How to use this document
This is a toolkit, not an instruction manual; there is no “one size fits all” structure for a COMMIT. Designing, rolling out, and sustaining your COMMIT is as open-ended and exploratory as any math problem you’d give your students. In this toolkit we have examples, resources, and advice to share, but ultimately, your particular goals, contexts, preferences, and experiences will determine what systems and structures work best for you.
Similarly, how you choose to use and navigate this document is up to you; you can read it beginning to end, or jump around. You can scan it once, or bookmark it to come back to as a reference. At points in this toolkit we have “Your Turn” activities. You can simply read through these for more ideas, or you can also use them as brainstorming activities at your leadership meetings.
Finally, as you find models or structures that work for you, we would be happy to hear from you so we can add your wisdom to this site.
So you want to start a new community?
Here are some resources to help you get started! We have divided them up into six topics, with two recurring themes (see below).
Before setting out to form a COMMIT community, it is important to identify your purpose and aims in doing so. While much less formal than an official mission or vision statement, it can serve a similar purpose in helping you make decisions, set priorities, communicate about your community, and guide your structure.
Here you will find ideas for advertising and recruitment of new members, as well as building and sustaining an inclusive community that is responsive to the needs of its members.
Creating a sustainable leadership structure is important for the long term success of your community. Existing COMMIT communities have a variety of leadership structures; this page will help you find one that is a good fit for your community.
The events held by COMMIT communities are many and varied. They include one-time events like workshops or conferences; ongoing events like monthly Zoom lunches; mentoring relationships, peer coaching, book clubs, and more. We encourage you to be creative and dream big about what your community might want to do!
Your community will eventually need mechanisms for communicating with the outside world (e.g, a website and public-facing calendar of events) as well as mechanisms for disseminating information to members and fostering member-member communication.
Many events can be done with little or no money. But having some funding can allow a community to do more. This page will help you think about sources of funding, the mechanics of keeping and using it, and how much different ideas might cost.
Throughout this toolkit, we will come back to two themes repeatedly: (1) Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) and (2) Sustainability. These themes transcend all aspects of planning and executing a COMMIT, so we’ll bring them to your attention in every topic we explore.
Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
One of the Shared Principles of COMMIT communities is that each COMMIT community works to support diversity, equity, and inclusion in college mathematics teaching. This includes both
making the community itself diverse and inclusive, and
including a focus on equitable and inclusive teaching in workshops, discussions, and projects sponsored by the community.
On each page of this toolkit, we will highlight opportunities and challenges for doing this work.
We hope our COMMIT communities will continue long into the future. We all know that it takes work to sustain such a community. But if hard work is the only thing keeping a community going, it’s at a high risk of fizzling out when hard working leaders become exhausted or move. To really be sustainable, a community has to be filling a need, have a robust and engaged membership base, and have well thought-out structures that help keep it going. Each page of the toolkit will take an eye towards sustainability of your COMMIT and help identify related opportunities and challenges.