Much of the work of CCCC is done by administrative committees, special committees, and task forces. This document recommends effective ways to organize and conduct the work of these groups. It is intended for the chairs of committees and task forces, and also describes the roles of CCCC Chair and NCTE staff as related to the work of committees and task forces. If you have any questions or concerns about these guidelines or any matters not addressed by the guidelines, please contact the CCCC Chair. If you need copies of committee charges, committee report forms, or other materials, please contact the CCCC Administrative Liaison at firstname.lastname@example.org or 800-369-6283.
TYPES OF COMMITTEES
An Administrative Committee, such as the Nominating Committee, has routine functions which are described in the CCCC Constitution and Bylaws.
A Special Committee, according to Article IV, Section 5 of the CCCC Constitution, “may be appointed by the chair for a period not to exceed three years; they may be renewed by action of the Executive Committee.” Special committees are not permanent. In cases that a committee decides it is necessary to continue its work beyond three years, it should submit a written request and rationale in its final report. That request will be considered by the Executive Committee and, if approved, the committee will be reconstituted with revised charges.
A Task Force is similar to a special committee, but works on more specific projects outside those of current committees, and under a one-year timeline.
CCCC COMMITTEE CHAIRS
CCCC Committee Chairs carry the core responsibility of seeing committee work through and communicating with the CCCC Leadership. The CCCC Officers and Executive Committee strive to support these objectives without micro-managing the process. Here are ways committee chairs can lead a committee and seek support when needed:
The CCCC Bylaws provide general instructions about committee operations in Section VII, which reads:
A. Except where otherwise provided by the Constitution and Bylaws, committee members are appointed by the CCCC Chair after consultation with the officers and the Executive Committee.
B. Committee budgets are adopted by the Officers' Committee after discussion with the Executive Committee.
C. General plans for committees are approved by the officers.
D. Committees report their actions orally or in writing to the Executive Committee at each of its regular scheduled meetings, and in writing at the end of their tenure.
Communication, Meetings, and Support
Most of a committee’s work will likely take place via email, with occasional face-to-face meetings at the CCCC or NCTE Conventions. NCTE staff will provide a listserv if desired, to facilitate communication among committee members.
Part of the responsibility as Committee Chair is to engage committee members by encouraging and facilitating conversation. In most cases, doing so will be easy - committee members will be responsive and work will progress smoothly. But the experience and service of chairing a committee promises to be very rewarding even if a committee requires a little more encouragement to get underway. Past experience with such situations leads us to offer the following support, advice, and suggestions: Don’t become discouraged if committee members are not immediately responsive. Sometimes they will need repeated nudging to join in the conversation or to undertake the work of the committee. It is very natural, and not a negative reflection on the leadership, if committee members are initially reluctant to correspond. Keep trying.
Experience with committee communications reveals that chairs should:
- initiate correspondence with committee members as soon as possible after they are welcomed to the committee. Members generally feel heightened enthusiasm just after accepting positions on committees.
- be goal-oriented and encourage members to accept specific responsibilities on the committee. Gear conversation toward the charges and specific projects the committee will undertake to meet them. Gear individuals toward specific goals within each project – engage members in specific work with specific timeframes/deadlines. Be positive in tone.
- write to individual members that are non-responsive or ask the CCCC Administrative Liaison to do so just to be sure they are receiving committee communications.
- recognize that in general, most committee work will be done close to committee reporting time – either close to the convention or close to when web reports are due (see the “Reporting” section below for further information).
Sometimes, despite all efforts, committee communication will stall. Two factors that seem to help are:
- Planning a face-to-face meeting at a convention (generally the CCCC Convention).
- Encouraging committee feedback on drafts of web reports or reports to the CCCC Executive Committee.
If these ideas don’t work, or if the timeframe for a committee’s work does not accommodate these time-locked ideas, there are additional resources:
- Contact the CCCC Administrative Liaison to ensure there are no communication problems.
- Share concerns/experiences with other CCCC committee chairs to get feedback/ideas (*every* committee chair has had this experience at some point).
- Contact the CCCC Chair directly if there are concerns about the ability of the committee to see goals through and for options about re-organizing or disbanding the committee.
- Do not be afraid to seek support from the CCCC Executive Committee in reports.
The CCCC Leadership and Staff will be responsive to requests for support. If there are questions about anything from charges to budget requests, the CCCC Administrative Liaison or the CCCC Chair directly should be asked for help. In general, the CCCC leadership and staff will assume that committee work is going fine unless they are contacted and they will not seek communication or updates unless there is a specific reason to do so.
Additional information about means/methods of communication and support are presented below:
- CCCC Committees will utilize a web-based forum for committee work using executive software. Committees will have areas for non-public committee discussions and to post public informational reports. The CCCC Chair and Administrative Liaison will have access to all discussions. This web forum will also be used by CCCC Committee Chairs to exchange information. CCCC Executive Committee members will be encouraged to read and respond to public areas of the web.
- Each CCCC Committee is invited to submit content for a committee website, published and updated by the CCCC Administrative Liaison. Website content is the responsibility of the sponsoring committee.
- Committee Chairs will be afforded the opportunity to meet with the CCCC Chair in person once annually as time allows. This meeting may take place as a part of another meeting, such as during the Executive Committee meeting or an Officers’ meeting.
- Three months prior to the CCCC Convention and the NCTE Conventions, the CCCC Administrative Liaison will contact Committee Chairs to make arrangements for space for your committee meeting and/or announcements to be printed in the program. All requests must be made in writing as early as possible to ensure space for a meeting.
- Policies on Per Diems: Committees will only receive one day's per diem for meetings held outside the time frame of the CCCC Convention (Wednesday through Sunday) and this must be pre-approved by the CCCC leadership. CCCC policy does not allow reimbursement for expenses related to travel or accommodations.
Membership, Responsibilities, and Charges
- The CCCC Chair has the ultimate responsibility of seating and charging CCCC Committees. Note: the CCCC Chair’s guidelines are included in this document for your reference.
- Committee chair and members should be familiar with the committee's charge, which serves as a statement of the committee's functions. The chair is particularly responsible for guiding the group to work within the charge toward reaching the stated goals.
- If the committee feels it necessary to change or revise its charge, the committee should recommend such changes to the CCCC Chair, who will consult with the Executive Committee and inform the committee of any changes. Otherwise, progress toward stated charges is assumed.
- All CCCC Committees are “charged” with demonstrating effort and progress toward completion of their charges in a timely fashion. Dysfunctional or non-functioning committees will be re-organized or disbanded.
- Assuming either a leadership or membership position on a CCCC committee is a substantial responsibility. The voluntary contribution made to both the committee and to CCCC is appreciated. If the decision is made that an individual can no longer serve on the committee, the CCCC Chair or the CCCC Administrative Liaison should be notified so that someone else may be appointed. While Committee Chairs themselves cannot appoint new members, they can ask individuals to help the committee in an outside consulting role without prior approval needed; however, it is good practice to inform the CCCC Chair (and the EC in bi-annual reports).
- Committee members should plan to attend as many committee meetings as possible and arrange any absences with the committee chair. Often, committees are able to conduct much of their business on-line, via conference calls, or through a combination of these means, and members who are unable to attend every meeting are still able to participate. The input and participation of members are valuable and vital to the committee’s work.
All committee chairs should prepare a semiannual written report, which will be given to Executive Committee members for discussion and approval at its meetings during the CCCC Annual Convention and the NCTE Annual Convention. The reports should be filed via e-mail to the CCCC Administrative Liaison. Committee chairs will receive a request to make a report for distribution in the Executive Committee Agenda. The semiannual reports are a good way to keep the Executive Committee abreast of committees' activities.
The narrative of a committee report should speak directly to the work of the committee on committee charges. It should be specific, if possible including examples of work completed or specifics about planned approaches. If the committee has encountered setbacks, the report is an appropriate place to present them, as well as suggesting alternative approaches or charges if desired.
The report form provides space to request the Executive Committee's approval for action on a committee's projects. Please make requests as specific as possible, including deadline dates, rationales, etc. It also allows for committees to request funds over and above the $50.00 that will be routinely provided for expenses such as postage, phone expenses, photocopying, etc.
If a report includes requests/recommendations for the Executive Committee to consider, the Executive Committee will discuss and if necessary vote on committee requests when they meet. Following the convention, the CCCC Chair and/or Administrative Liaison will be in touch to explain the Executive Committee’s responses to committee requests.
If a committee report does not include any requests/recommendations, the committee will not be contacted following the convention unless the Executive Committee has questions or recommendations for the committee. The Executive Committee is likely to consider only the work of reporting committees at any one meeting, so if a report is not submitted to the Executive Committee, there will not be any post-convention follow up.
Special Requests and Projects
- Budgets for special projects to be undertaken by a committee should be prepared and forwarded to Headquarters at least six weeks before the November or March Executive Committee meetings so that requests can be included in the agenda and, if necessary, so that the Executive Committee can consider monetary requests beforehand.
- Early assistance from the CCCC officers and/or NCTE Headquarters should be sought if a committee is contemplating a survey of CCCC members, NCTE members, or others. The officers must approve all questionnaires in order to be sure that legal and technical requirements of such instruments are met and that the studies are consistent with the functions of the committee. The officers and staff may be able to help by providing mailing lists, suggesting sampling techniques and offering other technical assistance.
As with any project requiring funding, the CCCC Executive Committee must authorize any expenditures for surveys. Committees could consider submitting a proposal to the NCTE Research Foundation for funds (in lieu of or in addition to what the CCCC Executive Committee might approve). Surveys tend to be complicated and expensive undertakings. In some cases, information a committee wishes to collect may be available from other sources, or the committee may wish to collaborate with other committees on a survey (to reduce the cost and the inconvenience to members who participate in surveys).
- If an official CCCC sanction of a report/paper/guidelines, etc. intended for publication is needed, a copy of the publication and a budget request should be sent to the CCCC Chair and to Headquarters at least six weeks before one of the Executive Committee's scheduled meetings (mid-November and mid-March). Shortly after the meeting, the committee chair will be notified of the Executive Committee's decision on clearing the material for publication.
- If a committee plans to publish a book or monograph via CCCC or NCTE, the NCTE Senior Editor or the SWR Editor should be contacted for assistance in developing a prospectus. The prospectus will be judged, in most cases, by the NCTE Editorial Board, and the writers will be either encouraged to develop or discouraged from developing a full manuscript, depending on a variety of factors.
- CCCC officers should be consulted before seeking grants outside CCCC for the work of a committee. Grants often create legal obligations in which the Conference and NCTE have an understandable interest.
- CCCC officers should also be consulted before soliciting sponsorship from publishers independently of CCCC. Headquarters provides publishers with a list of options to support the convention activities.
- When printing material intended to foster exchange of information (for example, in newsletters), a disclaimer, which might read something like this: "The opinions expressed are those of the writers (editors) and do not necessarily reflect the view of CCCC or its Executive Committee,” should be included.
- Executive Committee approval should be sought before giving or implying a committee's endorsement of material (e.g., a journal or book) that lies within the committee's concerns. This guideline does not preclude praise for material in the course of an article, book, report, or bibliography the committee prepares.
- Committees can recommend awards to the Executive Committee. No official CCCC awards can be given by a committee itself. However, a committee can give commendations (honoring a retiring committee chair, for example).
- Contact the CCCC Chair to discuss collaborative efforts your committee would like to undertake with another committee. Such collaborations may require the approval of the Executive Committee and coordination with NCTE headquarters staff.
- Committees are invited to submit proposals for CCCC and NCTE convention sessions and workshops. Such proposals will be evaluated by the Program Chair for the convention on the same basis as all other proposals.
- After its three years of work, a committee can recommend its reconstitution to the CCCC Chair and Executive Committee. Such recommendations should contain a detailed rationale.
CCCC committees perform much of the work of the organization. As such, careful attention must be paid to the functionality of committees, size/makeup of committees, and scope of committee charges. Most of these elements ultimately fall to the CCCC Chair to balance and maintain, and the quality of committee function can be greatly influenced by a few key decisions on the part of the Chair:
A. Committee Rationale: Creating/Reconstituting and Disbanding Committees
- The CCCC Chair will not permit the existence of more committees than can reasonably be overseen and managed by the CCCC Leadership and Staff, considering direct as well as time-costs.
- Before seating a new committee or reconstituting an existing committee, the CCCC Chair will undertake a process of global committee review to ensure (a) managerial space for a new committee, and (b) need, including impossibility of addressing "new" charges with existing committees (see "Charges" below for additional information).
- The output of committees and progress with committee charges/goals will undergo regular review via annual reports. "Consent Agenda" reports to the Executive Committee will nonetheless undergo careful review by the CCCC Officers with respect to progress and committee accomplishments. The CCCC Chair will follow-up with any questions/redirection for committee chairs.
- Even if they request renewal, committees may be disbanded by a majority vote of the CCCC Executive Committee or by the Chair in consultation with the Executive Committee for a demonstrated failure to progress toward goals or inability to align the committee's function behind stated charges. The CCCC leadership recognizes that effort may not always translate to accomplishment or to timely progress. All reasonable effort will be taken to support committee work; still, dysfunctional committees will be disbanded rather than "worked around." The CCCC Executive Committee may disband committees that fail to request renewal/reconstitution by a stated deadline.
- The CCCC Chair will exercise considerable selectivity in constituting new committees and reconstituting existing committees, utilizing the following criteria: (a) Has the proposed committee been requested by two or more individuals or units (e.g. the Executive Committee, a group that wishes a committee, Officers' group etc.) and has that request been accompanied by a preliminary rationale, language for a charge, and suggested name for the committee?; (b) Does the proposal address a service not already provided by another committee or constituent group?; (c) Could any current committee take on the suggested charge or functions without over-burdening that group?; and (d) Is the proposal better suited to another entity within NCTE?
- The size of new or reconstituted CCCC committees should not exceed nine members, including the committee chair.
- Committees will include representation of membership in line with general CCCC policies (e.g., representation by people of color, two-year-college members etc.). Special considerations of representation may be required under specific circumstances at the CCCC Chair's discretion (e.g., ensure an Executive Committee member is on the committee to create a needed link etc.).
- The CCCC Chair will consider lists of suggested committee members from interested parties and will consult with the officers and Executive Committee in appointing members to committees.
- There will be some turnover of membership each time a committee is reconstituted.
C. Committee Naming and Charges
- The CCCC Chair will name new committees, carefully evaluating existing committee names and seeking to discern their functions at this level. Naming can be done in consultation with others as needed.
- The CCCC Chair will consider suggested charges from interested parties and may work closely with potential committee chairs and/or others to shape charges.
- The CCCC Chair may request recommended language and/or sample charges.
In charging committees, the CCCC Chair should note that charges should be:
(a) Specific and goal-oriented
(b) Attainable during the current term of the committee
(c) Not in conflict with any CCCC policies or formal procedures
(d) Not threatening to CCCC/NCTE's status as a 501c3/charitable entity
(e) Not overlapping with charges or requests of existing CCCC committees
(f) Not in conflict with charges or requests of existing CCCC committees
- CCCC Committees may request to collaborate on projects/charges or may be assigned to do so by the CCCC Chair.
- The CCCC Chair may modify existing committee charges to better align them with standards presented here.
- The CCCC Chair will be available to support committee work as needed, including responding to requests from committee Chairs, via the Administrative Liaison, although committee work always continues at the Chair's discretion and under the Chair's direction.
- The CCCC Chair will announce an annual meeting time with CCCC Committee Chairs as a group. This time may be during another meeting of the CCCC Officers or Executive Committee, or may be held online.
- The CCCC Chair will stay current with the work of the CCCC Committees by reviewing the CCCC website committee communication area and responding as needed.
Committee chairs and committee members can depend on the following kinds of support from the CCCC Administrative Liaison:
- Handle all administrative committee work, including inviting/thanking members, requesting, collecting and reformatting committee reports, and follow-up communications from the Officers' and Executive Committees.
- Update (with submitted content) and publish webpages for CCCC Committees as requested.
- Keep Committee Chairs apprised of projects and opportunities that may be of interest.
- Make available on the CCCC website a current list of CCCC Committees, Committee Chairs and members, and committee charges. S/he will specifically make this information available to the CCCC Chair as needed in referencing materials/members for new/reconstituted committees.
- Stay apprised of the work of committees and draw the CCCC Chair’s attention to relevant or timely items that arise.
- Act as liaison between CCCC committees, committee chairs, and the CCCC Chair as needed.