On Wednesday 17th March 2021, around 50 individuals from a wide range of different countries and time zones came together for the first of two 2-hour sessions that formed the “Building Research Software Communities: How to increase engagement in your community” workshop.
Run as part of the SORSE Series of Online Research Software Events, this workshop brought together an organising team consisting of 3 members of the international research software community and a group of speakers including experts in community engagement and sustainability. In this blog post we provide an overview of the workshop and some of the key messages and outcomes.
This guest blog post, by Michelle Barker, Jeremy Cohen, Daniel Nüst, Toby Hodges, Serah Njambi Rono, and Lou Woodley, first appeared on the Imperial College London’s Research Software Engineering blog.
On 21 April 2021, Lou Woodley and Jenny East of the Center for Scientific Collaboration and Community Engagement (CSCCE) hosted an interactive session on virtual events as part of the Code for Science & Society (CS&S) grantee workshop series. They focused on how to select and test online tools to help facilitate your meeting activities, and shared a guidebook to help you decide what tool to choose. This post, authored by Jenny and CSCCE’s communications director, Katie Pratt, gives an overview of the workshop and the motivation behind creating the guidebook.
Today we opened general registration for the fourth cohort of our Scientific Community Engagement Fundamentals course (CEF21S). This 6-week online course, intended for new and more seasoned community managers alike, grounds learners in CSCCE’s core frameworks, offering a strong foundation for strategic community building in STEM.
We’re excited that the CSCCE team continues to grow, and this week we welcome Jenny East onboard as CSCCE’s newest trainer. Jenny will join lead trainer Camille Santistevan, along with center director Lou Woodley, in developing and facilitating CSCCE’s modular, online trainings and client-facing support.
Before joining the CSCCE team, Jenny spent over five years as an outreach coordinator for Oregon Sea Grant at Oregon State University, USA. In this role, she worked to educate recreational boaters about preventing water pollution and how to reduce their impact on the local ecosystem, a mission she undertook through the development of materials and events to engage boating communities within Oregon. Her position also included training staff at local marinas so that they had the skills and resources they needed, as they also had a role in supporting healthy waterways.
For our “First Birthday Series” of blog posts, we took some time to reflect on CSCCE’s community of practice, which turned one year old on 21 October 2020. In this final post in the series, jointly authored by Communications Director, Katie Pratt and Center Director, Lou Woodley, we look back on CSCCE’s seed funding, how the Center is supported now, and our plans for a financially sustainable future.
We’re delighted to announce that CSCCE has received a $125k grant from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation to continue our work supporting the transition to online collaboration that’s been accelerated due to the global pandemic.
In this post, we outline what we plan to deliver thanks to this grant – and we indicate the emerging opportunities to participate or collaborate with CSCCE that will result.
Supporting a rapid shift in norms
The ongoing global COVID-19 pandemic has forced a sudden transition to online meetings and online work spaces for which many scientific organizations and communities were painfully under-prepared. Although discussions were underway in many organizations to improve access to conferences and events by offering virtual options, few had begun to implement them at scale. As a result, many organizations are now frantically trying to adapt, while lacking the in-house expertise, access to reliable information, and peer support necessary for staff to succeed.
This Fall we launched the first in a new series of CSCCE online training modules. In this blog post, we explain the courses and when they’ll be offered again, who we hope will take them, and how they impact our other programming, including a potential CEFP2021 cohort. If you have any questions about anything in this post, please reach out to us: email@example.com.
What are CSCCE online modular trainings?
Our online modular trainings distill years of experience and expertise in building successful communities in STEM into courses that fit into your busy schedule. Each training runs for six weeks, and involves two live sessions a week (totaling 2.5 hours) along with around 90 minutes of homework to complete each week.
In this post, jointly authored by Communications Director, Katie Pratt and Center Director, Lou Woodley, we take stock of our resource collection, which now comprises eight pages on our website and includes 28 free-to-download guidebooks, worksheets, and community profiles in our Zenodo community repository.
This week we’re launching a new CSCCE working group – for any STEM community managers planning or supporting community champions programs.
What are community champions programs?
As a community manager, chances are you spend a significant amount of your time operating at the “whole community” level – devising shared programming such as community calls and also creating newsletters and other reinforcing communications to keep the group informed and aligned around the various programming and activities.
While that community-level alignment is crucially important, a community moves forward its mission when members are empowered to take on emergent leadership roles – which enables the community to grow, become more sustainable, and to advance specific projects together via working groups and other smaller-group activities. In the CSCCE Community Participation Model (see image below) we refer to this mode of member engagement as the CHAMPION mode – and we’re working to develop our own champion infrastructure as well as working with other communities such as The Carpentries to develop theirs.
For our “First Birthday Series” of blog posts, we are taking some time to reflect on CSCCE’s community of practice, which turned one year old on 21 October 2020. Our first post summarised the community “by the numbers,” and is a fun run-down of just how far we’ve come. In this post, we go a little deeper into the strategy and philosophy behind our programming. This post was jointly authored by Communications Director, Katie Pratt and Center Director, Lou Woodley.
A community of community managers
We are in a unique “meta” position at CSCCE in convening a community of community managers. That means members of our community of practice already know the potential value that’s waiting to be released when people with experience, knowledge, and ideas that are valuable to others in the group are brought together. Part of our job as community managers is to devise programming that supports the realization of that value, and that signposts to members what might be possible together. That’s true for CSCCE staff, as well as for our members as they support their own communities, although what that programming looks like will be specific to each community’s context.
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