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).
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 email@example.com (note: you don’t have to be a member of our community of practice to contribute to our monthly calls).
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.
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.
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.
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.
This week we released the first CSCCE Community Manager Case Study! Every Tuesday this Spring you can expect a new case study to drop; browse the collection and download your own copy of each one from our dedicated resource page.
What is a Community Manager Case Study?
These 2-page interviews ask scientific community managers a series of questions about their role, including day-to-day tasks, highlights and challenges, and how they view the importance of community building in STEM. They are very similar in structure to a series of interviews we conducted in 2016, when STEM community managers were relatively unknown, and are intended to showcase what it means to convene communities in a variety of scientific settings.
On each case study you’ll also find a unique skills wheel signature for the community manager featured, which assesses how frequently they used 45 skills in 5 core competencies over the last 12 months. You can find out more about the CSCCE Skills Wheel, created by the C3 project team of the CEFP 2017 cohort in our 2021 guidebook.
The next CSCCE community call will take place on 16 March at 11am EDT / 3pm UTC (add to your calendar: Google | iCal). We’ll be talking about what it looks like to be a community manager in a variety of settings; from scientific societies to research collaborations and everything in between.
We’ll also be talking about our newest resource, a series of community manager case studies that we’ll be releasing every Tuesday this Spring, starting on 9 March. And, we’ll hear from the C3 project team from CEFP 2017 as we kick off a new community working group building on their research.
Our January call focused on project management tools and how they can streamline collaborations and improve efficiency. This post includes a summary of the call, as well as video clips of presentations from Lou Woodley (CSCCE; describing the tool Trello), Alycia Crall (the Carpentries; describing Asana), Anne Heberger Marino (Lean-To Collaborations, describing Mural), Ellen Dow (Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, describing Todoist).
Today is Community Manager Advancement Day (CMAD), and this year the focus is on professional development for community managers!
What is CMAD?
If this is the first you’re hearing about the annual celebration of community managers, a little background. CMAD was created in 2010 by Jeremiah Owyang, a technology professional specializing in the intersection of technology and human behavior. Community members are encouraged to send messages of thanks to their community manager (using the hashtags #CMAD and #CMGR), and organizations that support community managers often host events or release resources to mark the occasion and explore the year’s theme (for example, last year we hosted a community call on 2021’s CMAD theme of resilience).
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