Introducing SIGs and the SIG Toolkit

It’s CAUSE week! With just 42 hours until the Vendor Room opens and the conference gets rolling, we’d like to share some information about SIGs, the SIGs that will be represented in Winston-Salem, and how to start a new SIG.

What’s a SIG?

SIG is short for Special Interest Group. These groups are comprised of individuals from UNC CAUSE member institutions that share a common interest around a topic or technology that is prevalent across institutions. Organizing around that interest, SIGs offer us an opportunity to:

  • foster cross institutional relationships
  • provide communication avenues for common topics or technology
  • provide continuity and opportunities for collaboration during the year
  • provide more timely opportunities for working groups
  • provide opportunities for knowledge sharing

Each SIG is what its members make of it—whether that’s a robust problem-solving group that holds marathon code-writing sessions, or just a resource for asking and answering questions when you need a few tips.

You can learn more about SIGs at

More Than a Conference

Our theme this year is “More than a conference,” because the conversation doesn’t have to stop when you leave the Benton Convention Center on Friday. The UNC CAUSE organization is excited to offer SIGs support and funding for stand-alone events dedicated to your SIG’s area of interest, plus:

  • a website in the UNC CAUSE WordPress multi-site environment
  • use of common Google tools (email, groups, calendars, etc.) through the UNC CAUSE Google Apps instance
  • access to the UNC CAUSE MailChimp account for broadcast emails
  • use of event planning tools through the UNC CAUSE account
  • use of UNC CAUSE-owned resources (projectors, easels, lanyards, etc.)
  • access to conference planning services from the Conference and Camp Services group at Appalachian State University

SIGs at UNC CAUSE 2016

This year, we have nine SIGs holding kickoff sessions in Winston-Salem, organizing around the following topics:

As in BOF sessions in previous years, your SIG session is an opportunity to have a free-form conversation about your subject area. But this year, each SIG session has one or more facilitators who have agreed to lead a conversation about formally organizing your group into a recognized SIG.

Starting a New SIG

If you’ve got an area of interest that you know others in the UNC system share, you can start your own SIG! We’ve assembled some resources to help you get started:

Conference co-chair Jen McFarland and conference program chair/official “SIG Ambassador” Jason Maners will be leading a 20-minute lightning session Friday morning to introduce these resources, answer questions, and help you get started building your SIG.

We look forward to seeing you in Winston-Salem! Happy conference week!

Special Interest Groups

The theme for this year’s conference is “More than a Conference” and that “more” is all about our SIGs. Special Interest Groups are a great way to formalize the networking we do at CAUSE every year so we can keep the channels of communication open and the ideas flowing. With that in mind, UNC CAUSE governance is hoping to more concretely define these SIGs; our goal for this year’s event is to establish some official SIGs, find some leaders, develop plans for on-going communications, and hopefully see some regional or mid-year SIG-focused events.

To help us in this process we’re collecting feedback from our participants and other interested UNC CAUSE alum about the types of groups they would like to see developed into SIGs. There are some obvious ones, but we’re also hoping to collect some not-so-obvious ones. So please consider completing the survey below to let us know your ideas.

Thanks for you time!

SIG Survey

Here comes 2016!

Screen Shot 2016-06-16 at 11.05.27 AMWelcome! We’re very pleased to once again be preparing for the annual UNC CAUSE conference. This year we’ll be back in Winston-Salem, NC at the lovely Benton Convention Center which is currently undergoing a massive renovation. The dates for this year are Wednesday through Friday; October 5-7th, 2016.

As some of you may know the last year has also been a significant one for the UNC CAUSE organization. We now have a governance structure and are working on developing SIGs (Special Interest Groups) that will communicate more over the course of the year and perhaps also host their own smaller regional conferences as needed. We’re very excited to see CAUSE develop more and in an effort to promote these changes this year’s conference theme is “More than a conference.” We’re hoping to use this event to establish some common and popular SIGs and find new ones that might be beneficial throughout the year. If you have any thoughts on specific SIGs or ways that we might try to promote or launch these groups, we’d love to hear them — please contact us!

Thanks for checking in and we hope you’ll come back soon to see all the exciting activities we have planned for this year!