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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March’s Community Call Recap – What makes a great ambassador program?

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.

Ambassador Programs Slide
March’s community call focused on ambassador programs in science. Image credit: CSCCE

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.

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Address Your Bias, Call BS, and Broaden your Networks: Interview with Monica Feliu-Mojer

Address Your Bias, Call BS, and Broaden your Networks: Interview with Monica Feliu-Mojer   As the CEFP 2017 cohort’s final installment in our Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) series, we interview Monica Feliu-Mojer, an award-winning PhD scientist-turned-communicator who leads communications and outreach for Ciencia Puerto Rico (CienciaPR), a global community of more than 10,000 scientists, … Continue reading “Address Your Bias, Call BS, and Broaden your Networks: Interview with Monica Feliu-Mojer”

Address Your Bias, Call BS, and Broaden your Networks: Interview with Monica Feliu-Mojer

 

As the CEFP 2017 cohort’s final installment in our Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) series, we interview Monica Feliu-Mojer, an award-winning PhD scientist-turned-communicator who leads communications and outreach for Ciencia Puerto Rico (CienciaPR), a global community of more than 10,000 scientists, students, educators, and allies transforming science education in Puerto Rico, democratizing science, and training young scientific leaders. Monica also works with the non-profit iBiology, leading science communication trainings and producing video stories that explore the intersection of the culture, identity, and research of underrepresented scientists.

 

Check it out: Monica is guest-editing a special issue on “Inclusive Science Communication in Theory and Practice” for Frontiers in Communications with Erika Check Hayden, Thomas Hayden and Raychelle Burks, inviting research papers, case studies and essays. 

Monica Feliu-Mojer
Monica Feliu-Mojer

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“Use Books, Not People” & Other Advice from a Community Building Research Librarian

“Use Books, Not People” & Other Advice from a Community Building Research Librarian Today we continue our series of regular posts for science community managers interested in diversity, equity and inclusion. This installment features an interview conducted by Rosanna Volchok, the New York Academy of Sciences. Additional series coordinators are Jennifer Davison, Urban@UW, University of … Continue reading ““Use Books, Not People” & Other Advice from a Community Building Research Librarian”

“Use Books, Not People” & Other Advice from a Community Building Research Librarian

Today we continue our series of regular posts for science community managers interested in diversity, equity and inclusion. This installment features an interview conducted by Rosanna Volchok, the New York Academy of Sciences.

Additional series coordinators are Jennifer Davison, Urban@UW, University of Washington, Josh Knackert, UW-Madison Neuroscience Training Program, and Marsha Lucas, Society for Developmental Biology. You can find all of the posts in the series here.

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Breaking the Ice Well, Part 2

Breaking the Ice Well, Part 2 2017 marked the first year of the AAAS Community Engagement Fellows Program (CEFP), funded by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. The first cohort of Fellows was made up of 17 scientific community managers working with a diverse range of scientific communities. As they continue to develop their community engagement skills and apply some of the … Continue reading “Breaking the Ice Well, Part 2”

Breaking the Ice Well, Part 2

2017 marked the first year of the AAAS Community Engagement Fellows Program (CEFP), funded by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. The first cohort of Fellows was made up of 17 scientific community managers working with a diverse range of scientific communities. As they continue to develop their community engagement skills and apply some of the ideas and strategies from their training, the Fellows will report back on the CSCCE blog, sharing their challenges, discoveries, and insights. Here, Fellows Allen Pope, Amber Budden, and Stefanie Butland and mentor Aidan Budd discuss facilitating interpersonal community interactions in person.

Photo credit: Jaymantri, https://www.pexels.com
Photo credit: Jaymantri, https://www.pexels.com

As we discussed last time, the purpose of icebreakers is to bring together a group of people (e.g., professionals, students, community members, etc.) and facilitate social cohesion for the purpose of having them start learning together, benefit from shared experiences, and collectively ‘produce’ during the course of the event. These introductory activities start building shared understanding within the group and allow the group to begin to work toward shared goals.

You’ve chosen an activity or two that suits your community and your specific situation – now what?

Continue reading “Breaking the Ice Well, Part 2”

Breaking the Ice Well

Breaking the Ice Well 2017 marked the first year of the AAAS Community Engagement Fellows Program (CEFP), funded by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. The first cohort of Fellows was made up of 17 scientific community managers working with a diverse range of scientific communities. As they continue to develop their community engagement skills and … Continue reading “Breaking the Ice Well”

Breaking the Ice Well

2017 marked the first year of the AAAS Community Engagement Fellows Program (CEFP), funded by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. The first cohort of Fellows was made up of 17 scientific community managers working with a diverse range of scientific communities. As they continue to develop their community engagement skills and apply some of the ideas and strategies from their training, the Fellows will report back on the CSCCE blog, sharing their challenges, discoveries, and insights. Here, Fellows Allen Pope, Amber Budden, and Stefanie Butland and mentor Aidan Budd discuss facilitating interpersonal community interactions in person.

Photo credit: Wikimedia
Photo credit: Wikimedia

The purpose of icebreakers is to bring together a group of people (e.g., professionals, students, community members, etc.) and facilitate social cohesion for the purpose of having them start learning together, benefit from shared experiences, and collectively ‘produce’ during the course of the event. These introductory activities start building shared understanding within the group and allow the group to begin to work toward shared goals.

As CEFP Fellow Melissa Varga wrote: “It can be a little nerve-wracking to bring people together in person, but there are some tactics that can help people ‘break the ice.’ Icebreakers are a great way to help get everyone on the same page and get people chatting to one another. They can be silly, or they can be more structured and topically focused; the goal is to get people to introduce themselves and get comfortable.”

But, as a community manager, where do you start with implementing and designing an Icebreaker during an event?

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Part 3 – The Community Manager’s Survival Guide: Transcending Disciplinary and Thought Boundaries with “Project Commons”

We’re continuing to share reflections from the 2017 Community Engagement Fellows on the blog. In today’s post, Andy Leidolf introduces his four part series, “The Community Manager’s Survival Guide: Building Social Capital in Large, Heterogeneous, Geographically Dispersed Research Networks.” You can catch up on all posts by the Fellows here. Posted by Andy Leidolf, Coordinator, Honors Program, … Continue reading “Part 3 – The Community Manager’s Survival Guide: Transcending Disciplinary and Thought Boundaries with “Project Commons””

We’re continuing to share reflections from the 2017 Community Engagement Fellows on the blog. In today’s post, Andy Leidolf introduces his four part series, “The Community Manager’s Survival Guide: Building Social Capital in Large, Heterogeneous, Geographically Dispersed Research Networks.” You can catch up on all posts by the Fellows here.

Posted by Andy Leidolf, Coordinator, Honors Program, Utah State University, and Executive Director, Society for Freshwater Science. Leidolf served as iUTAH Assistant Director and Project Administrator from 2014-2018.

If you have been following my series of blog posts (thank you!), I have probably succeeded by now in convincing you that iUTAH was a large, complex, and diverse project that would pose any number of challenges for even the best-trained and most well-resourced community manager. Having already shared my thoughts on how to deal with geographic dispersion and institutional diversity, I want to end by considering a third and final challenge: transcending boundaries imposed by collaborators’ differences in disciplinary background.

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Part 2 – The Community Manager’s Survival Guide: Addressing Institutional Diversity and Power Imbalance by Promoting Community Equity, Tolerance, and Fairness

We’re continuing to share reflections from the 2017 Community Engagement Fellows on the blog. In today’s post, Andy Leidolf introduces his four part series, “The Community Manager’s Survival Guide: Building Social Capital in Large, Heterogeneous, Geographically Dispersed Research Networks.” You can catch up on all posts by the Fellows here. Posted by Andy Leidolf, Coordinator, Honors Program, … Continue reading “Part 2 – The Community Manager’s Survival Guide: Addressing Institutional Diversity and Power Imbalance by Promoting Community Equity, Tolerance, and Fairness”

We’re continuing to share reflections from the 2017 Community Engagement Fellows on the blog. In today’s post, Andy Leidolf introduces his four part series, “The Community Manager’s Survival Guide: Building Social Capital in Large, Heterogeneous, Geographically Dispersed Research Networks.” You can catch up on all posts by the Fellows here.

Posted by Andy Leidolf, Coordinator, Honors Program, Utah State University, and Executive Director, Society for Freshwater Science. Leidolf served as iUTAH Assistant Director and Project Administrator from 2014-2018.

iUTAH—A Textbook Case for Institutional Diversity

Like most other states, Utah has a large number of institutions of higher learning: in addition to three research universities granting doctoral degrees, there are eight primarily undergraduate-serving institutions (PUIs), both 2- and 4-year. Although Utah is generally perceived as a fairly homogeneous state, there is a surprising amount of diversity even among peer institutions.

For example, our research universities include both public and private universities (Brigham Young University is owned by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, aka. the LDS or Mormon Church) and are situated in settings that span the rural-suburban-urban gradient. Not unexpectedly, these universities attract very different student and faculty populations.

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Call for applications: 2019 cohort of AAAS Community Engagement Fellows!

We’re delighted to announce that we are now accepting applications for the 2019 cohort of AAAS Community Engagement Fellows, generously supported by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. The fellowship is a year-long professional development opportunity for existing scientific community professionals working in research collaborations, scientific societies, and other organizations supporting scientist-to-scientist or “in-reach” activities.

It's finally here! Image Credit: https://www.pexels.com/photo/close-up-of-text-on-table-248360/
Image Credit: https://www.pexels.com/photo/close-up-of-text-on-table-248360/

We’re delighted to announce that we are now accepting applications for the 2019 cohort of AAAS Community Engagement Fellows, generously supported by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. The fellowship is a year-long professional development opportunity for existing scientific community professionals working in research collaborations, scientific societies, and other organizations supporting scientist-to-scientist or “in-reach” activities.

Continue reading “Call for applications: 2019 cohort of AAAS Community Engagement Fellows!”

Part 1 – The Community Manager’s Survival Guide: Emphasizing “Inreach” to Overcome Geographic Dispersion

We’re continuing to share reflections from the 2017 Community Engagement Fellows on the blog. In today’s post, Andy Leidolf introduces his four part series, “The Community Manager’s Survival Guide: Building Social Capital in Large, Heterogeneous, Geographically Dispersed Research Networks.” You can catch up on all posts by the Fellows here. Posted by Andy Leidolf, Coordinator, Honors Program, … Continue reading “Part 1 – The Community Manager’s Survival Guide: Emphasizing “Inreach” to Overcome Geographic Dispersion”

We’re continuing to share reflections from the 2017 Community Engagement Fellows on the blog. In today’s post, Andy Leidolf introduces his four part series, “The Community Manager’s Survival Guide: Building Social Capital in Large, Heterogeneous, Geographically Dispersed Research Networks.” You can catch up on all posts by the Fellows here.

Posted by Andy Leidolf, Coordinator, Honors Program, Utah State University, and Executive Director, Society for Freshwater Science. Leidolf served as iUTAH Assistant Director and Project Administrator from 2014-2018.

The Challenge

When I began my tenure as Assistant Director of the iUTAH EPSCoR project in October 2014, the fact that the members of my research collaboration were not co-located, but dispersed among eleven institutions of higher learning spread all over the state of Utah, as well as 100 state, national, and—in some cases—international partner organizations, made settling into my position, frankly, a scary prospect. We were funded by a five year, $20M grant from the National Science Foundation to enhance Utah’s water resources through research, training, and education. This included studying the state’s water system, as well as working to understand how factors like population growth, climate variability, changes in land use, and human behavior impacted the sustainability of our state’s water resources. No small feat. How was I ever going to learn who all these people were, what role they played in and for our community, and—most importantly—how to communicate and engage with them?

Continue reading “Part 1 – The Community Manager’s Survival Guide: Emphasizing “Inreach” to Overcome Geographic Dispersion”