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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Toby Hodges is a Bioinformatics Community Project Manager at the European Molecular Biology Laboratory. He coordinates the EMBL Bio-IT Project,
a community building and support project for bioinformaticians and
computational biologists. In this role, he works with volunteers from
the community to provide training and consulting, information,
networking opportunities, and resources to EMBL scientists who use
computational approaches in their research.
As community managers, one of the of the pressures on us is the
requirement that we make decisions based on an understanding of our
community members. We must frequently make choices on the assumption
that we know what the desires, motivations, and preferences are of the
people that make up our community. Although we have a close working
relationship and perhaps even friendship with some of them, it’s
generally very difficult for us to maintain a deep understanding of what
makes every member of our community tick, what they want to achieve,
and how we can help them to do that.
Community (and Communication)
Don’t Happen Naturally
Six months ago, I had no idea what a community manager was.
I’m the Program Manager for the American Geophysical Union’s
(AGU’s) Sharing Science Program. My
team and I work to provide scientists with the skills, tools, and opportunities
to help them share their science with any audience. We hold workshops,
webinars, create tools, manager social media outlets, and more, all in the
pursuit of this goal. Eventually we starting pulling folks together into a
network of like-minded individuals who are passionate about, and committed to,
science communication (scicomm), policy, and outreach. We called it the
“Sharing Science Network.” At that point I don’t know if I would have called it
a community – but it quickly evolved into one.
Brit Myers is a Project Manager for the Arctic Research Consortium of the U.S. (ARCUS), a non-profit membership organization with the mission of facilitating cross-boundary Arctic knowledge, research, communication, and education. She works to enhance the ability of the highly distributed Arctic research community to connect with one another and work more effectively through collaborative research programs.
Last year I was invited by Dr. Luisa Cristini from the Alfred Wegener Institute to co-convene a session at the American Geophysical Union (AGU) Fall Meeting. Luisa was interested in submitting a session proposal specifically focused on issues relevant to the work of scientific project managers – a job title she and I share. Hoping to attract a larger number of abstracts to the proposed AGU session, we also agreed to reach out to the AAAS CEFP community to see if our session topic might be similar enough to their interests to warrant collaboration. Luckily, CSCCE’s Lou Woodley and another group of #CEFP17 session conveners agreed to join us in our efforts!
However, as we drafted the combined AGU session description – and during a number of other conversations that followed – there was some genuine uncertainty about where the boundaries might stand between those focused on professional development from a “Project Manager” standpoint vs. that of a “Research Community Manager.” For anyone with a Project Management job title, it is hard to forget that Project Management is a well-established profession with an official Body of Knowledge (PMBOK) regulated through accreditation organizations like the Project Management Institute. Alternatively, the “Research Community Manager” is viewed by the new Center for Scientific Collaboration and Community Engagement as an “emerging profession,” distinct enough from both traditional project management and/or non-scientific online community management to justify the time and attention needed to professionalize and institutionalize the role.
One task of a scientific community manager is to facilitate the activities of a community and to create opportunities for community members to engage in productive interaction. In this post CEFP2019 Fellow, Rayna Harris shares ten networking strategies for community managers.
Networking is a process we use to exchange ideas and to build relationships with individuals that share a common interest. In previous decades, most networking was done in-person, perhaps with the exchange of a business card or elevator pitch; however, digital communication is an increasingly common way that people network (Leek 2016). Whether you are an introvert or extrovert, the goal of this blog post is to provide community managers with a few strategies for networking to build their community and facilitate the exchange of ideas and information.
Privacy & Cookies Policy
Necessary cookies are absolutely essential for the website to function properly. This category only includes cookies that ensures basic functionalities and security features of the website. These cookies do not store any personal information.
Any cookies that may not be particularly necessary for the website to function and is used specifically to collect user personal data via analytics, ads, other embedded contents are termed as non-necessary cookies. It is mandatory to procure user consent prior to running these cookies on your website.