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.
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: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.
Our online trainings are tailor-made for scientific community managers and other facilitators, contextualizing and synthesizing decades of research spanning organizational theory to marketing – all while honoring the wisdom that comes from practice and the value of peer support. One of the key facets of CSCCE trainings is that participants contribute, and learn from other community managers in turn.
CSCCE trainings are customized, participatory experiences, with attendees applying the frameworks discussed to their own contexts. For us, success looks like attendees leaving our trainings with not just tactics and tools, but also renewed confidence and fresh perspectives with which to approach their collaborative work.
Each six-week course will involve a 90-minute webinar each week, plus a 60-minute Co-Lab, in which participants work more deeply with the materials covered that week. You should be prepared to allocate four hours total per week to each course for its duration, which includes up to 90 minutes of homework between sessions.
Learning and sharing together is one of CSCCE’s core values and we believe that in an emerging, dynamic profession such as scientific community engagement there are two complementary learning needs.
The first is the creation of a shared vocabulary and set of frameworks to guide the way we talk about the work that we do – materials that we develop at CSCCE.
The second is the need for trusted learning spaces where we can discuss our own challenges and successes and learn from one another’s experiences.
Learning together in cohorts is at the core of how we run our flagship CEFP training and we’re replicating it in these courses, limiting each course to a maximum of 20 participants.
Your path through CSCCE training
Scientific Community Engagement Fundamentals provides community managers of all levels critical language and frameworks for understanding what is a unique emerging leadership role. Based on some of the materials delivered in the initial training week of our flagship Community Engagement Fellows Program (CEFP), participants will develop skills spanning community strategy development, supporting member engagement, and content creation – three areas that scientific community managers have indicated training needs.
Participants will develop confidence, increased clarity about their role, and build relationships with other scientific community managers. We know this combination of formal training and peer support is effective – 92% of CEFP fellows in 2017 met their goals for the fellowship year.
For these reasons, completion of this course is required before you can continue on to join a CEFP fellowship cohort – our flagship, year-long, immersion program.
As we build out additional modular training offerings in the coming months, we’ll be indicating which require Scientific Community Engagement Fundamentals as a prerequisite and which can alternatively work as stand-alone experiences. We’re doing this to minimize repetition of materials and maximize time spent together.
Each of our courses will take a slightly different approach, combining various teaching techniques. The course description pages outline in more detail what you can expect from each.
Course one: Scientific community engagement fundamentals
This course is for new or existing community managers, equipping them with core frameworks and vocabulary to describe their community, their role within it, and to identify the stage that it’s at and the needs of its members.
Our course content is responsive to a survey we conducted of over 100 scientific community professionals to determine more about their career paths, their skill sets and challenges. The CSSCE has found that almost two-thirds of scientific community managers are self-taught in terms of their community management skills. This lack of formal training and peer support can lead to isolation and burnout.
Topics covered include:
Definitions of community – and scientific communities
Course two: Planning and delivering successful virtual meetings and events
This course is for existing scientific community managers who have been tasked with organizing and/or facilitating online events. These may include a single large event such as a virtual conference, as well as regular meetings such as community calls, working groups, and small group learning opportunities.
Course three: Nurturing and stewarding engaged online communities
This course is for community managers who are managing online communities of practice, e.g., in a shared Slack workspace or on an online platform such as Higher Logic. Many of these communities of practice are especially important right now as conversations have shifted online. This brings opportunities for culture change through making certain work and knowledge more visible and flattening hierarchies of participation – as well as providing immediate opportunities for identifying new shared goals such as COVID-19-related responses. This course is for anyone wanting to think more deeply about how to engage colleagues and community members in online communities – and in a way that will endure beyond the current pandemic.
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