this does not mean that the Board has to do all the work. The Board may delegate responsibilities.
- The Board will need to meet at least once a month.
- You should expect to contribute at least 1-5 hours per month between attending meetings and any work necessary for the organization.
How the Board of Directors will be selected
The selection process will primarily depend on how many nominees we receive. WPCampus is required to select at least three members to form a Board. But the Board may have as many Directors as we like. Big picture, we will not want to have so many Directors as to become prohibitive, but we do have some flexibility.
If we receive a low amount of nominees, e.g., 3-5, then all nominees may be selected for the Board. If we have 5+ nominees, some internal conversations and processes will occur.
WPCampus’s current Director, Rachel Cherry, will officially select the members of our new Board of Directors. But, as with all decisions, Rachel will not make her selection in a vacuum. However, Rachel will be mindful of the nominees’ privacy and the intricacy of the selection process.
The timeline for forming the Board of Directors
Here is the overall timeline for forming the Board. This schedule may be modified if needed.
- Open nominations: Tuesday, October 25, 2022
- Close nominations: Tuesday, November 22, 2022
- Process nominations in November and December 2022
- Contact all nominations about selection in December 2022
- Announce new Board January 2023
- Board meets for the first time in January or February 2023
Have any questions?
If you have any questions, please feel free to post in the WPCampus Slack #transition channel or send a Slack DM to Rachel Cherry, the current WPCampus Director. You can also send an email to transition[at]wpcampus.org.
Here is a full list of the available reading about our leadership transition and new governance model.