Fostering equity and leadership: The rOpenSci Champions Program selection process

This post is adapted and abridged from the original, which appeared on the rOpenSci blog and was authored by Francisco Cardozo, Yanina Bellini Saibene, Camille Santistevan, and Lou Woodley

As part of our work with longtime client and partner rOpenSci, we’ve been supporting community manager Yanina Belini Saibene with developing their champions program. 

The goal of the rOpenSci Champions Program is to enable more members of historically excluded groups to participate in, benefit from, and become leaders in the R, research software engineering, and open source and open science communities. This program includes 1-on-1 mentoring for the Champions as they complete a project and perform outreach activities in their local communities.

This blog post focuses on how participants are selected from a pool of applicants for the rOpenSci Champions Program – a multi-step process intentionally designed to ensure a diverse cohort of Champions and Mentors. 

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An update about how we’re using Zoom at CSCCE

This post was authored by CSCCE’s Director of Community, Alycia Crall.

The CSCCE relies on a number of communication platforms to support programming in our community of practice. One of the primary platforms we have adopted is Zoom, and we currently have two Zoom accounts. One that is used for external programming, training, and events. The second is used internally for staff meetings and other communications.

Background on changes to Zoom

In August 2023, Zoom updated their terms of service that suggested they could use meeting audio, video, chat, screen sharing, and other content to train their Artificial Intelligence (AI) model. At CSCCE, we value making our programming accessible in a range of ways AND we want our learners and community members to feel comfortable speaking freely without any concerns for their privacy. Due to privacy concerns, closed captioning was activated on a case by case basis as we examined how our team and community of practice might be impacted by these changes. 

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How does CSCCE online training impact community managers and their organizations? Read our report to find out!

Thanks to funding from the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, we recently completed a medium-term evaluation of our foundational training course, Scientific Community Engagement Fundamentals (CEF). We’ve just published a report that summarizes the results of this work, which shows impact across three levels of scale – the individual, their community/organization, and the wider STEM ecosystem.  

In this blog post, we’ll recap some of the rationale for the report and a high level overview of our findings. Subsequent posts will share more about our user-centered design approach to creating professional training courses, what we learned about the impact of CEF at each level, and how this work will impact our ongoing training offerings. 

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April Community Call Recap – The impact of short-form professional development training in STEM

At this month’s community call, we were talking about the impact of short-form professional development trainings – focusing not only on how individuals use what they learned during a training in their day to day work, but also considering how such trainings may result in changes at the level of the STEM ecosystem by affecting common practices and connecting learners across projects and organizations.

The call included an overview of the Bicycle Principles, a framework for designing and evaluation inclusive and engaging trainings, as well as presentations about two different methods for gathering and analyzing impact. 

In this blog post, you’ll find recordings of the three presentations from the call, as well as a brief summary of what each talk focused on. Do join us for our call next month, Wednesday 29 May at 12pm EDT / 4pm UTC, when we’ll be taking a closer look at the application and utility of community playbooks (a.k.a. Collaboration guides, lab handbooks, and more). Add to calendar

Three bicycles stand on a set of concrete steps, with long grass on either side. The bicycle in front is pale blue with white wheels, the one behind is white with black wheels, and the one in back is black with yellow wheels.
What do bicycles have to do with short-form training? Read on to find out! Photo by Solé Bicycles on Unsplash
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June’s community call – Register for our curated networking forum!

For our June community call (and annual mid-year social), we’ll be bringing back our curated networking forum for its fourth annual offering! This is a unique opportunity to connect with others who are nurturing community, collaboration, and connection in a range of organizational settings in STEM.

Our curated networking format involves setting you up with others in the community for one-on-one and small group conversations. Please register for the event, and let us know who you’d be particularly interested in meeting, using this brief registration form. The deadline for registration: 12 June 2024. 

This call is for: 

  • Anyone working to build or nurture communities in STEM (whether or not your job title is “community manager!”)
  • Anyone looking for feedback on their community management work
  • Anyone looking for an opportunity to serve as an informal mentor
  • Those who love to network, AND those who find it a little awkward – we take (most of) the awkwardness away by setting you up with people to talk to!

Date: Wednesday, 26 June 2024

Time: 11am EDT / 3pm UTC 

Registration form: Let us know you’re coming, and who you would like to meet!

Zoom link to join

Add to calendar (or contact us at to be automatically added to CSCCE calendar updates)

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May’s Community Call: Creating Community Playbooks – a.k.a. Collaboration Guides, Team Handbooks, and more!

Come to this month’s CSCCE community call to find out more about creating a playbook for your community, team, collaboration, or champions program! Playbooks (which are often given various different names) are written hubs that keep your community members, community champions, or community team on the same page by making visible the who, what, why, when, where, and how of your shared work together.

On this month’s call, we’ll give a brief overview of what a community playbook is, why you should have one, and what playbooks look like in a range of STEM contexts. Our invited speakers all recently took our training course, Creating Community Playbooks (PBK), and will be sharing the playbook they created as well as how it’s making a difference in their communities. 

This call may be of particular interest to you if: 

  • You’re not sure what a playbook is, or if making one is really necessary in your specific situation
  • You’re considering joining the next cohort of PBK (which starts in July!)
  • You’d like to see some examples of playbooks in action in a range of contexts – including online collaborations, open-source software projects, and national laboratories/core facilities
  • You’re a member of the CSCCE community of practice (CoP) and would like to meet other members
  • You aren’t yet a member of the CSCCE CoP, but are considering joining
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Welcome to Talisha Sutton – CSCCE’s new Assistant Director of Operations

Another new hire joins our team this month – welcome, Talisha Sutton! Talisha is joining us as Assistant Director of Operations, initially in a part-time position, and brings depth to our team in developing internal processes and nonprofit administration.

In this blog post, we’ll share a little more about Talisha’s experience and background, as well as what her role here will entail. In a future post, we’ll talk more about how CSCCE’s staff team has evolved over the last few months, and unveil our new org chart. 

About Talisha

Talisha joins us from The Carpentries, where she served as Deputy Director of Business and coordinated a range of internal operations activities for the past 5+ years. Prior to joining The Carpentries, Talisha worked in various technical positions in the biomedical research sector, managing research laboratories and providing administrative and financial support. Her background is in biochemistry, and she holds a Masters degree in Pharmacology and Toxicology from Michigan State University. So, like many of us at CSCCE, Talisha brings a combination of a science background, an appreciation for collaboration and teamwork, and additional complimentary skills to the team!

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Welcome to Alycia Crall – CSCCE’s new Director of Community

This week, we welcomed Alycia Crall to the CSCCE staff team as our new Director of Community. We’re thrilled that Alycia, a long time member of our community of practice and frequent collaborator, has decided to join us and bring her wealth of experience as a community manager in STEM to CSCCE! In this blog post, we introduce you to Alycia, and explain a little more about her newly-created role. 

About Alycia

Alycia comes to us from an interim position at the Academic Data Science Alliance (ADSA), where she served as Director of Community. Prior to joining ADSA, she was Director of Community at The Carpentries, and was instrumental in developing a new strategic plan for the organization that centered around community engagement. 

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Need a new way to talk about community management? The second CSCCE concept booklet describes “the garden metaphor”

Back in November, we shared our first “concept booklet” – a collection of essays and reflection questions that used the metaphor of a house party to discuss challenges and opportunities in STEM community management. This month, we’ve been sharing another metaphor – the garden! 

Each metaphor lends itself to exploring different concepts – the house party was great for thinking about scaffolding, and the garden is particularly “fruitful” when considering who your members are and how they interact with each other. And, as we discussed on our March community call, these two metaphors may resonate differently with you and how you think about your work. 

We’ve compiled all of our horticultural posts into our second “CSCCE concept booklet” which you can download for free, refer to as needed, and easily cite! 

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More than 300 learners have graduated from Scientific Community Engagement Fundamentals!

This month we celebrated a very exciting milestone – more than 300 STEM community managers (305, to be exact!) have now successfully completed our foundational training in community management, Scientific Community Engagement Fundamentals (CEF).

Congratulations to all of our graduates – many of whom are featured on this page of our website – and if you’re interested in taking part in the course yourself, registration is open for our fall 2024 cohort (registration deadline: 23 August). But hurry! It’s more than half full already. 

“The course provides essential information to support community work whether you are just beginning or seeking to expand your community engagement activities.  It provides resources to help you develop a strategy and tools to support implementation of your ideas.  This course demystifies many aspects of community engagement and helps to ensure your community is built to last.”

CEF24W participant
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