On this month’s call, we invited the Organizational Mycology team to facilitate an Oblique Thinking Hour activity for CSCCE community members. Beth Duckles and Dan Sholler led us through a series of prompts, culminating in breakout conversations where participants looked at community manager challenges from a range of surprising perspectives.
Oblique Thinking Hours
So, you might be wondering: “What is an Oblique Thinking Hour?” These sessions are an experimental way of facilitating a group as they work through a problem or challenge. Instead of attacking the problem head on, they come at it “obliquely,” building an appreciation for what everyone brings to the table before trying to find a solution.
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.
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).
This summer, we are focusing our community programming on building a denser network of connections within the CSCCE community of practice. This means not only creating opportunities for new connections to form, but also to strengthen the relationships that already exist. In this blog post, we highlight the events and activities we’re hosting to meet these goals, and we hope that you’ll mark your calendars to join in. If you’re not already a member of the community, you can request an invitation to our Slack workspace.
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 email@example.com.
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.
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.
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.
In December, we wrapped up the first year of the AAAS Community Engagement Fellows Program (CEFP), funded by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. The first cohort of Fellows was made up of 17 scientific community managers working with a diverse range of scientific communities. We’ll be recruiting for Cohort Two later this year for a start date of January 2019.
Meanwhile, we’re continuing to share reflections from the 2017 Fellows on the blog. In today’s post, Heidi Olds shares some strategies for coping with stress as a community manager. You can catch up on all posts by the Fellows here.
This year has been a whirlwind of new adventures! The challenges facing professionals working in the oil and gas industry have only illuminated the passionate spirit of our members and THAT is EXCITING!#SPEluv Although I am a member of the SPEStaff, I full- heartedly identify myself as a part of our member community. This sense of belonging and loyalty has intensified my workload. I find that I internalize things that are beyond my reach until they manifest into the Big Monster named S-T-R-E-S-S!
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