Committee Guidelines and Responsibilities

  1. EDUCAUSE member committees are of two kinds: advisory committees that contribute to particular activities and guide association strategies in various arenas, and event program committees that shape program content for specific conferences.
  2. Because of the important role of the committees in representing the perspective of our core membership, high priority for appointments is given to primary or participating representatives of member institutions.
  3. No person serving on the EDUCAUSE Board shall also serve on a committee, and in general a person should not serve the association in more than one capacity at any time, nor should two individuals from the same institution serve on the same committee.
  4. Advisory committee membership will generally serve three-year terms, with one-third of the committee rotating off annually; terms begin and end at the association's annual conference. Event program committees are appointed for the planning cycle of a particular event.
  5. All committee appointments will be made by the EDUCAUSE president, based upon recommendations from staff committee liaisons following a careful consideration of a list of volunteers as well as other sources. Chairs of the committees will also be appointed by the EDUCAUSE president, with thoughtful consideration given to recommendations of committee members and/or staff liaisons.
  6. Most advisory committee appointments will be made approximately three months in advance of the annual conference. Newly appointed members will be added to their respective committee group on EDUCAUSE Connect at that time, so that new members can prepare for their service in advance of their first committee meeting during the conference. Appointment timetables for event program committees are contingent on the planning process for the specific event.
  7. All advisory committees will hold meetings at least once a year during the annual conference, with travel expenses being covered by individual members. Some committees meet more than once, with additional meetings usually held at the EDUCAUSE office in Washington, DC or in Louisville, CO. Expenses entailed in traveling to non-conference meetings will be reimbursed by EDUCAUSE in accordance with current Travel Expense Policies.
  8. Committees may also conduct business via their committee group on EDUCAUSE Connect, conference calls, and secure Web sites, all of which are supported by EDUCAUSE.
  9. Committees may make recommendations to EDUCAUSE management through their staff liaisons following their annual meetings and throughout the year through EDUCAUSE Connect.

Committee Member Responsibilities

In addition to specific roles required by membership on individual committees, members of EDUCAUSE committees are expected to actively participate in the work of the committee, provide thoughtful input to committee deliberations, and focus on the best interests of the association and committee goals rather than on personal interests.

Members should

  • Review all relevant material before committee meetings
  • Attend committee meetings and voice objective opinions on issues
  • Pay attention to association activities that affect or are affected by the committee's work
  • Support the efforts of the committee chair and carry out individual assignments made by the chair
  • Work as part of the committee and staff team to ensure that the committee's work and recommendations are in keeping with the general association mission and goals

Committee Chair Responsibilities

In addition to specific roles required by the activities of individual committees, chairs of EDUCAUSE committees are expected to guide their committees and work with staff to develop necessary work plans and meeting agendas. Chairs should

  • Approve reports of committee meetings before their distribution
  • Report to the committee on decisions of the Board or of executive staff that affect the committee's work
  • Where appropriate, guide the committee in proposing new activities and service that will further the mission and goals of the association
  • Where appropriate, make policy recommendations to the president for transmission to the Board

Structuring the Meeting

  • With the help of the staff liaison, provide an agenda sheet with the beginning and ending times for the meeting, meeting location, a list of committee members, and the agenda of topics.
  • Sequence agenda items thoughtfully. Start the meeting with topics that will unify the committee, and with topics that will require mental energy, creativity, and clear thinking. Do not put difficult topics back-to-back. Make the first few topics after lunch quick-action items. Build in breaks at logical places (at least every two hours). End with topics that should unify the committee.
  • Provide at least minimal written background information for each agenda item.
  • Indicate whether the item is for discussion only or if action is expected.
  • Identify the person who is presenting each item.

Facilitating the Meeting

  • The committee belongs to the association, not to the chair: the chair's primary role is as facilitator.
  • Guide, mediate, probe, and stimulate discussion. Monitor talkative members and draw out silent ones.
  • Encourage a clash of ideas, but not of personalities. If emotions run high over a difficult issue, return the floor to a neutral person, seek a purely factual answer, or take a break.
  • Keep discussions on track; periodically re-state the issue and the goal of the discussion.
  • In moving toward a decision, call on the least senior or vocal members first to express their views. Discussions tend to close down after senior members express strong views.
  • Seek consensus; unanimity is not required.
  • Announce the results of actions taken and explain the follow-up to be taken and by whom.
  • Close the meeting by noting achievements
  • Following adjournment, meet briefly with the staff liaison to agree on follow-up actions and locus of responsibility.

Written Report of Committee Meeting

  • Include the date, time, and place of the meeting. Note the name of the chair, members present and absent, and other key people in attendance.
  • Note all formal motions and report on passage or defeat
  • Note all decisions reached, including motions passed and follow-up actions to be taken, with deadlines for implementation
  • Include brief summary of discussions. Do not attribute comments to members except possibly where formal motions are introduced.
  • Provide information on the time and place of the next meeting
  • Meeting reports should be prepared as soon as possible (and within 30 days) after the meeting. They may be shared with the committee with a request that members contact the chair or staff liaison if errors are noted.

Staff Support

Each committee has one or more staff members who serve as liaisons and perform a variety of tasks, including:

  • Contacting individuals to offer them committee appointments
  • Providing orientation for each new committee member and chair about their responsibilities and work schedule. This may include a committee manual (in print or electronic form), and will include a committee roster, access information for the committee listserv and private-access Web site (where appropriate), minutes of previous committee meetings, background on recent committee activities, information about key people with whom the committee or chair is likely to interact.
  • Developing and maintaining committee descriptions, procedural information, and minutes and activity reports for committees on the EDUCAUSE intranet, as well as updating committee information in the EDUCAUSE committee management database
  • Working with the chairs of the committees to ensure that committee responsibilities are fulfilled and meeting agendas are set
  • Providing administrative assistance to the chair in setting up and conducting meetings
  • Facilitating communications between committees and EDUCAUSE management