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Sakai Foundation Board of Directors Meeting

March 15, 2011

Present:  Josh Baron, Nate Angell, Stephen Marquard, Ian Boston, John Norman, Ian Dolphin (ex-officio), Mary Miles (staff)

Absent:   Maggie Lynch, Chuck Severance, John Norman

Guests:  Tamy Arthur and Jim Farmer (for financial portion of meeting)


  • There were no new items to add to the agenda.
  • February minutes were reviewed and minor changes made.  With those changes the minutes will be posted.
  • Conflict of Interest Statements:  Board by-laws require that these statements be signed each year and compliance with that is noted on the annual tax file.  Although there is an outstanding policy on the review process, it was suggested that current practices continue and that information factored into the by-laws of the Foundation.  This issue will be brought up again at the next Board meeting.  Jim Farmer could deal with COI issues that the Board could not resolve.
  • Financial Check-in: 
    • The reports that were provided to the Board in advance of the call were reviewed.  They are consistent with what has been resented in prior months.
    • In terms of repayment of the loan to out-years, it has been determined that simply maintaining cash flow during 2011 would ultimately create the best plan.  Any new 3-year memberships will be kept separated so there is no additional use of those funds.
    • Collections have been quicker than projected.  Originally projected at 90 days, they are actually collecting in the 30-60 day range.  Jim Farmer commented that everybody is aware of the financial processes and the need.  The conference and recruitment of new members are two areas that have been discussed and will prove to be most helpful as we move along.
    • New to the financial package is a Budget versus Actual report showing year-to-date numbers.
    • Next month’s financials will include a consolidated view of commitments to the first year of the OAE project that have been received.
    • A joint call between the OAE Steering Committee and the Sakai Foundation Board will take place in May in preparation for the June conference.  That call will be informed by the consolidated finances.


  • Jasig-Sakai Initiative – The group has been seeking some pro bono legal advice but that may not be available and will almost certainly incur some costs.  Ian Dolphin has a line out to the legal firm in Michigan and Jasig is doing the same.  There should be progress to report in approximately 1 ½ weeks.  If there are any particular focal points that the Board would like to see addressed, they should be sent to Ian and/or Josh.  Work continues toward a session at the both the Jasig and Sakai conferences.  The next joint working group meeting will be March 25, after which time the value proposition will be posted to the list.


  • 2011 Conference:  There will be a substantial increase in registration fees this year, bringing Sakai fees more in line with Kuali and Jasig charges.  Negotiations are ongoing with Opencast to sponsor the pre-conference day.  Achieving a break-even budget will be a struggle, but there is significant work being done to address that issue.

The European Conference will most likely be held in Amsterdam, providing space is available.  If not, Barcelona or Oxford are likely contenders as well.  European conference fees should be lower than the 2011 Conference fees, but that will depend n whether or not reasonable space can be obtained.

Stephen suggested that fees be set a year in advance so that attendees could plan for costs.  Ian Dolphin responded that next year there should be more process around costs.  This is a year of normalizing the situation.  Little else can be done this year given the fact that the Foundation was mandated a break-even conference.

  • Product Council “Replacement” Strategy:  Ian Dolphin is working on a post on list on improving resource brokerage.  That document was circulated prior to this meeting.  He asked for comments after people have a chance to review. 

Nate asked how the Foundation would define people who hold resources.  While this differs from one institution to another, the Foundation needs to determine who holds resources they can contribute to a project.  While being selective, there need to be some criteria for the types of resources that are available and useful.  This could create another governance structure and the Board should be thoughtful about how that structure would take form.  People have not found a mechanism for working with other institutions who are thinking about working on a given project.  There is no mechanism to identify how other can get involved.

This brokerage document is a recovery step to stimulate the conversation among those who can eventually drive that vision – to grow it upward rather than the other way around.  Nothing has replaced the gap in stewardship that the Product Council was hoping to build and didn’t.  Ian Dolphin is expecting the conference to be a focal point to determine how and at what level to engage people going forward.

Stephen suggested that the community be surveyed to gauge the perceptions at to people’s unmet needs.  The survey done before the last board retreat was useful, but that was quite some time ago.  The Board needs to have some sense of what the bigger community is looking for in the next two years.  Josh agreed that it would be useful to survey again and use that survey as an engagement tool.  Kim Thanos would have more knowledge and history of that document.  Ian agreed to contact Kim to get more information on the previous survey.

  • QA Effort:  The Board reviewed the email Ian Dolphin sent out on March 14 regarding the QA Position.  Nate liked the idea of separating out the roles, but noted that if we have a coordinated team of Sakai 2, Sakai 3, and Hybrid, that might be little tricky.  He asked if it would make sense to build only one set of resources or two teams and then have them collaborate on Hybrid.  Ian Dolphin responded that there are some areas where work could be done across the project, but he was looking for a core group of people who could do the work in far more detail and propose more detailed solutions.  He emphasized that he is focused on making small practical steps that bring the entire community together.  That leaves a lot of spaces and a lot of unanswered questions.  If the Board has thoughts about this, post them on the list.

With no further business before the business, the call ended at 12:35 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,

Mary Miles

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