What is a EUNIS Special Interest Group/Task Force?

EUNIS Special Interest Groups (SIGs)/Task Forces (TFs) are focused groups of professionals dedicated to activities related to key initiatives. Their members are primarily EUNIS members, but occasional participation of external experts is also possible if the SIG/TF team considers this to be beneficial to its goals. The primary consideration when creating a SIG/TF is identifying the added value to member organizations, whether through a deep analysis of the initiative to be explored and the sharing of outcomes with other members; and/or through a SIG/TF participation in calls and tenders.

A SIG/TF is one of the links between EUNIS, its members and prospective members, both public sector and private sector and is the mechanism that transforms the theories discussed during events into concrete activities. Each SIG/TF represents EUNIS commitment and interest to key initiatives; the initiatives EUNIS considers the most relevant for the IT community in Higher Education. There is a very strong synergy between EUNIS and its SIGs/TFs.

Current EUNIS Special Interest Groups and Task Forces are:

  • Learning &Teaching SIG
  • Mobility & Digital Credentials SIG
  • Benchmarking (BencHEIT) Task Force
  • Business Intelligence (BI) SIG
  • Information Security (InfoSec) SIG
  • Enterprise Architecture (EA) SIG
  • Cloud Management SIG

Further Information on the Special Interest Groups/Task Forces can be found at: http://eunis.org/task-forces/

Special Interest Group/Task Force benefits

a) Networking

Being part of the EUNIS Community gives each SIG/TF the opportunity to reach more than 2,000 people from 120 different European Institutions and 18 National/Regional Organisations across 36 Countries. Members of EUNIS are generally high level professionals actively seeking collaboration activities and networking opportunities.

b) Promotion

EUNIS offers the SIGs/TFs an organised structure to help promote topical activities and events through the EUNIS’ official website, mailing-lists, and social networks. Through a EUNIS SIG/TF specific topics and outcomes can be promoted more strongly and reach a wider audience.

c) Sponsors and budget

EUNIS supports the SIGs/TFs in helping to find sponsors to cover expenses related to their activities and events. Annual allocations from the EUNIS budget are also available – so activities can be executed with more power and significance.

d) Value to EUNIS members

SIGs/TFs and their activities add value to EUNIS members providing them with up-to-date information, quality events, and a network of peers. The activities may also attract topical experts from non-EUNIS member organisations and inspire them to consider their organisation to become a EUNIS member.

Longer term, tangible EUNIS results 

SIGs/TFs support EUNIS in being more productive by engaging experts in longer term activity that results in tangible results such as studies and reports.

Guidelines on the creation, structure and management of Special Interest Groups/Task Forces

Guideline 1: Process for the creation of a EUNIS Special Interest Group/Task Force

Special Interest Group/ Task Forces can be created in three ways.

  1. Bottom-Up: One or more EUNIS’ Members may be interested in a specific initiative and can apply to EUNIS to create a new SIG/TF.
  2. Top-Down: The General Assembly or the Board may have a specific interest in an initiative. In this case it will send a “call to action” to all EUNIS members in order to promote the creation of a new SIG/TF on this initiative.
  3. Merge: An existing group might want to raise its profile and awareness at International level. In this case, the group can candidate itself to become an official EUNIS SIG/TF.

A SIG/TF application made to the EUNIS Board and the General Assembly, should provide information about: topic, urgency, strategy/approach, purpose/objectives, and credentials of leads.

Guideline 2:  Proposed structure for EUNIS Special Interest Groups (SIGs)/Task Forces (TF’s)

a) Mission and scope, guidance for Special Interest Groups/Task Forces

Each SIG/TF needs to have a one-pager available, describing topic, urgency, strategy/approach, purpose/objectives, current activities and outlook, to be available on the EUNIS website revised on an annual basis. The scope of activities should be in line with the EUNIS strategic priorities.

EUNIS strategic directions will be discussed by the Board before the Board meeting in June. The strategic directions, including guidance for the SIG/TF  will be approved by the Board in the EUNIS Board meeting in June*, and will be communicated to the SIG/TF before July. SIG/TF should be able to address important issues and respond to urgent needs, facilitating exchange and construction of expertise.

b) Membership and Leadership

A EUNIS SIG/TF will have at least five members, whose membership is acknowledged by their EUNIS member organisations. One of the members of the SIG/TF should be assigned as its leader. The leader is responsible for organising the SIG’s/TF’s activities and reporting on these activities to the EUNIS Board and the General Assembly. The leader should be proposed by the SIG/TF and should be approved by the Board to ensure a trusted person will take on the responsibilities to work with EUNIS interest in mind, enhance the reputation of EUNIS, and manage EUNIS financial resources when allocated.

c) Special Interest Group/Task Force leader requirements

It is mandatory that Special Interest Group/Task Force Leaders attend (a part of) scheduled EUNIS Board meetings* when invited by the Board and to present their plans/successes at the General Assembly. At the November meeting the Board may approve planning for the next year; the meeting in June is used to report, update and propose initial ideas for the coming year to the Board and the General Assembly.

*EUNIS typically has two Board meetings a year. One in June at the EUNIS Congress typically on the Monday of the Congress week and a second meeting in November which is typically held on a Friday. In some years there have been three Board meetings but this is exceptional and doesn’t usually involve SIG/TF Leaders.

Guideline 3:  EUNIS Special Interest Groups/Task Forces activity procedures

a) Special Interest Group/Task Force activities plan

At its November meeting the EUNIS board will discuss and approve the proposed SIG/TF activities. The discussion will focus on documentation provided by the SIG/TF Leaders two weeks in advance of the meeting. The documentation will outline the purpose and expected result of the activities and provide the essential information on how the activities align with the overall mission and ambitions of EUNIS.

b) Special Interest Group/Task Force activity budget

Part of the approval process will focus on the required budget to be allocated for a proposed SIG/TF activity. It is therefore suggested to add a preliminary planning and estimated budget to the proposed activity, especially with regard to travel and accommodation for SIG/TF leads, and SIG/TF members, or external experts sine qua non.

c) EUNIS financial support

The EUNIS Board will actively assist Special Interest Group/Task Force leaders in getting funding from Sponsors for Task Force activities. The EUNIS Board may grant some funding to complement sponsor funding. The amount of the EUNIS contribution available to realise TF activities will be based on the proposed number and substance of the activities, projected number of attendees, sponsor potential and description of expected costs. Once the measures described in Guidelines 4 (Coherence and synergy between Special Interest Groups/Task Forces and EUNIS) are in place, budget decisions will be less ad hoc and expectations better managed.

d) Locations and timing

EUNIS Special Interest Group/Task Force activities such as workshops should preferably be planned at cities/locations that have easy air connections and require limited ground transportation to save on time and costs for participants. Preferably EUNIS Special Interest Groups/Task Forces activities will take place in conjunction with other conferences or workshops that tie-in with the topic. This will help to increase attendance and the return on travel-investment for participants.

e) Final Approval

If the EUNIS Board has approved Special Interest Group/Task Force activities for the coming year, and agreed on the budget it will provide funding from the EUNIS budget. The General Assembly will be informed. If the General Assembly is not in agreement, the Board will decide on alterations to be made.

f) Annual review

The work of the Special Interest Group/Task Forces will be reviewed annually at the EUNIS Board meeting in June at the Congress where Special Interest Group/Task Force leaders will be invited to attend. The review will be based on the information provided by the Task Force Leader, including his/her evaluation of activities and achievements. Results will be discussed and approved by the Board. The information and evaluation by the Special Interest Group/Task Force leader should be circulated to the Board two weeks in advance of the Board meeting.

Guideline 4:  Coherence and synergy between Special Interest Groups/Task Forces and EUNIS

a) Specific Board member task: Special Interest Group/Task Force contact

To support Special Interest Group/Task Force Leads, the EUNIS Board will amongst their members distribute the task of being the first contact for Special Interest Group/Task Force Leaders. This Board member (there could be more than one) is supposed to be in regular contact with the Special Interest Group/Task Force leads and ensure that ideas, issues and developments relevant to the functioning of the Task Force or the realisation of its activities are timely discussed. The responsible Board member will ensure that issues flagged by Special Interest Group/Task Force Leaders will be responded to in reasonable time.

b) Bi-monthly communication

To support Special Interest Group/Task Force Leads and EUNIS Board to be mutually informed about progress and/or emerging issues, EUNIS will facilitate bi-monthly virtual meetings that will be attended by the Special Interest Group/Task Force Leaders, the Board member responsible for Task Forces and for ERAI, and the EUNIS Secretary. This will ensure coordination between activities, identification of potential synergy and manage expectations about ambitions, resources, publishing of outcomes.

c) ERAI as publishing platform

To support Special Interest Groups/Task Forces to document and disseminate their results, ERAI is available to publish the outcomes and results. In the planning of activities the publishing of results via ERAI should be taken into account. In the aforementioned bi-monthly communication meetings, ERAI will be present to advise and help planning the publication of outcomes.

d) Special Interest Groups/Task Forces and the EUNIS Conference

It is highly desired that the Special Interest Groups/Task Forces are visible at EUNIS Conferences, by presenting results, running a conference session and/or by organising a workshop as a pre-conference event. This will make the conference more attractive, and allows Special Interest Groups/Task Forces to gain attention and grow. EUNIS will request Conference organisers to consult Task Force Leaders about ideas for the programme and the possibility to contribute as a Task Force.

Guideline 5: Promote EUNIS Identity

a) EUNIS brand, logo and channels

Special Interest Groups/Task Forces are part of EUNIS and they represent the Organisation in the activities they do and the events they run. Special Interest Groups/Task Forces are compelled to adhere to the “communication and identity rules” of EUNIS, which require using the Organisation’s logo and template in any documentation; using the official website, mailing systems and social networks for providing access to Special Interest Groups/Task Forces related information. These rules are on the EUNIS website.

b) Approved and coordinated communication

Each Special Interest Group/Task Force Leader should produce new contents for at least one EUNIS Newsletter every three months, in order for EUNIS to properly promote the TF activities. No major activity and/or communication will be undertaken, unless the Board (or a designated Board member) has been informed and approved (an exchange of emails will suffice).

Guideline 6: Special Interest Group/Task Force Activities

a) Special Interest Groups/Task Forces demonstrate that EUNIS is active

Special Interest Groups/Task Forces should be active and demonstrate EUNIS runs more events than just the annual Congress. Special Interest Groups/Task Forces will organise both physical and virtual events for members to meet, network, exchange information and work on the actions that are in the Special Interest Group/Task Force activity plan. It is recommended to organise one (international) physical event per year.

b) Activities by Special Interest Groups/Task Forces

  • Produce reports, studies, articles and publications, written by Special Interest Groups/Task Force members
  • Share interesting and relevant documentation using EUNIS’s website and social networks
  • Screen international tenders/calls and consider involvement of Special Interest Groups/Task Force members where appropriate
  • Collaborate with and support other Special Interest Groups/Task Forces
  • Foster collaboration between EUNIS members and/or other bodies or organizations
  • Formal outputs:
    • annual update on activities and achievements (for review)
    • Activity Plan for the coming year

If you are interested in putting forward a proposal of the EUNIS SIG, please contact: info@eunis.org