November’s Community Call: Creating fulfilling volunteer opportunities in open source software communities

Many STEM communities rely on volunteers, and yet it can be hard to sustain volunteer engagement. For our November call, we’ve invited three community managers from open source software organizations to participate in a panel discussion about how to create volunteer opportunities that are emotionally and intellectually fulfilling, and recognize and reward member contributions in these volunteer roles.

While our panelists this month all work with open source communities (which ties in with the new POSE training program we’re developing!), we encourage you to attend even if this isn’t your focus area. The discussion will be relevant to a range of STEM community settings. 

Join us via Zoom on 16 November 2022 at 11am EST/4pm UTC (note that the US daylight saving’s transition may change the time for this monthly call in your time zone.)

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This month’s call will feature a panel discussion about how to create opportunities that will keep volunteers engaged and fulfilled in the open source software space. Image credit: CSCCE
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October’s community call recap: STEM leaders share their definitions of successful community management

This month’s community call was part of an ongoing series focusing on the role of community, and the community manager, in STEM. These conversations flowed from the 25 Community Manager Case Studies we published earlier this year, and we’ll be publishing a report to summarize our findings in the coming weeks. In the meantime, you can catch up on our August (an overview of the case studies project) and September (a conversation about self-advocacy for community managers) calls on the CSCCE blog, and add our November call (which will focus on supporting and recognizing volunteers) to your calendar. 

One of the common challenges identified from the case studies is that many community managers feel that their role is poorly understood, and so people in these roles sometimes find themselves juggling disparate definitions of success. During this session, we heard from three STEM leaders — Josh Greenberg from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, John Ohab from the Hertz Foundation, and Karthik Ram from the University of California at Berkeley — about how they think about the importance and impact of communities, and the qualities they look for in a successful community. This recap describes some of the themes that emerged during this discussion, and includes the recordings of each presentation.

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September’s community call: Advocating for yourself to chart a career path

Community management in STEM is still an emerging profession, with community managers often finding themselves in the position of charting their own career path. Explaining to others what you do, why it’s important, and the ways in which you excel doesn’t always come naturally (especially the last part!) and it can help to have some strategies at your fingertips for different situations. So, for this month’s community call we convened an off-the-record conversation about how to advocate for yourself, build your CV, and work with your supervisors to advance your career.

This month’s call was a continuation of the conversation started back in August, so you might find it helpful to revisit the blog post recap of that call before diving into this one!

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Re-introducing the CSCCE blog – An orientation to what’s here and how you can contribute!

CSCCE’s blog is a wealth of information on scientific community management. But, we realized, for many folks new to CSCCE, that information is somewhat buried in the archives. So, this week we decided to take a look back* at some of the blog posts we’ve** shared over the years, curating them so that you can easily find certain topics or collections, and invite you to add your thoughts as a guest blogger. 

A photo of dozens of books open to random pages. Some of them overlap.
Photo by Patrick Tomasso on Unsplash
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September’s community call: Advocating for yourself to chart a career path

In August, we started a conversation about common challenges faced by community managers in STEM. On that community call, which also included an overview of our findings and recommendations from the CSCCE community manager case studies project, several participants noted that they often find themselves defending the importance of their work to leadership, human resources, and/or their community members. This challenge was connected to a lack of clarity around what it looks like to turn community management into a lifelong career; not only advocating for what you do today, but making a plan for where to go next.

So, this month we wanted to hold space to continue this conversation with an off-the-record community call co-moderated by members of the community of practice. This is a great opportunity not only to hear from others’ experiences, but also to help the community as a whole chart a path forward. 

Join us on Zoom at 11am EDT / 3pm UTC on Wednesday, 28 September (please note that this month’s call will not be recorded, but we will share a blog post recap afterwards with key learnings and resources).

September’s community call will focus on ways of advocating for your role and skillset in a range of settings, and charting a career path that meets your goals. Image credit: CSCCE
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Community calls coming up this fall: Being a community manager in STEM

Following on from our August community call, where we introduced some of the emerging trends from our forthcoming report on community manager roles, this fall we’ll be hosting a series of follow-on conversations to get at some of the challenges we identified. Each call will address at least one of the common challenges community managers face, and hold space for community reflection and feedback. 

In this blog post, you’ll find a brief summary of what to expect from each call, as well as dates and details so that you can add each call to your calendar. We’re still working out some of the details for this series, so if you see something that particularly resonates with you and you’d like to be involved as a speaker or panelist, please let us know by emailing info@cscce.org (note: you don’t have to be a member of our community of practice to contribute to our monthly calls). 

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August’s community call recap: Reflecting on the role of the community manager in STEM

This year we’ve been releasing community manager case studies: two-page interviews, each describing one of 25 community managers from across the STEM ecosystem. On this month’s community call, we shared some of the observations we’ve made as we’ve compared these case studies.

Next month we plan to publish a report that will describe the details of our analysis and make several recommendations for what’s needed to support the emerging community management profession, setting community managers, their communities, and their covening organizations up for success.

During the call, we also heard from two of the community managers who took part in the project, Connie Clare (Research Data Alliance) and Nathaniel Gore (PeerJ), and invited reflections and feedback from all of the participants on the call. We’re so grateful to everyone who came and shared their frank perspectives, and we plan on continuing the conversation on a future call later this year. Read on for a recap of the discussion, and watch the presentation portion of the call in the embedded video clips. 

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July’s community call: The evolving landscape of STEM community manager roles – findings from the CSCCE community manager case studies

POSTPONED UNTIL 17 AUGUST 2022

In this month’s call, CSCCE’s Lou Woodley, Katie Pratt, and Saima Sidik will be sharing what we’ve learned from interviewing 25 members of our community of practice about their work and the resultant case studies that we’ve been publishing over the past few months. We’re currently working on a report summarizing our findings, which we’ll preview on the call, as well as hold space for discussion about where we go from here. 

We hope you’ll join us on Wednesday 20 July 17 August at 3pm UTC / 11am EDT! Click here to join the Zoom call, or add to your Google or Outlook 365 calendar.

July’s community call will focus on community manager roles: Their commonalities and differences across the STEM ecosystem. Image credit: CSCCE
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March’s Community Call Recap: Community manager roles in STEM

The March community call focused on the different forms that community manager (CM) roles take across the STEM ecosystem. The agenda included presentations and reflection questions to guide the conversation, which covered career paths, professional development, and common challenges. 

To kick off the meeting, Lou Woodley spoke about CSCCE’s research program, highlighting our newest resource-creation project: STEM Community Manager Case Studies. Malin Sandström (International Neuroinformatics Coordinating Facility) and Elisha Wood-Charlson (Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory) then described work they performed as CSCCE Community Engagement fellows to characterize CM positions. This work will feed into a new CSCCE working group, which will launch in April and continue studying scientific community manager roles.

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5 guiding questions to help you support community volunteers

On 3 March 2022, CSCCE Director Lou Woodley gave an invited talk for the Code for Science & Society Digital Infrastructure Incubator about best practices when engaging volunteer labor. Her 60-minute session included opportunities for participants to reflect on their own work with community volunteers, and how they might refine the support they offer to them in the future. 

With so many community managers in STEM looking to mobilize community members in a volunteer capacity, we thought we’d share an overview of Lou’s “5 guiding questions” for supporting unpaid contributions. 

Photo by ray sangga kusuma on Unsplash
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