January’s community call recap: (Personal) Resilience and Community (Management)

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.

Moser, 2008
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What does a scientific community manager do? Check out the CSCCE Skills Wheel and accompanying guidebook!

Our newest resource, the CSCCE Skills Wheel and guidebook, is out this week. Created by the C3 project team of the 2017 CEFP cohort, the wheel defines 45 skills used in varying degrees by scientific community managers, laying out a common language and framework for hiring, professional development, and personal fulfillment.

About the C3 project

As part of CSCCE’s Community Engagement Fellowship Program (CEFP), fellows self-organize into small groups to take on a research or resource-development project. The Catalyzing Cultural Change (C3) team, Jennifer Davison, Andreas Leidolf, Malin Sandström, Elisha Wood-Charlson, and Lou Woodley, wanted to define the skills and core competencies for scientific community engagement managers, while also understanding how these roles are positioned within different types of scientific communities or organizations.

To do this, they compared the skills listed in a range of scientific community manager job descriptions, surveyed scientific community managers within the 2017 CEFP cohort, and, along with additional literature research, created the CSCCE skills wheel.

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January’s community call – Resilience

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. 

The January 2021 CSCCE Community Call. Image credit: CSCCE
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Ambassadors, Fellows, Champions, and More: What defines success in scientific community champions programs?

This post summarizes the report of the “Scientific Advocacy/Ambassador Programs Survey” by the 2017 Community Engagement Fellows Program (CEFP) Advocacy Ninjas project team (Melanie Binder, Heidi Laješić, Stephanie O’Donnell, Allen Pope, Gabrielle Rabinowitz, and Rosanna Volchok – with help from CSCCE Director Lou Woodley and former staff member, Rebecca Aicher) and was contributed by the authors.


Editorial note: Since the Advocacy Ninjas did their work and wrote up their report, we refined and published CSCCE’s Community Participation Model. In it, we describe a CHAMPION mode of participation, in which a community member is motivated to take on more responsibility for the success, sustainability, and/or running of the community. This might look like advocating for the community on social media, running a working group or local chapter, or taking the lead in creating and maintaining documentation to support the community. Champion programs, therefore, formalize or promote these activities, and offer recognition and training for members who participate. They empower emergent leaders, create nodes of trust within the community, and support myriad community needs and goals. Visit our new resource page for more.  

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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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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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