[Stc_presidents-discuss] New CAA Guidelines

MK Grueneberg marykay.stc at gmail.com
Wed Jul 22 19:33:47 UTC 2015

Hello, everyone. On behalf of the Community Achievement Awards Evaluation
Committee (CAAEC) and the CAA Revamp Task force, I would like to address a
few of the concerns in this thread. Please bear with this lengthy email,
but I hope to address as many of the concerns and questions as I can.

First of all, I have to say that I am very disheartened to hear that some
of you do not want to consider applying if you cannot achieve the highest
award. As a past chapter leader, I am very proud of the years my chapter
received "Distinction" but am equally proud of the years we achieved other
levels. One of the reasons we changed the names of the award levels was to
stress the importance of all levels (many of us on the CAAEC felt that
"Merit" seemed too diminutive when, in fact, it is a great accomplishment
to be able to receive an award at any level).

I address the following items to all of you on this list, but will try to
address individual concerns as best I can.


--Yes it is true that we have raised the bar. However, we are not trying to
keep communities from achieving the highest level. At the same time, we
want to make sure that it definitely something to strive for.

--One of the biggest complaints of past CAA application years by far was
how complicated the application was and how difficult it was to fill out.
Our "do it or don't" approach is an attempt to make the application easier
to complete. Substitutions were difficult to handle for the person
completing the form as well as the judges evaluating the form. Also, the
use of substitutions were never directed toward the same or similar
activity, thereby negating the purpose of the original item that was

--You said your chapter had been working on the previous guidelines,
waiting for the new ones. That is exactly what we would have expected. You
commented on there being so many new requirements, but there aren't that
many new items, actually (I will add detail later in this message). The
majority of items are old items, some written in a new way, others split
into two easier-to-digest items. You also mentioned so many deletions -
that was intentional. The intent was to narrow the application down to what
the Board felt were the most important items for a community to deliver in
order to offer the best STC experience possible for their members. Having
said that, there was also a LOT of duplication of items in the old CAA form

--Regional conference - a number of you have expressed concerns about this
and I agree. I have SUGGESTED to the Board that we move this item to the
Bonus section and reduce the number of points earned. I cannot tell you
what the outcome of that request will be, but we have heard the concerns
and will address it.

--Website hosting- the goal of this was to help communities save money and
to be able to better control the renewal of domain names. Moving your
chapter hosting to STC hosting simply means using the STC account, NOT
redesigning your site, NOT giving up admin rights, and NOT changing domain
names. It is estimated that this move will save approximately $100-150/year
per chapter, on the average. Detailed instructions for the move will be
posted online soon.

Richard -

--Bad process --you mentioned that your chapter stopped applying in the
past because the process was bad - that is exactly why we have gone through
this revamp effort. We want the process to be more streamlined, easier to
understand, and easier to apply. We also reduced the number of required
items, giving communities more of a choice within the various categories.

--Bad attitude -you also mentioned the "bad attitude" of judges. I do not
know the specifics behind your experience, but I apologize that you feel
that way. In the years I have been involved, we have always tried to
maintain a professional and polite communication line with the entrants.

--You ask if we feel this is a fair way to assess a community's strengths?
In the opinion of the CAAEC and the Board, yes we do feel it is. We are
certainly aware that there are many other things that communities do that
are not included on this form and that is great. Some of those items can be
included in the "Innovations" section and others can simply be extra
benefits for your members.

--Your comment related to the new CAA no taking into account community size
or finances appears to be related to the regional conference item, which I
have addressed above.

--You say that Berkeley has already decided not to review the guidelines
and not to apply. That certainly is your choice, but I do hope that you
will reconsider.

Robert -

--When you say you looked at the new form and you have no chance of getting
an award, did you mean no chance of getting the award level that you want?

--Website hosting -hopefully the comment above answered your question about
this item.

Kim and Marsha -
--A plan for the year is simply that - a plan. We simply want to know that
you are actively trying to plan activities, meetings, webinars, and
whatever else for your members. If your program year is July-June, then
that is the plan that you submit (just like your budget, all items will not
follow a calendar year and that is totally fine). This is not a new item,
it was always part of the CAA, it has just been moved to the required
section. This can be submitted at the same time as your community budget.
It does not have to be anything formal or fancy - just an outline of things
you are planning to do. There is no need to update and resubmit as your
plan changes.

Finally, to address the issue of new items on the new CAA and whether there
is time to do them. The short answer is yes, there is time. The new
guidelines and item list was announced in early May and then sent out via
email to all community leaders that expressed interest. It was also
addressed in multiple sessions at Leadership Day at the Summit. I apologize
that it has not yet been posted to stc.org, but I have requested that that
happen as soon as possible. In the meantime I was going to attach it here
but I see that Adam has already done so. Even if you did not receive the
new CAA guidelines in May and your community took the summer off, that does
not mean you cannot complete the new items (with the single exception of a
regional conference, which I've addressed).

For example, there are three new items listed under Leadership: leadership
transition meeting, organizational plan, and fiscal responsibility. The
transition meeting can be held at any time (although it is preferable as
soon as the leadership changes). An organization plan is just that - a
plan. If you do not have time left in this year to complete the plan,
that's okay, we just want to know that you have thought about it and have a
plan. Fiscal responsibility - again, if your community only has the
recommended two years worth of reserves, you're set. If not, you simply
have to make a plan to reduce the reserves over the next four years.

The Member Engagement section also has three new items, but again, all of
them can easily be accomplished (should you choose to do so) in even a
four-month period.

I will stop here - I sincerely hope that I have addressed your concerns. I
will leave you on last last note and that is to point out that this is a
transition year. Once we start reviewing applications, if we find that some
items were in fact not achievable or some point levels should be
re-evaluated, we will take those items to the Board at that time.

I encourage all of you to give this new application a chance.


MK Grueneberg


MK Grueneberg

STC Chicago | 2015 STC Community of Distinction | 2011 Community of the Year
@stcchicago @MKGee

On Wed, Jul 22, 2015 at 12:56 PM, <marsha.jennerjohn at schneider-electric.com>

> Since the Eastern Iowa Chapter year runs June to May, we do not have plans
> for the second half of a year until July.
> New officers are elected in May, we have meetings in June and July (when
> there are no chapter meetings) and make plans for the chapter for the
> Sept-May period. So we do not have a "2015 plan" we have a  "2015/2016
> plan".
> And when your chapter has less than 25 members, doing a regional
> conference is out of the question.  We don't have the people or the cash
> reserves to do something like that.
> Marsha
> _____________________________________________________________________________________
> * Marsha Jennerjohn*  |  * Schneider Electric **  |  Partner Business*  |
>   *United States*  |   *Senior Technical Writer*
> * Phone:* +1-319-369-6322  |   *Mobile:* +1-319-431-7089
> * Email:* *marsha.jennerjohn at schneider-electric.com*
> <marsha.jennerjohn at schneider-electric.com>  |   *Site:**
> www.schneider-electric.com* <http://www.schneider-electric.com/>  |
> *Address:* 3700 Sixth St. SW, Cedar Rapids, IA 52404 USA
> *** Please consider the environment before printing this e-mail
> From:        Kim Rosenlof <Kim at aeroink.com>
> To:        "stc_presidents-discuss at mailer.stc.org" <
> stc_presidents-discuss at mailer.stc.org>,
> Date:        07/22/2015 12:29 PM
> Subject:        Re: [Stc_presidents-discuss] New CAA Guidelines
> Sent by:        stc_presidents-discuss-bounces at mailer.stc.org
> ------------------------------
> I agree with many of Debra’s statements.  I think it’s a little cheeky of
> the committee to release the new CAA guidelines as 2015 guidelines.
> Wouldn't it be a little more fair to keep the 2014 guidelines for 2015 and
> release these new guidelines as the 2016 guidelines?
> That being said, the one thing that caught me off guard is that one of the
> Required Activities is to “Submit your general plan of yearly activities
> for the upcoming year [required of all communities].” Has anyone else done
> this for 2015?  How was this submitted, and to whom?
> Kim
> Kim Rosenlof, President
> Society for Technical Communication Phoenix Chapter
> 480-710-8830 – *www.stc-phoenix.com* <http://www.stc-phoenix.com>
> *From: *<Johnson>, Debra <*Debra.Johnson at wyn.com* <Debra.Johnson at wyn.com>>
> * Date: *Tuesday, July 21, 2015 at 8:32 PM
> * To: *"*stc_presidents-discuss at mailer.stc.org*
> <stc_presidents-discuss at mailer.stc.org>" <
> *stc_presidents-discuss at mailer.stc.org*
> <stc_presidents-discuss at mailer.stc.org>>
> * Subject: *[Stc_presidents-discuss] New CAA Guidelines
> 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 yearuntil 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 nothave 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!
> *Debra*
> *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 <%28407%29%20626-4428>*
> *Cell 407-212-0963 <407-212-0963>*
> *debra.johnson at wyn.com* <debra.johnson at wyn.com>
> ------------------------------
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