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Information Technology Services
Michigan State University

CAFEs

Expanding and replacing the former “CCSAC” (Communications and Computer Systems Advisory Committee) advisory subcommittees, CAFEs (Communities for Advising, Facilitating, and Enabling) address the growing desire for effective cross-University communications and community that the CCSAC committees were not as effective in addressing.

The CAFEs undertake activities and provide communication mechanisms that help people with common interests share ideas, challenges, solutions, tools, and strategic directions. CAFEs may provide a context for joint planning.

The CIO and Director of Information Technology will engage with CAFEs for consultation—a key product of community communication is advisory content that helps IT Services direct its efforts and investments in information technologies, systems, and services.

The CAFEs, being communities rather than committees, welcome participation by anyone, and tend to have an informal structure (each CAFE will establish its own operating approach). They are led by volunteer faculty and professional staff, and supported by IT Services' managers, staff and other resources. More details are available in the Communities for Advising, Facilitating, and Enabling (CAFEs) PDF.

Establishing a CAFE

The CIO and Director of Information Technology works to support CAFEs in a variety of ways, and wishes to help the CAFEs to be well-organized and purposeful. Groups interested in forming a CAFE should submit their request to the CIO and Director of Information Technology. Requests should detail the following:

  • Topic: What subject area will the proposed CAFE address? Please give careful consideration to topics currently being addressed within an existing community.
  • Membership: Who will initially serve on the CAFE and who will lead the activities? What mechanisms have been identified to encourage the exchange of ideas, foster discussion from members, and decrease barriers for entry and exit of the community?
  • Leadership: CAFEs must be led by an engaged volunteer from the MSU faculty or professional staff. CAFEs can only be successful if their leaders invest the personal time necessary to recruit participation, run effective meetings, elicit active participation by others, organize topical work groups and events, document the CAFE’s proceedings and output, etc. CAFE leaders are responsible for moderating public discussions.
  • Logistics: When and how will the community meet? (e.g. regular or periodic face-to-face meetings, online, or both.)
  • Working groups: There will be times when a specific agenda items requires the focused attention of a working group. Working groups will focus on particular topics, investigate all possibilities, and document information found to report back to the larger community. A leader for each working group must be assigned to schedule meetings, solicit topical experts, and guide discussions. Topical specialists must represent all sides of an issue.
  • Communication: Reports and updates are to be submitted to the Vice Provost for IT Services regularly. Bi-annual reviews will be conducted to evaluate the future direction of each CAFE.

Terminating a CAFE

When a topic or area has been sufficiently addressed by a CAFE and any applicable working groups, CAFEs may be terminated. Leaders of the CAFE to be terminated must:

  • Obtain consensus from members.
  • Consult with the CIO and Director of Information Technology regarding the CAFE’s disposition.
  • Submit final report to CIO and Director of Information Technology with request to terminate.
  • Send notification to all members thanking them for their participation.