Communicating with Curriculum Advisors

Last updated on 2023-04-18 | Edit this page



  • How does my lesson fit into the overall curriculum?
  • What kinds of changes do I have the authority to make?
  • Who should I talk to about larger-scale changes?


  • Describe who has authority, and responsibility, to make different types of decisions.
  • Gain confidence in merging simple PRs independently.
  • Know when and how to contact Curriculum Advisors.

Your lesson is part of an overall curriculum within a Lesson Program. For example the Project Organization and Management for Genomics lesson is part of the Genomics curriculum, which is part of the Data Carpentry Lesson Program. Data Carpentry has several curricula, while Library Carpentry and Software Carpentry each have a single curriculum.

The work that Maintainers do on routine upkeep of the lessons is complimented by the Curriculum Advisory Committee (CAC) for each curriculum. Curriculum Advisors provide high-level oversight, vision, and leadership for a curriculum and guide large-scale updates.

The CAC Consultation Rubric outlines the division of responsibilities for Maintainers and Curriculum Advisors, including

  • issues over which Maintainers have full authority and which do not need CAC involvement,
  • issues about which Maintainers should consult the CAC,
  • issues that may benefit from Maintainers consulting with the CAC, but over which Maintainers retain authority, and
  • issues for which Maintainers must seek CAC approval.

Each Curriculum Advisory Committee includes at least one Maintainer, and we encourage you to apply for your curriculum’s CAC when applications open.

You can tag in your Curriculum Advisory Committee on an issue in your lesson repository using their team name (e.g. “@datacarpentry/curriculum-advisors-astronomy” or “@LibraryCarpentry/curriculum-advisors”). The CAC chair is responsible for watching the repository and serving as a liaison with the curriculum’s Maintainers. Each Curriculum Advisory Committee also has a public TopicBox list, where Maintainers and other community members can bring issues for consideration. More information about each CAC, including mailing list and GitHub repositories, is available on the Curriculum Advisors homepage.

Which strategy? (5 minutes)

Match the issue with the correct strategy for resolving it.

  1. Needs elevation to CAC
  2. Simple fix by a single Maintainer without review
  3. Put in a PR and wait for another Maintainer to review
  4. Raise the issue for conversation at Maintainer co-working corral or on email list

Key Points

  • The Curriculum Advisory Committee consultation rubric outlines division of responsibilities between Maintainers and Curriculum Advisors.