[Stc_presidents-discuss] New CAA Guidelines

Robert Perry Robert.Perry at sas.com
Wed Jul 22 13:20:47 UTC 2015

As the past President of the Carolina Chapter and the person who about together last year’s application, I totally agree with your assessment. As it stands, if we don’t have a conference and let STC host our website (which is unthinkable based on past experiences), we have no chance of getting an award. The Carolina Chapter has always been honored with Excellence or Distinguished, and last year won the Community of the Year. And yet, this year we won’t meet the requirements as they stand. The new systems seems overly rigid and unacceptable.  I do not agree with being forced to having STC host our website especially based on their poor technical performance over the years.


Robert Perry
Technical Writer, Customer Solutions Documentation
SAS Institute Inc. ▪ Cary, NC 27513

From: stc_presidents-discuss-bounces at mailer.stc.org [mailto:stc_presidents-discuss-bounces at mailer.stc.org] On Behalf Of Johnson, Debra
Sent: Tuesday, July 21, 2015 11:32 PM
To: stc_presidents-discuss at mailer.stc.org
Subject: [Stc_presidents-discuss] New CAA Guidelines
Importance: High

Hello Fellow STC Presidents,

As some of you know, the Community Achievement Awards Evaluating Committee just released its latest CAA application and guidelines. Unlike previous updates, this one is a total revamp.

Have any of you had a chance to review the new application and think about whether your community will be applying for an award this year?
What are your thoughts on the achievability of the new requirements? We would love to know…

Our chapter, Orlando Central Florida, bases our chapter activities and initiatives to a large extent on the requirements for the CAA, since according to STC, these are the activities in which communities should be engaging. To this point in the year, we have been working to the previous year’s guidelines as the revamp was not available.

Our Administrative Council discussed the revamped guidelines and believe that with so many new requirements, the deletion of many activities that have long been key CAA criteria, the inherent inflexibility of the system (“either you do it or you don’t” with no substitutions and only two Bonus options), and a completely new scoring system that has raised the bar significantly, communities will be hard pressed to achieve the goals set by the CAA committee within the time remaining in 2015.
We did an item-for-item analysis of the new criteria and projected how our community would stack up against them. We determined that if we did all the things we did last year to earn our community achievement award, we would not qualify for an award under the new system.
One reason for this is the requirements were apparently established for a 12-month period but the documents were not posted this year until nearly summertime, and summer is when many chapters go on hiatus. There isn’t a full year’s worth of time to pull off the number of new activities needed to win recognition. For all practical purposes, communities have four months to adjust.

An example of this is, several activities (both new and carry-overs from previous years’ guidelines) are now scored on a sliding scale heavily weighted towards how many times the activity occurs during the year. Particularly with new activities, which communities were not aware of and may not have been pursuing, with just a few months left in the year it’s not feasible to achieve full points for them.

In addition, and in a surprise move (…at least to us) , there is heavy emphasis on regional conferences, so much so that communities who do not sponsor one of these conferences are at a tremendous disadvantage. They lose 5 points—that’s 5 out of the baseline total of 83.  Since a Platinum Award requires 90% of the possible points, you can only lose 8.3 points and qualify for it. Thus for all intents and purposes, if you don’t sponsor a regional conference, you can’t earn a Platinum Award.

Do you think this was the committee’s intent?  If so, should they consider the fact that smaller communities may not have the person-power to work at regional conferences, nor the financial resources to organize and run them?  In the interest of fairness, we feel the five points for a regional conference should be moved to the Bonus category, and not be part of the baseline “required” criteria.

…and there are many such examples.

We were wondering what you think… So would you be so kind as to answer a few questions for us as a fellow community?

1.      If you have submitted CAA applications in the past, were you intending to do so for 2015?

2.      Has the new application changed your mind about applying?

3.      Please comment on the application: Do you believe it’s a fair way to assess the strength of a community’s activities? Specifically, how do you think your community will fare under the new guidelines?

4.      Would your community support an appeal to the CAAEC and the Board (if necessary) to revise the scoring in order to take into consideration the late release of the point assignments as well as to “level the playing field” to account for community size and financial resources?

Thanks for your input!

Society for Technical Communication – Orlando Central Florida Chapter President
Debra D. Johnson
Technical Communication Lead | Information Technology Services | Knowledge Management  | Content Strategy | Information Development,  Delivery, and Storage
Wyndham Vacation Ownership
6277 Sea Harbor Drive
Orlando, FL 32821
Office: (407) 626-4428
Cell 407-212-0963
debra.johnson at wyn.com<mailto:debra.johnson at wyn.com>

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