What does a scientific community manager do? Check out the CSCCE Skills Wheel and accompanying guidebook!

Our newest resource, the CSCCE Skills Wheel and guidebook, is out this week. Created by the C3 project team of the 2017 CEFP cohort, the wheel defines 45 skills used in varying degrees by scientific community managers, laying out a common language and framework for hiring, professional development, and personal fulfillment.

About the C3 project

As part of CSCCE’s Community Engagement Fellowship Program (CEFP), fellows self-organize into small groups to take on a research or resource-development project. The Catalyzing Cultural Change (C3) team, Jennifer Davison, Andreas Leidolf, Malin Sandström, Elisha Wood-Charlson, and Lou Woodley, wanted to define the skills and core competencies for scientific community engagement managers, while also understanding how these roles are positioned within different types of scientific communities or organizations.

To do this, they compared the skills listed in a range of scientific community manager job descriptions, surveyed scientific community managers within the 2017 CEFP cohort, and, along with additional literature research, created the CSCCE skills wheel.

The CSCCE skills wheel

The C3 team found that scientific community manager skills cluster into five core competencies, each with nine component skills. We have used the wheel in several CSCCE trainings and workshops, validating the findings of the C3 team with scientific community managers in a range of scientific community settings from research collaborations to scientific associations. 

The skills wheel, along with the new guidebook created by the team, is intended to be useful in a variety of situations, including hiring new team members and identifying professional development needs/opportunities for existing community managers.

 I have shared the CSCCE skills wheel with other “community facing” scientists in my organization, and the majority of the feedback has been, “wow, I feel heard!” I think this wheel really speaks to the many of us in roles where subject matter and technical expertise are not sufficient to accomplish our organizational (and community) goals.

Elisha Wood-Charlson, Engagement Lead, KBase and NMDC

 In co-creating the CSCCE skills wheel I was struck by the power of the tool to foster awareness and appreciation for those in scientific community manager roles–whether or not they identify as such. I believe that as we use and share this skills wheel with others in our field, we are empowered to make visible and advocate for our contributions and our needs as priorities for a successful science ecosystem.

Jennifer Davison, Program Director Urban@uW and Assistant Dean of Research, University of Washington

What’s in the guidebook?

The new skills wheel guidebook is a brief, practical introduction to some of the skills used in scientific community manager roles. It is not intended to include detailed methodology about how we created the wheel – that is still a work in progress. This guide focuses on answering a series of “FAQs” that we’ve encountered since creating the wheel that shed light on how to use the wheel. 

We also include a full glossary of definitions of each skill, along with examples of how each skill might play out for a community manager working within two different contexts: a professional association or research collaboration. 

Current uses for the wheel – and future iterations 

To date, we’ve used the wheel in a range of trainings, including our Scientific Community Engagement Fundamentals course.

The wheel is also being used in partnership with collaborators at Rochester Institute of Technology with whom we’re investigating how the skills deployed by scientific community managers of a community to broaden participation in STEM change over time.

Given that the analysis for the creation of the wheel was carried out several years ago and we’re seeing an increasing range of roles with a community-building component to them, we’re keen to explore future iterations and variations of this wheel with the goal of creating a taxonomy of community management roles in science. If you would like to contribute to this work or collaborate with us in some way later in 2021, please get in touch by emailing info@cscce.org.

If you’re interested in deploying the wheel within your team or organization, we offer 60-minute consultancy sessions for individuals, or 90-minute workshops and webinars for teams. Find out more by emailing: info@cscce.org.

Additional resources

CSCCE currently hosts eight resource pages, consolidating and sharing resources about scientific community management. Particularly relevant to this topic is our “Hiring/Becoming a community manager” page.

For more information about the C3 project team, as well as other project teams from the 2017 CEFP cohort, visit this page.

And for more information on our Scientific Community Engagement Fundamentals 6-week training course, visit this page.