Almost one year on from the start of the global COVID-19 pandemic, we wanted to check in with members of the CSCCE community and find out how they have adapted to working remotely. To that end, this month’s call featured presentations, polls, and breakout rooms to encourage resource sharing and conversation, acknowledging that there is no one way to work productively at home, nor is any one resource a panacea.
This blog post summarizes the call, including video archives of both presentations, and includes a resource list curated from our collaborative notes doc and the Zoom chat. Next month, we’re focusing on virtual and hybrid workshops and conferences, so if you are interested in presenting please let us know by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
In this month’s call we’re focusing on working remotely, a situation that most scientific community managers have found themselves in since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. We’ll hear from two working-from-home veterans about how they structure their day, what tools or strategies they use to stay connected with their communities, and how they manage the lack of separation between work and life (especially childcare and homeschooling).
We’ll also hold space for you to connect with members of the community in breakout rooms, to talk about relevant topics, and maybe even find virtual coworking colleagues.
For January’s community call we focused on resilience. The topic of this year’s Community Manager Advancement Day, resilience is particularly important for scientific community managers, who tend to be prone to burnout due to busy and somewhat ambiguous roles, which require rapid switching between a broad range of skills. In addition, scientific community managers often work alone, behind the scenes, and with limited institutional support.
Following two prior presentations on resilience for CSCCE fellows, CEFP 2017 alumna Jennifer Davison agreed to share her talk with the entire community. You can watch Jen’s presentation in full below, or read on for a brief recap. Also in this post, a collection of tips for building a personal resilience practice gathered from the participants in the call, and a host of resources from blog posts to books to podcasts.
…resilience is seen as the capacity to withstand change for some time but also, past a certain point, to transform while continuing or regaining the ability to provide essential functions, services, amenities, or qualities.
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.
This month’s community call is taking place in the same week as Community Manager Advancement Day (Monday, 25 January), the theme of which is “resilience.” So, this month we’ve invited CEFP 2017 alum Jennifer Davison to share her wisdom on the topic.
CSCCE Special Interest Groups (SIGs) are member-led groups focused on specific topics of scientific community management within CSCCE’s community of practice (request to join). You can find out more about CSCCE SIGs here. The CSCCE Diversity, Equity and Inclusion SIG is convened by Cassandra van Gould, Arielle Bennett-Lovell and Kate Baker, with significant support from an organising committee and the wider community. Community members can join the Slack channel #diversity_equity_inclusion_sig to get involved.
On the 24th of November the first session of the CSCCE’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Special Interest Group (DEI SIG) took place. In this guest blog post, Esther Plomp and Arielle Bennett-Lovell, who co-convened the session, recap the meeting. You can also watch the three presentations in full.
During the session, we considered the concept of decolonisation and how it can be put into practice by both researchers and scientific community managers. Decolonisation is both a reflection on the academy’s relationship to lands and people occupied by colonial powers, and the process of reconsidering how this relationship is manifested in a way that restores an equitable power balance. It is not a single action, or a programme, but a long term process requiring input and engagement from everyone.
To gain a better perspective about the issue, we invited three speakers to show their perspective on decolonising science, and to offer some solutions to ensuring that the scientific research ecosystem is equitable. Below follows a summary of the talks given by Dr. Kate Baker, Dr. Thomas Mboa and Dr. Felicia Fricke.
This Fall we launched the first in a new series of CSCCE online training modules. In this blog post, we explain the courses and when they’ll be offered again, who we hope will take them, and how they impact our other programming, including a potential CEFP2021 cohort. If you have any questions about anything in this post, please reach out to us: email@example.com.
What are CSCCE online modular trainings?
Our online modular trainings distill years of experience and expertise in building successful communities in STEM into courses that fit into your busy schedule. Each training runs for six weeks, and involves two live sessions a week (totaling 2.5 hours) along with around 90 minutes of homework to complete each week.
On this month’s community call we unveiled the first round of our community profiles, with Lou and independent contractor Sara Kobilka presenting the goals and methodology of our research. We also heard from three members of our community who took part in the study, and how their profiles helped them think about their communities, and their engagement strategies, in new ways.
In the Community Roundtable’s 2019 State of Community Management survey, 50% of community managers reported feeling a high degree of burnout in previous months. One area burnout can impact community managers is our creativity. In 2020, with COVID-19 changing the way we work, it can be daunting to find ways to overcome burnout and tap into our creativity. In this guest blog post, Stephanie E. Vasko, Managing Director for the Center for Interdisciplinarity at Michigan State University, offers three activities that have inspired creativity since she began working from home in March 2020.
This past year, Ellen Bechtol launched a brand new community as a brand new community manager. In this guest post she reflects on how that went.
This past year, I had the opportunity and privilege to launch a brand new community as a brand new community manager. And I think it went reasonably well! Here’s why:
Joining a Community of Practice
The Multimessenger Diversity Network (MDN) is a community of representatives from multimessenger astrophysics research collaborations focused on increasing diversity in the field. As a community of practice (CoP), the MDN is “a group of people who share a concern or a passion for something they do, and learn how to do it better as they interact regularly” (Wenger-Trayner & Wenger-Trayner). I find it fitting that to run a CoP I joined a CoP for community managers, the Community Engagement Fellows Program (CEFP) and subsequent CSCCE CoP. Within weeks of starting in my new role as a community manager, I applied to the CEFP with a strong sense that being part of it would be crucial to successfully launching the MDN. After all, I was stepping into a new role for a new community and was feeling rather lost as to where to begin. Although much of the content from the early CEFP trainings felt out of scope for the MDN, connecting with other community managers (CMs) and getting introduced to the foundations of community management from the perspective of mature communities was unbelievably helpful. Even more helpful were continued interactions, online and at subsequent trainings, with other Fellows. The collective resource of experiences from so many CMs in so many different types of organizations has been most valuable.
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