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InCommon Technical Advisory Committee Charter

Revised June 4, 2018

1. Description & Constitution

The InCommon Technical Advisory Committee (TAC )is an advisory body to the InCommon Steering Committee. Its role in the national and global context is to participate in discussions on strategies and practices for global research and education federations (see Duties below), report any findings, and make recommendations to both InCommon Steering and InCommon staff.

The TAC supports InCommon’s mission “to create and support a common framework for trustworthy shared management of access to online resources.”  InCommon, operated by Internet2, provides a secure and privacy-preserving trust fabric for research and higher education and their partners in the United States, articulated by agreements and federating software. The InCommon Federation also collaborates globally with other national and higher education federations and is a participant in eduGAIN. .

1.1 Membership

Potential TAC members should have the necessary technical expertise and experience in the education and research community, with a track record of participation in that community.

The TAC will consist of at least seven and no more than thirteen appointed members. The membership should include representatives from the various constituencies that make up the InCommon community. The InCommon Steering Committee ratifies the seating of TAC-elected members to three-year terms. In addition, TAC meetings and communications may include non-voting Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) as deemed necessary, to advise on and support TAC activities.  SMEs are invited to participate by the TAC and are reviewed annually.

1.2 Selection of Chair and Vice Chair

The The Chair and Vice Chair of the TAC shall be selected by the TAC and ratified by the InCommon Steering Committee. The Chair and Vice Chair will serve one-year terms to begin on January 1 and end on December 31. The TAC chair participates in InCommon Steering meetings as the TAC representative.

2. Duties

The duties of the TAC are to:

  1. Stay informed on relevant activities by engaging with members of the participant community (e.g., campuses, organizations, researchers, and Sponsored Partners), other Internet2 Trust and Identity advisory groups (e.g., CTAB, CACTI), research and education (R&E) federations globally, and subject matter experts across R&E and other sectors.
  2. Engage with the community to identify significant issues that affect the medium-to-long-term viability of the InCommon Federation. These issues may include a lack of  understanding around the federation value proposition, consideration of competing and emerging technologies, access challenges for researchers and collaborators, etc.
  3. Charter, facilitate, and participate in community-focused working groups made up of InCommon and other global R&E federation participants to address the issues identified above. These working groups are expected to publish recommendations and requirements based on their findings, after review by InCommon Steering and/or InCommon staff.

3. Criteria for Success

The TAC is effective when each of the following statements are true:

  1. InCommon Steering, management, operations, and participants derive great value from the TAC’s activities.
  2. Interested members of the InCommon community are able to review and provide input to TAC’s activities.
  3. The TAC includes representatives from across the diverse community of InCommon participants and, as appropriate, other global federations.
  4. Interested members of the InCommon community are provided opportunities to participate in TAC working groups.
  5. TAC Working Groups fulfill the deliverables of their charters.

4. Voting Requirement

The TAC uses a process of “rough consensus” when developing recommendations. This process is copied from the IETF, and is described in RFC 7282.

The following voting rules shall apply to decisions of the TAC:

  1. A quorum comprises at least a simple majority of the appointed members whether participating in person or electronically.
  2. Recommendations to Steering should be reached using a group decision process that seeks the consent, not necessarily the agreement, of all appointed members and the resolution of legitimate objections.

5. Resource Requirements

The TAC requires the following support from InCommon:

  1. Access to InCommon staff, Steering Committee, and other groups as appropriate, for discussion of operations and strategy-related topics and to facilitate communication with the community.
  2. Consultation and advisory support, as needed and reasonable, from InCommon staff.
  3. Remote meeting platform.
  4. Logistics and administrative support, including documenting meeting discussions and decisions, and support for an annual face-to-face meeting(s).

6. Group Meetings and Communications

Internal communication is conducted through email utilizing mailing lists, a “TAC discuss” Slack channel, and through the scheduled TAC meetings. When formal votes are called for, voting may be conducted through webforms, email, or verbally. Face-to-face meetings are usually scheduled to coincide with major Internet2 conferences.

Either regular calls or face-to-face meetings may be canceled by the TAC Chair in consultation with InCommon staff.

External communication, including the posting of TAC meeting minutes, should occur on a regular basis, normally within two weeks of a meeting.

7. Membership Expectations

TAC members shall:

  1. Actively engage in TAC meetings, webinars, and e-mail discussions.
  2. Disclose any conflict of interest and recuse oneself from the affected vote.
  3. Indicate approval of minutes before publication.
  4. Cover their own costs incurred as a result of participation, including the cost of attending at least one face-to-face TAC meeting per year.

Adopted June 4, 2018 by InCommon Steering Committee

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