This Charter was first adopted by vote of the I-Schools Caucus, July 2005. With thanks to the Common Solutions Group, on whose charter this document is based. It has now been replaced by the Charter of November 2014.
Revision History: Revised October 17, 2006; January 9, 2009; January 29, 2009; February 11, 2009
The Purpose of the iSchools
The iSchools take it as given that expertise in all forms of information is required for progress in science, business, education, and culture. This expertise must include understanding of the uses and users of information, the nature of information itself, as well as information technologies and their applications. The iSchools have organized to pursue common objectives with a collective commitment of resources.
The Characteristics of iSchools
Criteria for being recognized as an iSchool are not rigid, but schools are expected to have substantial sponsored research activity (an average of $1 million in research expenditures per year over three years), engagement in the training of future researchers (usually through an active, research-oriented doctoral program), and a commitment to progress in the information field.
Membership in the iSchools
Schools that share the purpose described above and provide evidence that they meet the baseline characteristics will be listed on this site as an iSchool, and they will be assessed a modest annual administrative fee. For that fee, they may contribute brief descriptions of their students, faculty, research, and academic programs, for the various parts of the site, and they may feed RSS-based news items to the newsfeed aggregator. Each iSchool will designate a representative, for the purposes of voting and participating in conference calls for all iSchools members, to be held monthly.
Joining the iSchools
Schools that share our purposes and can provide evidence they meet the baseline characteristics described in the charter are encouraged to apply for membership.
The original impetus for organizing and publicizing the iSchools came from a group of schools now called the iCaucus, schools that meet and exceed the criteria, and who were willing to make substantial financial investments to help steer the field as a whole, to increase recognition of the iSchools brand, and to develop the iConference. With the exception of iCaucus members elected by iSchools not otherwise represented on the iCaucus, additions to the iCaucus membership will be by invitation, based on a vote of current iCaucus members. Both elected and invited members must already meet the criteria for iSchools and must come to iCaucus meetings. Invited members must be willing to pay iCaucus membership fees (which will be substantially higher than the iSchools fee). Elected members pay nothing beyond their normal iSchools administrative fee.
Guiding Principles for the iCaucus
- Keep the group optimally sized to promote discussion.
- Engage individuals and institutions with strategic skills and vision to find common solutions to the challenges faced by the iSchools.
- Work with existing organizations and activities where issues of interest to iSchools are already being addressed.
- Disseminate opinions and conclusions broadly for all that can benefit from them.
Organization of the iCaucus
The iCaucus is chaired by a coordinator, and served by a treasurer and ad hoc committees appointed by the iCaucus as a whole. At the discretion of the coordinator, these committees may include individuals who are not members of the iCaucus. The coordinator serves a two-year term, and is normally appointed to that post automatically, after serving two years as coordinator-elect. In the absence of the coordinator, the coordinator-elect will serve as the coordinator.
The coordinator-elect and the treasurer are elected by iCaucus members on alternate years for two-year terms. At the end of each calendar year, the coordinator appoints a nominating committee of two iCaucus members who do not wish to stand for election that year. The nominating committee nominates individuals for the open position; election is by majority vote of iCaucus members.
In the event that a coordinator, coordinator-elect, or treasurer steps down during a two-year term, a new election will be held to fill that post for the remainder of the term.
Membership in the iCaucus
The iCaucus will have elected and invited members. Invited members represent institutional leadership in the field. In addition, for every ten iSchools not otherwise represented in the iCaucus, one representative to the iCaucus may be elected by iSchools who are not invited members of the iCaucus, for a two-year term. These elections will be organized at the end of each calendar year by an iCaucus membership committee appointed by the coordinator. Whether elected or invited, representatives to the iCaucus meetings will be the chief academic officer (e.g., dean) of an iSchool. On a case-by-case basis, the iCaucus coordinator may invite other individuals from member or non-member organizations to speak, represent an interest or otherwise participate in part or all of an iCaucus meeting.
At the end of each calendar year, the coordinator and the treasurer will review membership issues: membership may be discontinued for members who fail to pay assessed dues for one year, or for any member who has missed two consecutive annual meetings.
If new members are to be invited, the membership committee appointed by the coordinator will present a slate of candidates at the end of the calendar year, to be voted on at the iCaucus meeting that coincides with the iConference. Candidates will normally already be listed as iSchools, on iSchools.org.
iCaucus Meeting Management
Annual iCaucus meetings will coincide with the iConference and they will be designed to emphasize interactive discussion of issues. An agenda for each will be distributed by the coordinator at least a week in advance. Presenters should endeavor to provide detailed information in electronic document form prior to meetings, and to use meeting time to present summaries and identify issues for discussion or decision. In between these annual meetings, the Coordinator will organize bi-monthly conference calls. Notice of the schedule for these calls will be distributed to iSchool representatives at the beginning of each fall and spring.
iCaucus Revenue and Funding
The iCaucus is funded by an annual fee assessed of members, and by contributed administrative fees from the iSchools. The iCaucus Treasurer is responsible for these funds and will provide a report on status of funds at each meeting. Participants normally pay all expenses of attending iCaucus meetings including travel, lodging, meals and sundry expenses. The iSchools Caucus on occasion will sponsor meals that occur as an integral part of the meetings.
iCaucus Work Groups
Work will be accomplished by work groups constituted by the iCaucus and reporting to the Coordinator. Work groups will focus on a variety of tasks, including generation of quick reports and/or ongoing tracking of topics important to the group. Work groups will also plan for major projects to be undertaken after a majority vote of the iCaucus members. iCaucus members can vote to fund particular projects in units of $1,000 or $5,000 as appropriate. Additional project funding may be solicited from the iCaucus, but members are not obliged to provide such funding. Results of projects may or may not be differentially available depending on funding participation.