Advisory to the Membership: Community Area Networks

For information about the 2017-18 Community Area Networks (CANs) and other Advisory groups, visit this page

Our goal is to take people from the WiscNet community passionate about Community Area Networks (CANs) and have them learn with others who have the same interest, ideas, and questions. Not only will these conversations help you discover tools and strategies around the topic of CANs, it will also enable others to use your knowledge, skills, and experience to learn as well. Ultimately, by pooling collective knowledge, you will gain strategies and help us to strengthen the value of being a WiscNet member. 

CAN ADVISORY White paper

With approximately 30 established CANs state-wide and more communities interested in the CAN concept, WiscNet's CAN Advisory to the Membership addresses some of the many questions, challenges, and opportunities CANs deliberate. Focused around three CAN concepts—Membership, Governance, and Sustainability—the advisory delved deep into the what, when, why, and how around these CAN concepts for both new and established CANs. The interactive white paper provides the CAN Advisory findings, connects you to resources, and provides insight through tools and strategies to help in your CAN development initiatives and ensure sustainability. 

Through their work and collaborative efforts, the CAN Advisory created a white paper with resources presented at WiscNet Connections on May 8, 2017. You can access the resources created by this group via the links below. NOTE: The advisory will continue to meet and resources will continue to expand with examples from Wisconsin CANS--these documents are a "work in progress."  

White paper



CAN Links and Resources

Additional communication around the topic of CANs is available to this advisory group via a mail list. Contact Jill Hietpas, for more information or if you wish to join this group.

Below are additional links to WiscNet's CAN resources.

What are advisories to the membership?

Most of what we do in communities and organizations focuses us on our individual needs. We attend a conference or meeting for our own purposes, for "what I can get out of this." WiscNet is trying something different by creating "advisories to the membership."

The idea started as, "Let's take people from the WiscNet community passionate about _____ and have them teach and learn with others that are interested in _____, thereby strengthening the value of being a part of the WiscNet membership. These folks will help inform and carry out the strategies in our strategic plan."

After presenting this a few times, people's minds naturally went to, "So, this will all culminate in a white paper or a toolkit of some sort?" Our reaction was, "Maybe? We'd be happy if we could give people a face-to-face forum to connect with others and have conversations about what they are passionate about."

Margaret Wheatley explains it more eloquently:

"Conversation is different. Although we each benefit individually from good conversation, we also discover that we were never as separate as we thought. Good conversation connects us at a deeper level. As we share our different human experiences, we rediscover a sense of unity. We remember we are part of a greater whole. And as an added joy, we also discover our collective wisdom. We suddenly see how wise we can be together. For conversation to take us into this deeper realm, I believe we have to practice several new behaviors. Here are the principles I've learned to emphasize before we begin a formal conversation process: we acknowledge one another as equals; we try to stay curious about each other; we recognize that we need each other's help to become better listeners; we slow down so we have time to think and reflect; we remember that conversation is the natural way humans think together;  we expect it to be messy at times."