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February’s Community Call: The informational roles of community-engaged content

Content creation is a core skill for any community manager in STEM. Creating content might look very different depending on your context – from writing monthly newsletters or resources and reports, to creating podcasts, videos, and slide decks. And it’s a skill that many of us pick up on the job, without formal training or a sense of strategy behind what we make. 

In this month’s call, we’ll share a new framework for thinking about how to share information with your community members, and how the content you create can meet specific goals in your engagement strategy. The “informational roles of community-engaged content” is a CSCCE framework that we explore more deeply as part of our Content Design (CODE) course, the spring 2024 cohort of which (CODE24Sp) is now open for registration. So, this month’s community call is both a primer for anyone creating community-engaged content, and a sneak peek into what you can expect from a CSCCE professional development training course. 

Date: Wednesday, 28 February 2024

Time: 11am EST / 4pm UTC

Zoom link to join

Add to calendar (or contact us at info@cscce.org to be automatically added to CSCCE calendar updates)

Join this month’s call to explore content-creation through the lens of community engagement. Image: CSCCE
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January Community Call Recap – Burnout, exhaustion, and fractals of care

For January’s community call, we hosted a “salon” – a loosely scaffolded group discussion for sharing experiences and generating new ideas – so that our members could come together and talk about care. 

We’d been noticing (and we were not alone) an increasing sense of tiredness and overwhelm among STEM community managers, accompanied by an uptick in conversations about boundary-setting and self care. If this was happening in our own community of practice, we wondered, what was going on in the communities our members were trying to manage? 

An illustration showing a person with their head on their desk, apparently asleep, clutching a coffee cup.
Adapted from an image by Storyset on Freepik
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Evaluation project underway to assess the impact of CSCCE’s foundational training, Scientific Community Engagement Fundamentals

At CSCCE, one of the ways we support scientific community managers is through professional development training courses and workshops. Our 8-week online course Scientific Community Engagement Fundamentals (CEF) is our longest-running training option, and has reached more than 250 community managers over the past three years across a total of 15 cohorts (with another currently in session). 

Two of these CEF cohorts were private offerings for the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative (CZI), and late last year they asked if we could assess the mid- to long-term impact of CEF training on the individuals that took the course. CZI, like us, were particularly curious about the impacts of the course on the learners  – as well as the wider impacts on their organizations and communities, and beyond in the STEM ecosystem more generally. And so, in December 2023 we surveyed graduates from 12 general registration CEF cohorts, 2 CZI cohorts, and a cohort that ran in an Australia-friendly time zone

In this blog post, we share a little more about what we’re hoping to learn as we start analyzing the data, as well as how we’ll be sharing the outcomes of this study in a couple of months’ time. If you have any questions, or you’re interested in engaging us as consultants on your own evaluation program, please reach out to info@cscce.org

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January’s Community Call: The intersection of self care, community care, and community management

Pervasive in western culture at the moment is the concept of self care. Of setting boundaries at work and in personal relationships, of saying “no” more often, of striving for the perfect work-life balance. It’s important, in a world where we often feel compelled to be the best at everything – at work, as caregivers, even at our hobbies – to take care of ourselves. But how does self care intersect with community care? And if you increasingly see your community members stepping back from attending events or volunteering on committees, how do you continue to effectively manage a community? 

This is something the CSCCE staff team has been considering for a couple of months now. If it’s something that’s been on your mind, too, we hope you’ll join us for a “salon-style” conversation at our first community call of 2024. 

Date: Wednesday, 24 January 2024

Time: 11am EST / 4pm UTC

Zoom link to join

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December Community Call Recap – Reflecting, connecting, and looking ahead at our annual community potluck!

On Friday, 15 December 2023 we convened our last community call of 2023 – a community potluck for members of our community of practice to take a moment to look back on the highs and lows of 2023, and think a little about what’s coming up next year. 

This was our fourth annual community potluck, and this year’s gathering was as kind and generative as always. A big thank you to everyone who came and shared a dish (which took the form of a reflection or a learning)! In this blog post, you’ll find a taste of what we talked about – including some suggestions for your own end-of-year reflection. 

A screenshot of the gallery view in Zoom, where everyone is smiling and some people have added visual effects to their video so they have festive hats or accessories.
A screenshot of some of the potluckiest STEM community managers around! Image credit: CSCCE
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The Bicycle Principles – CSCCE collaborators, community members, and staff consider short form training best practices

In a new publication, which came out in November in PLOS ONE, CSCCE community of practice member Jason Williams (Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory), Rochelle Trachtenberg (Georgetown University), and co-authors describe the Bicycle Principles for short form trainings in STEMM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math, and Medicine), as well as a series of recommendations for their successful implementation. 

The work is an output from a conference that took place at CSHL’s Banbury Center and online in May of 2022. The conference convened 30 experts in short form training, including CSCCE’s Director Lou Woodley and several collaborators and members of our community of practice: Melissa Burke (Australian Biocommons), Allissa Dillman (NIH Office of Data Science Strategy), Maria Doyle (Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre), Christina Hall (Australian Biocommons), Kate Hertweck (Chan Zuckerberg Initiative), Kari Jordan (The Carpentries), Lisanna Paladin (EMBL Heidelberg), Tracy Teal (RStudio, now Posit).

In this blog post, we offer a short overview of the Bicycle Principle and associated recommendations, but for more detail, please download the paper and check out bikeprinciples.org.

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December’s Community Call: Join us for our annual community potluck!

Every year, we host an end-of-year virtual “potluck” for our community of practice. It’s an opportunity to reflect on the year’s successes, share some of the things we’ve learned over the past 12 months, and look ahead to what’s coming up after the holiday season. Since it’s a potluck, everyone is encouraged to “bring along a dish,” and in this blog post we have a few suggestions! 

This year, we’d also particularly appreciate your feedback on the types of programming you’d like to see more of in the community of practice. We’ll take some time during the potluck for a brainstorm together, and hopefully prioritize activities that would best support you next year. 

If you’re curious about previous potlucks, check out these blog posts from 2022 and 2021. And don’t forget – festive hats, sweaters, and/or mugs are encouraged!

Date: Friday, 15 December 2023

Time: 11am EST / 4pm UTC

Zoom link to join

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New CSCCE concept booklet explores the house party metaphor for community engagement

Over the last few weeks, we’ve been sharing blog posts that use the metaphor of a house party to discuss various aspects of community management. And last week, at our monthly community call, we scaffolded a discussion of the metaphor, which thanks to the enthusiastic participation of our members led us all to think about community management in new and creative directions. 

Now, we’ve compiled these ideas and reflections into a “CSCCE concept booklet” which you can download for free, refer to as needed, and easily cite! 

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Community participation guidelines – through the lens of the house party metaphor

Over the coming months we’ll be exploring a number of metaphors about community management that can support conversations about specific concepts and common challenges in a creative and free-flowing manner.

You can read more about the series – and the accompanying community calls in our overview post. For each metaphor, there will be a blog post describing the metaphor and several additional posts applying it to specific scenarios. This post is the last in a series of four posts dissecting the house party metaphor.

We hope you’ll join us on Wednesday, 22 November at 11am EST / 4pm UTC when we’ll be discussing the house party metaphor on our monthly community call! 

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Exploring your community configuration using the house party metaphor

Over the coming months we’ll be exploring a number of metaphors about community management that can support conversations about specific concepts and common challenges in a creative and free-flowing manner.

You can read more about the series – and the accompanying community calls in our overview post. For each metaphor, there will be a blog post describing the metaphor and several additional posts applying it to specific scenarios. This post is the third in a series of four posts dissecting the house party metaphor.

We hope you’ll join us on Wednesday, 22 November at 11am EST / 4pm UTC when we’ll be discussing the house party metaphor on our monthly community call! 

Continue reading “Exploring your community configuration using the house party metaphor”