August’s community call recap: Reflecting on the role of the community manager in STEM

This year we’ve been releasing community manager case studies: two-page interviews, each describing one of 25 community managers from across the STEM ecosystem. On this month’s community call, we shared some of the observations we’ve made as we’ve compared these case studies.

Next month we plan to publish a report that will describe the details of our analysis and make several recommendations for what’s needed to support the emerging community management profession, setting community managers, their communities, and their covening organizations up for success.

During the call, we also heard from two of the community managers who took part in the project, Connie Clare (Research Data Alliance) and Nathaniel Gore (PeerJ), and invited reflections and feedback from all of the participants on the call. We’re so grateful to everyone who came and shared their frank perspectives, and we plan on continuing the conversation on a future call later this year. Read on for a recap of the discussion, and watch the presentation portion of the call in the embedded video clips. 

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March’s Community Call Recap: Community manager roles in STEM

The March community call focused on the different forms that community manager (CM) roles take across the STEM ecosystem. The agenda included presentations and reflection questions to guide the conversation, which covered career paths, professional development, and common challenges. 

To kick off the meeting, Lou Woodley spoke about CSCCE’s research program, highlighting our newest resource-creation project: STEM Community Manager Case Studies. Malin Sandström (International Neuroinformatics Coordinating Facility) and Elisha Wood-Charlson (Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory) then described work they performed as CSCCE Community Engagement fellows to characterize CM positions. This work will feed into a new CSCCE working group, which will launch in April and continue studying scientific community manager roles.

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CSCCE Community Manager Case Studies – First one out today!

This week we released the first CSCCE Community Manager Case Study! Every Tuesday this Spring you can expect a new case study to drop; browse the collection and download your own copy of each one from our dedicated resource page

What is a Community Manager Case Study? 

These 2-page interviews ask scientific community managers a series of questions about their role, including day-to-day tasks, highlights and challenges, and how they view the importance of community building in STEM. They are very similar in structure to a series of interviews we conducted in 2016, when STEM community managers were relatively unknown, and are intended to showcase what it means to convene communities in a variety of scientific settings. 

On each case study you’ll also find a unique skills wheel signature for the community manager featured, which assesses how frequently they used 45 skills in 5 core competencies over the last 12 months. You can find out  more about the CSCCE Skills Wheel, created by the C3 project team of the CEFP 2017 cohort in our 2021 guidebook

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STEM Community Manager Case Studies

STEM community managers support a range of different communities – from research collaborations to infrastructure organizations and communities of practice hosted by scientific associations. The CSCCE community manager case studies provide two-page snapshots of how individual community managers came to their roles, what activities they support, and what they most enjoy about their work.

By creating these case studies, we hope to demonstrate what it means to work as a community manager in STEM, elevate the importance of these roles in supporting inclusive and collaborative scientific practice, and highlight the variety of settings in which community engagement is key.

Background

In 2016, we took on two projects aimed at documenting the diversity of STEM community manager positions: a series of interviews with community managers and a landscape survey on the state of scientific community management. These projects started to give us a more detailed view of this new career path and set the stage for the 2017 inaugural Community Engagement Fellows Program (CEFP).

Fast-forward to 2021, and we were seeing an ever-increasing number of STEM community manager roles and almost 400 STEM community managers in the CSCCE community of practice. We’d begun describing the range of scientific communities via our community profiles project, and realized it was also time to revive our work to describe the range of community manager positions, too. Linking all these pieces will allow us to describe a spectrum of community roles across the STEM ecosystem.

Goals of the project

Scientific communities are increasingly recognizing the importance of having community managers, but identifying and defining these roles isn’t as straightforward as you might expect. Community managers work under a variety of job titles and they often perform other tasks (e.g., external communications or project management). Sometimes their duties are spread across a team. 

In our case studies, we wanted to capture the diversity of work performed by community managers in order to:

  • Highlight the vital contributions of community managers
  • Enable aspiring community managers and funders to better understand these positions
  • Enable ourselves and others to advocate for the importance of these roles
  • Reveal trends that will allow us to provide relevant support for community managers

As we create and release community manager case studies, we’re also building a database of job descriptions and collecting more granular information on the skills community managers use in their roles. The result will be a rich set of interlinked resources, which also includes the CSCCE skills wheel released in 2021, describing the role of the community manager in STEM. 

How the project was carried out

This project was conceived and led by CSCCE’s Director Lou Woodley in 2016 and reimagined together with Communications Director Katie Pratt in 2021 who led the design of the case study template. It was implemented with the additional input of Communications Assistant Saima Sidik who assisted with data collection and presentation.

We started planning the current iteration of case studies in 2021, began work in earnest at the beginning of 2022, and the first case study was released on 9 March 2022. We are gradually inviting members of our community of practice to fill in the case study survey (which is almost identical to the one deployed in 2016), along with a worksheet that quantifies time spent using the 45 skills described in the CSCCE skills wheel. This information is then curated into the final case studies and released as PDFs for free download under a CC BY-NC-ND license. 

If you would like to work with us to create your own case study, please fill out this short form or email info@cscce.org with any other questions.

Further information

CSCCE Community Manager Case Studies

STEM Community Manager case studies are currently listed alphabetically by surname of the community manager.

Where there is a corresponding CSCCE Community Profile for the community that the community manager works with, that is noted in the case study description.

B, C, D, F, G, H, J, K, L, M, N, O, S, V, Z

B

CSCCE Community Manager Case Study: Ellen Bechtol

by Ellen Bechtol, Katie Pratt, Saima Sidik, and Lou Woodley

April 26, 2022

This CSCCE Community Manager Case Study highlights Ellen Bechtol, Outreach Specialist for the Wisconsin IceCube Particle Astrophysics Center (WIPAC) Multimessenger Diversity Network.

CSCCE Community Manager Case Study: Brielle Bennett

by Brielle Bennett, Katie Pratt, Saima Sidik, and Lou Woodley

March 15, 2022

This CSCCE Community Manager Case Study highlights Brielle Bennett, Community Manager at AGU LANDInG.

C

CSCCE Community Manager Case Study: Megan Carter

by Megan Carter, Katie Pratt, Saima Sidik, and Lou Woodley

June 14, 2022

This CSCCE Community Manager Case Study features Megan Carter, Community Director for Earth Science Information Partners (ESIP). [Profile available for this community.]

CSCCE Community Manager Case Study: Connie Clare

by Connie Claire, Katie Pratt, Saima Sidik, and Lou Woodley

March 8, 2022

This CSCCE Community Manager Case Study highlights Connie Clare, Community Manager at 4TU.ResearchData.

CSCCE Community Manager Case Study: Erin Conn

by Erin Conn, Katie Pratt, Saima Sidik, and Lou Woodley

March 29, 2022

This CSCCE Community Manager Case Study highlights Erin Conn, Community Engagement Manager for SEA Change at AAAS.

CSCCE Community Manager Case Study: Alycia Crall

by Alycia Crall, Katie Pratt, Saima Sidik, and Lou Woodley

July 21, 2022

This CSCCE Community Manager Case Study features Alycia Crall, Director of Community at The Carpentries. [Profile available for this community.]

CSCCE Community Manager Case Study: Maria Cruz

by Maria Cruz, Katie Pratt, Saima Sidik, and Lou Woodley

May 12, 2022

This CSCCE Community Manager Case Study highlights Maria Cruz, Senior Open Science and Data Policy Advisor for the Dutch Research Council (NWO).

D

CSCCE Community Manager Case Study: Maaike de Jong

by Maaike de Jong, Katie Pratt, Saima Sidik, and Lou Woodley

May 31, 2022

This CSCCE Community Manager Case Study features Maaike de Jong, Scientific Community Manager for the Netherlands eScience Center.

F

CSCCE Community Manager Case Study: Vanessa Fairhurst

by Vanessa Fairhurst, Katie Pratt, Saima Sidik, and Lou Woodley

March 22, 2022

This CSCCE Community Manager Case Study highlights Vanessa Fairhurst, Community Engagement Manager at Crossref.

G

CSCCE Community Manager Case Study: Nathaniel Gore

by Nathaniel Gore, Katie Pratt, Saima Sidik, and Lou Woodley

April 12, 2022

This CSCCE Community Manager Case Study highlights Nathaniel Gore, Director of Communities at PeerJ.

H

CSCCE Community Manager Case Study: Shane Hanlon

by Shane Hanlon, Katie Pratt, Saima Sidik, and Lou Woodley

May 5, 2022

This CSCCE Community Manager Case Study features Shane Hanlon, Program Manager for Sharing Science at the American Geophysical Union.

CSCCE Community Manager Case Study: Natasha Haycock-Chavez

by Natasha Haycock-Chavez, Katie Pratt, Saima Sidik, and Lou Woodley

June 21, 2022

This CSCCE Community Manager Case Study features Natasha Haycock-Chavez, Community Engagement & Outreach Coordinator for the Arctic Data Center. [Profile available for this community.]

J

CSCCE Community Manager Case Study: Arthee Jahangir

by Arthee Jahangir, Katie Pratt, Saima Sidik, and Lou Woodley

May 17, 2022

This CSCCE Community Manager Case Study features Arthee Jahangir, Associate Director of Postdoctoral Affairs at NYU’s Grossman School of Medicine.

K

CSCCE Community Manager Case Study: Anne Kornahrens

by Anne Kornahrens, Katie Pratt, Saima Sidik, and Lou Woodley

May 10, 2022

This CSCCE Community Manager Case Study features Anne Kornahrens, Director of Community at the Hertz Foundation.

CSCCE Community Manager Case Study: Lizzie Krisch

by Elizabeth Krisch, Katie Pratt, Saima Sidik, and Lou Woodley

April 19, 2022

This CSCCE Community Manager Case Study highlights Lizzie Krisch, Mentorship and Outreach Specialist at RockEDU.

L

CSCCE Community Manager Case Study: Zoë Leanza

by Zoë Leanza, Katie Pratt, Saima Sidik, and Lou Woodley

May 24, 2022

This CSCCE Community Manager Case Study features Zoë Leanza, Communications Manager for the AD Knowledge Portal at Sage Bionetworks. [Profile available for this community.]

M

CSCCE Community Manager Case Study: Paula Andrea Martinez

by Paula Andrea Martinez, Katie Pratt, Saima Sidik, and Lou Woodley

July 12, 2022

This CSCCE Community Manager Case Study features Paula Andrea Martinez, Software Project Coordinator of the Australian Research Data Commons (ARDC), and as part of her role, she supports the Research Software Alliance (ReSA). She co-leads three communities: the FAIR4RS working group, the Research Software Engineers Association of Australia and New Zealand (RSE AUNZ), and the Visible Research Software Interest Group. [Profile available for the FAIR4RS community.]

CSCCE Community Manager Case Study: Fallon Mody

by Fallon Mody, Katie Pratt, Saima Sidik, and Lou Woodley

June 7, 2022

This CSCCE Community Manager Case Study features Fallon Mody, Community & Engagement Team Lead for The repliCATS Project.

N

CSCCE Community Manager Case Study: Kozo Nishida

by Kozo Nishida, Katie Pratt, Saima Sidik, and Lou Woodley

June 28, 2022

This CSCCE Community Manager Case Study features Kozo Nishida, Community Advisory Board Member for Bioconductor.

CSCCE Community Manager Case Study: Anna Nourse

by Anna Nourse, Katie Pratt, Saima Sidik, and Lou Woodley

May 3, 2022

This CSCCE Community Manager Case Study highlights Anna Nourse, Program Manager for the University of South Carolina’s Patient Engagement Studio.

O

CSCCE Community Manager Case Study: Ailís O’Carroll

by Ailís O’Carroll, Katie Pratt, Saima Sidik, and Lou Woodley

July 5, 2022

This CSCCE Community Manager Case Study features Ailís O’Carroll, Community Manager for eLife.

S

CSCCE Community Manager Case Study: Daniela Saderi

by Daniela Saderi, Katie Pratt, Saima Sidik, and Lou Woodley

July 14, 2022

This CSCCE Community Manager Case Study features Daniela Saderi, Director and Co-Founder of PREreview.

CSCCE Community Manager Case Study: Alexandra Schnoes

by Alexandra Schnoes, Katie Pratt, Saima Sidik, and Lou Woodley

April 5, 2022

This CSCCE Community Manager Case Study highlights Alexandra Schnoes, Director of Career and Professional Development at the Science Communication Lab.

V

CSCCE Community Manager Case Study: Pajau Vangay

by Pajau Vangay, Katie Pratt, Saima Sidik, and Lou Woodley

May 19, 2022

This CSCCE Community Manager Case Study features Pajau Vangay, Scientific Community Engagement Manager for the National Microbiome Data Collaborative (NMDC). [Profile available for this community.]

Z

CSCCE Community Manager Case Study: Helen Zenner

by Helen Zenner, Katie Pratt, Saima Sidik, and Lou Woodley

July 19, 2022

This CSCCE Community Manager Case Study features Helen Zenner, Community Manager at the Node.

Community calls

On our August 2022 community call, Lou shared an overview of findings from analyzing all 25 case studies in this collection, including a set of draft recommendations to address some of the common challenges STEM community managers face:

Participants in the project, Connie Clare and Nathaniel Gore, also shared their reflections on being a community manager in STEM: