Book Dashes: Collaborative Community Events

In this guest blog post, Arielle Bennett-Lovell (a 2019 CSCCE Community Engagement Fellow) reflects on the third Turing Way Book Dash event, which took place 20-21 February 2020 in London, UK.

What is the Turing Way? 

Science today is moving at an incredible pace, but preventing people from building on your work by making it impossible to replicate has almost certainly cost us years of progress. The Turing Way book project addresses this reproducibility crisis by collating community resources around how to design and carry out robust analyses that can be reused by other researchers in the future. 

Conceived by Kirstie Whitaker at The Alan Turing Institute, and managed by Malvika Sharan,  the book itself is currently hosted online and built using Jupyter Books and GitHub. Over 80 contributors across the globe built the book, through remote collaboration, workshops, and in-person events. These Book Dashes bring participants together in person to work on pieces of the book simultaneously for a full day. The third Book Dash for the Turing Way was held on 20-21 February 2020 in London, UK, and I was lucky enough to go. 

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Launching a New Community as a New Community Manager

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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Creating core values: A new worksheet from CSCCE

In May, we published CSCCE’s core values, which were co-created with our Code of Conduct working group and participants on our May community call. In this blog post we dive a little deeper into our process, which we have made available for download in a new worksheet

Why core values? 

Successful communities have a shared purpose, but in order to convene around that purpose members need to agree on how they communicate and work together in order to ensure safer spaces and productive collaboration. By defining the core values of your community, you can get at what these collaborative norms are and set the tone for events, workshops, meetings, and other group activities. 

As part of CEFP 2019, CSCCE director Lou Woodley developed a framework for creating authentic yet aspirational core values that are tailored to a community. The participants in the fellowship cohort used the framework to explore what might be helping and hindering the realization of core values in their own communities as part of their mid-year training in leading culture change efforts. This is also the framework we followed when creating the CSCCE core values. 

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Laying Your Happiness Foundation When Starting a New Role

Transitioning to a new role can be a daunting and important stage in your community management career. Here, CEFP2019 Fellow, Ann Meyer, shares 5 tips to help you thrive – and enjoy – your next career move.

I recently transitioned to a new role and was a little surprised by a question during my interview. They asked me “Where do you see yourself in 5 years?” I know I was expected to answer with an idea of a concrete plan or a solid, tangible vision for my future but what popped out of my mouth instead was, “I want to be happy.” But we all know that more often than not, happiness isn’t something that just happens – you have to work for it.

Wanting to be happy at work isn’t an idle or frivolous desire. Research has shown that happy people are successful people (Lyubomirsky et al 2005 https://doi.org/10.1037/0033-2909.131.6.803). With a new role, you have an opportunity to set yourself up to be happy from the very beginning. By laying a solid foundation when you start, you are setting yourself up not only for a smooth transition but also for future success. Here are five ways I’ve tried to do just that for myself every time I change jobs:

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From the Rehearsal to the Annual Meeting: What can scientific community managers learn from collective organizing in other situations?

In this guest blog, CEFP 2019 Fellow Arielle Bennett-Lovell considers how her community organizing efforts outside science help her in her day job as Coordinator for the Institute for Neuroscience at the University of Cambridge.

What do a local campaign to save libraries, shared allotments, extinction rebellion protests, and a society of learned individuals all have in common? All of these are groups of people brought together by a shared goal, often with the intention of using collective discussions and engagement from members to push forward a set of ideas or principles using a variety of different initiatives.

A mature scientific community, which is co-creating its programming and future direction as part of a member-led exercise, or advocating for larger societal change on key issues in broader society, shares a lot of organisational parallels with an active community outside of science. However, as community managers, we sometimes don’t see these connections and miss the opportunity to use a breadth of examples in our own organisations.

We can, and should, examine the experiences of other communities, bringing them back into our own as examples of collective organising. This can enrich planning and programming for our scientists, students, and stakeholders. I’ve been lucky to be a part of a number of different campaigns and communities outside of my day job, and in this piece, I’ve outlined some of the key aspects of collective organising I’ve picked up from outside science.

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April’s Community Call Recap – How community managers can support diversity, equity, and inclusion in science

This month’s call challenged us all to think hard about creating and supporting inclusive communities, particularly virtually. Led by the CEFP 2019 DEI Project Team, we explored four topics related to this and used Zoom’s breakout room capability to give participants the opportunity to have small group discussions.

April’s community call showcased four new CSCCE tip sheets created by the CEFP 2019 DEI Project Team.
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April’s community call – Exploring diversity, equity and inclusion

Our next CSCCE Community Call is on Wednesday 22nd April at 2pm Eastern. Join us to discuss running inclusive online events and find out more about the CEFP 2019 Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Project Team’s work.

This month we’ll include a breakout style activity as well as presentations during the first hour of the call, and then a 30 minute open discussion for anyone to share their thoughts and experiences.


Join us for April’s community call on diversity, equity and inclusion considerations as a scientific community engagement manager. Image credit: CSCCE
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March’s Community Call Recap – What makes a great ambassador program?

On this month’s Community Call, two project teams from the CSCCE Community Engagement Fellows Program (CEFP) shared their research into what makes a great ambassador program and how we as scientific community engagement managers can support the members of our communities who volunteer to take part.

Ambassador Programs Slide
March’s community call focused on ambassador programs in science. Image credit: CSCCE

What is an ambassador program?

To advance the mission of the community with which they’re working, community managers often turn to ambassador programs. Also known as community champions or fellows, these more engaged users can help with beta testing, advocating for the community’s work, recruiting new members, launching specialized projects or other specific activities.

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Leveraging anniversary programming & content to nurture community

In this post by CEFP2019 Fellow Camille Santistevan, Associate Director of Public Relations at the Advanced Science Research Center at The Graduate Center, CUNY, she explores how an organization’s anniversary can be an opportunity to nurture community. Camille shares 5 tips for success and 3 potential challenges to anticipate.

Community-first event planning

Is your scientific organization celebrating an anniversary sometime soon? If so, how will you be celebrating?

In the higher education and non-profit sectors, anniversaries are often used to launch major fundraising campaigns. Central leadership, in concert with the development office, tend to spend a lot of time, energy, and resources to organize a big bash for external stakeholders, with the internal community often left as an afterthought.

The ASRC Open House event. Image credit: ASRC.

How can we re-engineer some of this content and programming to supercharge our scientific communities? Below are some ideas both big and small for how community managers can leverage anniversary activities to nurture community. 

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Congratulations to the CEFP2019 fellows on their graduation!

Last week we celebrated the conclusion of the fellowship year for the 2019 cohort of our Community Engagement Fellows Program (CEFP) – with a three-day wrap-up meeting in NYC.

The meeting was a milestone for several reasons. It was our first true hybrid CEFP meeting where we bridged between in-person and remote participation, it was our first time hosting the CEFP training outside of DC (and we loved being in NYC!) and it was the first time that we now have a clear path from fellowship participation to a broader, ongoing set of professional development programming via our new community of practice.

CEFP2019 fellows and staff in the room celebrate those joining remotely! Image credit: CSCCE
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