For our first community call of 2023, we wanted to continue our tradition of periodic updates about what’s happening at CSCCE. In these updates, we draw back the curtain and share more details about what we’re working on, as well as some reflections that other growing organizations and communities may share. From onboarding new staff members to preparing for the first cohort of our certification program, there’s a lot going on, which brings with it necessary changes in process and underlying technical infrastructure. This recap blog post will get you up to speed on all the news.
Note: A recording of this call is available to members of our Community of Practice, and a link is available in Slack. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org if you need assistance.
Happy New Year! The turning of the year is often accompanied by transition, setting new intentions, and planning for the months ahead. That’s certainly where we find ourselves at CSCCE, with 2023 promising to be a huge year for our growing organization.
In our first community call of the year, we’ll share what’s coming up, including new courses, clients, and community programming. This is a great way to catch up if some of our newsletters fell into the cracks of December email chaos, or if you’re new to our community of practice and would like to find out more about opportunities to get involved. Our calls are open to anyone, so if you’re not yet a community member but you’re interested in what we do to support STEM communities and the people who build them, please do feel free to join.
Here at CSCCE, we relish opportunities to learn from each other. So, for our annual potlucks, we ask everyone to bring knowledge instead of food! This year, we asked participants to bring their favorite tech tools and tips — and tech problems in search of solutions. Below is a smorgasbord of tools suggested by our Community of Practice, as well as a list of common tech problems with some suggested solutions for you to sink your teeth into. If you weren’t on the call but you’d still like to contribute, no problem! We used a Mural board to brainstorm, and you’re still welcome to add to it.
For our November call, the theme was working with volunteers. Yanina Bellini Saibene (rOpenSci) moderated a discussion between Saranjeet Kaur (RSE Asia Association) and Melissa Mendonça (NumPy, SciPy, Matplotlib, and Pandas) with brief comments from Yared Abera Ergu (The Carpentries in Africa). The panelists addressed a range of topics including:
The types of volunteer positions available in their communities
What motivates their volunteers
Problems with common approaches to volunteer labor and potential solutions
In this blog post, we provide brief descriptions of the panelists’ and facilitator’s backgrounds and summarize their thoughts on these three topics.
We like to send the year off with a little bit of fun, mixed with some contemplation and so for our December community call we’ll be hosting our fourth annual end-of-year potluck. This year, we’ll be focusing on tech tools for supporting community management on a shoestring budget!
As with most CSCCE events, this call will with be an interactive opportunity to:
Try out some new ideas and/or tools that may be relevant for managing your own community
Meet and connect with other STEM community managers to learn from one another
Take an intentional moment in busy schedules to reflect and identify progress made and potential next steps in your own work
Rather than everyone bringing a dish to share, as is typical at most potlucks, all participants are welcome to bring examples of tools that they’ve used to solve specific problems – or problems in search of a tool! We’ll structure the meal (see below) so there’s time to share and time to learn.
Join us via Zoom on 14 December at 11am EST / 4pm UTC, and feel free to wear a festive hat or sweater to liven up our Zoom screens 🙂
Many STEM communities rely on volunteers, and yet it can be hard to sustain volunteer engagement. For our November call, we’ve invited three community managers from open source software organizations to participate in a panel discussion about how to create volunteer opportunities that are emotionally and intellectually fulfilling, and recognize and reward member contributions in these volunteer roles.
While our panelists this month all work with open source communities (which ties in with the new POSE training program we’re developing!), we encourage you to attend even if this isn’t your focus area. The discussion will be relevant to a range of STEM community settings.
Join us via Zoom on 16 November 2022 at 11am EST/4pm UTC (note that the US daylight saving’s transition may change the time for this monthly callin your time zone.)
This month’s community call was part of an ongoing series focusing on the role of community, and the community manager, in STEM. These conversations flowed from the 25 Community Manager Case Studies we published earlier this year, and we’ll be publishing a report to summarize our findings in the coming weeks. In the meantime, you can catch up on our August (an overview of the case studies project) and September (a conversation about self-advocacy for community managers) calls on the CSCCE blog, and add our November call (which will focus on supporting and recognizing volunteers) to your calendar.
One of the common challenges identified from the case studies is that many community managers feel that their role is poorly understood, and so people in these roles sometimes find themselves juggling disparate definitions of success. During this session, we heard from three STEM leaders — Josh Greenberg from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, John Ohab from the Hertz Foundation, and Karthik Ram from the University of California at Berkeley — about how they think about the importance and impact of communities, and the qualities they look for in a successful community. This recap describes some of the themes that emerged during this discussion, and includes the recordings of each presentation.
Our October call will focus on why community-building is important to different STEM organizations and what success looks like in each case. We’ll hear from three STEM leaders – each representing a different type of organization from a funder to a lead PI – about why community is important to the work they do.
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.
In August, we started a conversation about common challenges faced by community managers in STEM. On that community call, which also included an overview of our findings and recommendations from the CSCCE community manager case studies project, several participants noted that they often find themselves defending the importance of their work to leadership, human resources, and/or their community members. This challenge was connected to a lack of clarity around what it looks like to turn community management into a lifelong career; not only advocating for what you do today, but making a plan for where to go next.
So, this month we wanted to hold space to continue this conversation with an off-the-record community call co-moderated by members of the community of practice. This is a great opportunity not only to hear from others’ experiences, but also to help the community as a whole chart a path forward.
Join us on Zoom at 11am EDT / 3pm UTC on Wednesday, 28 September (please note that this month’s call will not be recorded, but we will share a blog post recap afterwards with key learnings and resources).
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