Terms of Reference
A Community of Interest (CoI) is a group of people who share information, insights, experience, tools and/or personal connections in an area of common interest (adapted from Wenger & Snyder, 1998).
To be successful, the community will focus on solving problems rather than exclusively on presenting practices. In the case of CNAR Communities of Interest, the focus of each CoI will be on a topic identified by CNAR membership as important and timely (most likely stemming from a symposium, at least initially). The CoI may focus on a particular skill (e.g., investigations, assessments) or topic (e.g. assessment of language proficiency).
Though the specifics will vary given the unique needs of each proposed community of interest, the primary objectives for each CoI are:
- Promoting interaction, building alliances and facilitating co-ordination of initiatives by
- Preventing duplication of efforts, triggering optimum utilization of resources, thus improving regulatory outcomes
- Mapping existing knowledge and identifying gaps for future action/initiative (jointly or individually)
- Promoting innovation by sharing ideas, creating new knowledge and potentially developing new capabilities
- Facilitating information and experience-sharing for problem solving,
- Participatory building of a shared repertoire of resources, tools and methodologies,
- Enhancing professional practices by sharing best practice
Each CoI will be collaboratively managed/led by up to three individuals: a Chair who will organize and plan the work of the CoI, a Mentor who will serve as a content expert, and a staff Coordinator who will provide logistical support. At its inception, each CoI will choose a Chair from amongst its membership by consensus or by vote to serve for a one-year renewable term. Services provided by the Chair and Mentor will be in-kind (non-remunerated).
The responsibilities of the Chair will be to:
- Lead and manage CoI meetings, while ensuring that content and outcomes reflect the vision of the group rather than one individual
- Plan meeting agendas, including organizing guest speakers, reading materials, references
- Provide an overall annual vision and budget for the work of the CoI
- Record and report on activities to the Board, including requests for further funding related to additional initiatives
The responsibilities of the Mentor will be to:
- Share knowledge related to the topic during live meetings and online discussions
- Keep the group informed of new developments in the field
- Identify appropriate directions and content in conjunction with the Chair
- Assist the Chair in developing the annual vision for the work of the CoI
- Assist the Chair in identifying guest speakers, reading materials, and references
The responsibilities of the Coordinator will be to:
- Provide logistical and administrative support to the CoI (e.g. poll for meeting times, provide access to technology)
- Assist the Chair in planning meeting agendas, confirming speakers, disseminating materials to CoI members
- Record/manage attendance/membership
- Track budget and arrange for reimbursement of expenses
- Assist Chair in reporting on activities to the Board
Participation will be open to CNAR members and subscribers. External partners may be invited to participate as content experts or as guest speakers.
CNAR will provide administrative and technological support for up to four meetings per calendar year. The Chair will coordinate additional meetings. If desired, members of the CoI may wish to conduct one face-to-face meeting in conjunction with an event (e.g. CNAR conference).
Financial support will be provided by CNAR for the cost of teleconferencing and/or videoconferencing, within pre-defined limits. CoIs will also have unlimited access to CNAR’s discussion board through the CNAR website. Members may also request funding to cover costs related to a face-to-face meeting (meeting room, audio-visual, catering). Travel costs will not be reimbursed.
The Chair will provide a 1- to 2-page progress report to the board on a semi-annual basis, and include the following information:
- Brief summary of activities
- Is the deliverable on time? On budget? Are any amendments necessary?
- Does the topic/project continue to deliver the intended benefit to members?
- Any issues which should be brought forward to the Board of Directors
- Summary of upcoming requests for additional funding or support
A reporting template will be provided for this purpose.
All materials and products developed through the COIs will remain the exclusive property of CNAR, unless otherwise negotiated and documented at the outset. Requests for reproduction and/or distribution will be submitted to CNAR staff, except in the case where the material or product has specifically been produced for mass distribution and is identified as such. All use of material or product will contain an acknowledgement to CNAR and be distributed according to CNAR’s guidelines.