Strategy and Policy-Facing Track

Do you lead a team of RCD professionals? Are you involved with the strategic planning for such a group? Are you interested in growing your leadership skills and/or your management and mentoring skills? Are you looking for good practices on budgets, finances, and how to communicate your group’s needs to senior leadership? Join your peers to discuss these topics and more on the Strategy and Policy-Facing Track of the People Network!

Some of the ideas we’d like to explore include the following (but we want to hear your ideas as well!)

  • Updates from events and meetings of peer organizations for RCD leadership (e.g., CASC meetings, the EDUCAUSE conference, etc.)
  • How do build a strong impact report for your program
  • Mapping influence networks on your campus
  • How to create compelling value propositions for your key stakeholders
  • Where to go for management and leadership training
  • How to share resources across centers? Issues finance, legal, and practical.
  • Recharge models, pros and cons
  • Models for IDF/Overhead distribution and implications for program funding
  • Organizational models (where your team sits and who you report up to) and the implications for strategic planning
  • How to speak to finance teams
  • How to support regulated research and sensitive computing/data
  • Your suggestions here!

Some of these topics overlap between this track and others, especially the Emerging Centers Track. We’re working with our peer track coordinators to explore how we can collaborate on these, possibly exploring the topics from different perspectives in our respective track meetings.

We connect via monthly calls (details below) and an email list:

Join Us!

Join Us! Fill out our membership form to let us know who you are and what you’re interested in. We’ll add you to this email list and other Tracks that you indicate.

Monthly Calls

Monthly calls are on the first Wednesday of the month, Noon ET/ 11am CT/ 10am MT/ 9am PT. Connection information and links to any materials are distributed via the Strategy and Policy-Facing email list.

Upcoming Call(s)

December 6th: Major RCD expansion (Joint with EDUCAUSE RCD CG). In this call, we will hear from two research computing and data organizations, New York University and Northwestern University, who have undergone or are undergoing rapid growth. We will hear why they are growing, the types or services affected, and the positions added. Speakers will discuss strategies in hiring, building services, and meeting goals, as well as challenges along the way. Please note that this session will not be recorded.

January 3rd, 2024: No call (just after the holidays)

February 7th, 2024: Finance, Funding Partnerships. Funding comes from different streams, depending on where you sit in your institution, expectations for recharge, partners, and champions. In this discussion, we will discuss various funding streams for institutional computing and storage facilities, as well as staff.

Track Support and Coordination

The Strategy and Policy-Facing Track is supported by the combined efforts of our Steering Committee and two co-coordinators. Send questions or comments, feedback, call topic ideas, etc., to the coordinators at

Steering Committee Members:
Jackie Milhans (Northwestern)
Jim Wilgenbusch (Minnesota Supercomputing Institute)
Melissa Cragin (Rice University)
Preston Smith (Purdue)
Rich Knepper (Cornell)
Susan Ivey (North Carolina State University)
Vessela Ensberg (UC Davis)

Track Coordinators

Amit Amritkar (Penn State)
Patrick Schmitz (Semper Cogito)

Previous Call Topics

11/1/2023 Meetings recap: Fall CASC Meeting,EDUCAUSE, +
We heard from folks who have gone to several fall meetings and conferences, including CASC, EDUCAUSE, Internet2 TechEx, and others. We invited a few speakers to do lightning talks to make folks aware of the content and value of the event (but not a summary of presentations or agendas), with a focus on why folks attend (or send team members), and what they think the best thing is about each meeting/conference.
10/4/2023 Satisfaction Surveys
We discussed practices around conducting Satisfaction Surveys for RCD programs. Some of the issues we explored include: How to get a good response (and what is a good response rate)?; How to “sell” participation in surveys to the user community?; Why should users contribute?; How often to conduct surveys?; and What to do with the data (how to analyze and report).
9/6/2023 RRIDs: Persistent Unique identifiers mark the things that are used in studies, key biological resources, and other important tools such as software tools, databases, core facilities, and now also instruments. These are used by various journals (primarily in biomedicine) to make searching for these things easier. The listing and use of the RRIDs has also allowed us to create AI tools that find papers where authors do not necessarily refer to the tool using the RRID, making it easier overall to find key resources. video
8/2/2023 Reflections and discussion of PEARC23.
We had a community discussion of what those who were able to attend PEARC saw and heard, to more broadly share the ideas with those who are not able to attend PEARC.
7/5/2023 Documenting metrics for RCD programs (part 2).
(See June session for a full topic description) This second session focused on how the collected data is used as input to strategic planning, documenting impact, etc.
6/7/2023 Documenting metrics for RCD programs (part 1).
From reporting operational performance metrics in terms of system up-time to research impact metrics of grant dollars generated, every RCD program uses some sort of performance metrics to showcase its impact to various audiences. In this two part discussion series, we explore different types of metrics in use at various RCD programs which are diverse in maturity and size. This first session focused on the data collection done in compiling metrics.
5/3/2023 No call in May.
Check out the recordings for Accessibility Month on the CaRCC Youtube channel.
4/5/2023 Origin stories of RCD programs.
Following up on the series about factors that define/characterize a given RCD program/service provider, our April call will consider “origin stories” as a key context frame or driver in the development of planning and decision-making.
4/5/2023 No call in May. Referred folks to the May accessibility talks on other tracks (see the youtube channel for recordings!)
3/1/2023 Exploring factors that impact RCD strategy (part 2).
Second in a series of meetings where we discuss factors important for growth and development of your program at your institution.
2/1/2023 Exploring factors that impact RCD strategy.
What programmatic and institutional characteristics affect how you make strategic decisions for your RCD program? We’ll hear from four RCD programs and then open a discussion on what’s similar and what’s not, and what the key factors seem to be.
First in a series of meetings where we can look at factors important for growth and development of your program at your institution.
video (partial)
12/2/2022 Updates from CASC, EDUCAUSE, NSF Cybersecurity Summit.
This session provided a community update on recent (external) meetings of interest.
10/05/22 Kickoff and brainstorming topics for the new track video