July Community Call Recap: Organizing inclusive, accessible, and successful virtual events

This month, our content and programming focused on organizing and implementing virtual events. With the global COVID-19 pandemic, virtual meetings, conferences, and other events have become part of everyday life for many people, and the task of planning, executing, and evaluating them in STEM often falls to community managers. So, for our July community call we invited three members of our community of practice to share their knowledge and start a conversation about best practices. 

Watch the three presentations from July’s call in their entirety. 


  • “It’s Dangerous To Go Alone, Take This – Non-Player Characters & Prepping For Your Virtual Event” – Tom Quigley, ConservationXLabs (slides
  • “It’s All About Access: Planning Meetings for Wider Audiences” – Rebecca Carpenter, Deaf and Hard of Hearing Virtual Academic Community (slides
  • “Evaluating Virtual Events” – Emily Lescak, Code for Science and Society (slides
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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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June’s Community Call: Join us for our Summer Social!

On Wednesday, 17 June from 1-2:30pm US Eastern Time we’re hosting our first annual summer social! Although our community calls are scheduled for 90 minutes, we understand if you have to leave after an hour. 

Since we launched last year, the  CSCCE Community of Practice has continued to grow and so we’d like to spend June’s community call continuing to get to know one another. Combined with our holiday potluck call in December, the summer social will become a standing event on CSCCE’s community calendar. Whether you are brand new to the CSCCE community or have been here for a while, chances are you’ll meet someone new on this call!

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May’s Community Call Recap and Announcing the CSCCE Core Values

On this month’s community call we discussed and refined a set of core values prepared by the CSSCE Code of Conduct Working Group. Through breakout sessions and open discussion, members of the community considered the values and how they translate into personal and collective behaviors. 

As a result, today we published our core values on the CSSCE website here. They will inform our code of conduct (coming soon), how staff and members interact in our community of practice on Slack (request to join here), and all of the programming and trainings offered by the center. 

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May’s community call – The CSCCE core values

Our May community call, scheduled for Monday, 18 May 2020 at noon US Eastern Time, will focus on CSCCE’s core values and how we are working with members of our community of practice to co-create a code of conduct.

This call will include a discussion with the CSCCE Code of Conduct working group, and provide opportunity for all members of our community to comment on our draft core values statement.

Our May 2020 call will focus on the collaborative process of developing the CSCCE code of conduct. Image credit: CSCCE
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Announcing our new Resources pages and Zenodo Community collection

The past few weeks have marked an important next phase for CSCCE as we started releasing some of the materials that CSCCE staff and community members have created over the past months and years.

We’re delighted to announce the first of a growing number of Resources pages on the CSCCE website – starting with pages for “Being a Scientific Community Manager,” “Diversity, equity and inclusion,” and “Online communities and communication tools.”

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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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March’s Community call – community ambassador programs

Our next CSCCE Community Call is on Wednesday 18th March at 2pm Eastern. Join us to discuss the outputs of two of the community engagement fellows program (CEFP) projects about community ambassador programs.

After the presentations there will be time to ask questions and learn from others who’ve launched and/or managed ambassador programs.

Join us for March’s community call on ambassador programs in science. Image credit: CSCCE

Community ambassador programs

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.

Nurturing a successful ambassador program can be a helpful way to scale your community’s activities – but what does running such a program involve? How should you recruit your ambassadors? And what motivates them to participate and stay engaged? Join us in March’s community call to explore some of the data about what these programs look like in science.

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February’s Community Call – help us to launch our Community Profiles project

Our next CSCCE Community Call is on Wednesday 19th February at 2pm Eastern. Join us to discuss how we’re going to be creating Community Profiles to help connect scientific community managers with others doing similar things – and how to make the profiles useful to you!

Introducing the Community Profiles project

Some of the questions that we get asked most often about scientific community management go along the lines of “I’m looking to launch a new community focused on X. Can you tell me about another organization that’s already done this?” or “We’re looking to expand our community programming to include Y. Are there any best practices about how to do this – or things we should absolutely avoid?”

To help our community members to answer these questions more directly themselves, we’re looking to create a series of downloadable Community Profiles. At this concept stage (read: plans may evolve as we test and iterate!) we envisage that the profiles will be very visual, two-page summary sheets with some vital stats about specific communities that have agreed to be featured. As a user, you’ll be able to compare communities with similar audiences, online tools, programming and more – and possibly also reach out to their community manager to ask any follow up questions.

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CSCCE Working Groups – new ways to work together in our emerging community of practice

In January’s Community Call we reviewed our plans for CSCCE’s programming for the first few months of 2020. In this post we recap our intentions to launch three initial working groups this month – as a precursor to creating the supporting structures for future working groups later this year.

Working together to advance our collective understanding of scientific community engagement. Image credit: CSCCE

Why working groups?

CSCCE provides training, programming, resources and research to support community managers in science – and organizations looking to nurture scientific communities. One of our core activities is to host a community of practice, where existing community managers can learn from one another and ask questions of a supportive group of like-minded peers.

In addition to our Slack channel and monthly community calls, we’re now offering community members the opportunity to work more closely together in a working group.

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