a photo of a white woman (me) and 4 men, all looking happy and relieved after running the Apereo social at FOSSY 23.

Stepping down by not away from Apereo

The call for nominations for the Apereo Foundation Board of Directors is now open. If you like open source software and higher education, then this might be the opportunity you’ve been looking for!

This round of elections is my 6th since I joined the Apereo Board in 2018 and is bittersweet as it marks the point at which I have to step down, having served my maximum number of consecutive terms. I’ve had the privilege and pleasure of serving as Board Chair since 2019 and I’m immensley proud of what has been achieved in that time.

One of the biggest pieces has been the leadership transition from our founding Executive Director Ian Dolphin, to our current Executive Director Patrick Masson. Running a recruitment process for this role during a pandemic was no small task given that many of our Board members were in the front-lines of the pandemic response in their organisations.

Simply holding on during the pandemic in restrospect also feels like an immense achievement. As a Foundation with a focus on educational technology, and who’s members are almost exclusively in higher education, meant that asking for acts of service during this period was asking for support from people carrying the burden of switching their institutions over to remote learning, on top of the disruption to personal lives that we all dealt with. It is a testament to the dedication and care of all the members of the Board that we remained functional during this period.

We’ve also completed an operational review, looking at our policies and procedures and considering what new services are needed to support us, and which ones are no longer required. This is the kind of boring behind the scenes work that isn’t big and flashy, but lays solid foundations for years ahead. We’ve been beyond lucky to on-board the services of some fantastic folks in the financial and development / fundraising space, as well as renew and strengthen existing relationships with really great admin, community management, and communications professionals.

We’ve also been strengthening our links with the wider open source ecosystem in the last few years. We started with our micro-conference series, as well as running dedicated education tracks at broader open source conferences like FOSSY, in collaboration with organisations like Creative Commons and Moodle. This year our Executive Director will be one of the keynotes at OW2Con in Paris.

It’s on this foundation that we’ve been able begin the work of crafting a new strategy and the plans required to operationalise it. The work is significantly advanced and the direction of travel is inspiring. Whilst this work will come to fruition after the end of my tenure it means that new Board members will be stepping in at one of the most exciting moments in our history since we were formed.

I don’t take credit for making all of the above happen. Very far from it indeed. I’ve had the pleasure of very lightly steering a committed and talented Board of Directors in supporting and advising an excellent Executive Director in Patrick. All the credit for actual work done belongs elsewhere.

Whilst I’m stepping down, I definitely didn’t say that I was stepping away. In the short term I’m sure I’ll continue to support the Board Chair transition process, and  after that I will continue to be involved with Apereo’s work as a Board alumni, in particular supporting our inaugural Open Source Software in Higher Education report. There’s a lot of work to be done, and a lot of fun still to be had.

If you would like to know a little bit more about what being a Board Director involves, or about Apereo, feel free to get in contact with me directly or with Patrick.

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