During the January training week, AAAS Community Engagement Fellows join self-selected project teams for the duration of the fellowship year.
These teams serve two key purposes:
- Advancing the field of community engagement within science through research and/or resource gathering and;
- Providing the Fellows with hands-on experiences of the challenges and rewards of (somewhat open-ended) peer-to-peer collaboration in the context of busy professional lives.
In 2017, the topics of the project teams included creating a skillswheel for scientific community engagement managers, conducting a survey of scientific organizations running advocacy or ambassador programs and producing a manual of best practices for content creation.
Full details of the projects, the team members and their outputs are outlined below. An additional overview of the teams’ projects can be found in this blog post: https://blog.trelliscience.com/the-cefp2017-project-teams-four-open-questions-in-scientific-community-management/
1. Catalyzing Cultural Change (C3) team
The role and core skillsets of the scientific community engagement manager (SCM) are currently poorly defined, which can hamper the communication of the value that the role can bring. It can also make writing job descriptions, identifying training needs, and evaluating success of a new hire challenging for supervisors and funders. Furthermore, the role does not always fit well into a traditional org chart, with the SCM frequently strategizing across traditional organizational silos to act as a change agent, while also carrying out day-to-day tactical tasks. The Catalyzing Cultural Change (C3) project team is working to define the skills and core competencies for scientific community engagement managers, as well as uncovering insights about the positioning and emerging expectations of the role.
Outputs and Ongoing work
The C3 team has so far produced a skills wheel of 5 core competencies of scientific community engagement managers, with 9 skills associated with each competency. The core competencies are Interpersonal, Communication, Program Management, Program Development and Technical. The team has also created an accompanying skills glossary with examples of how the skills are deployed in different organisations (manuscript in preparation).
The team presented their preliminary work at the Science of Team Science 2017 meeting and Woodley and Leidolf ran a session at the NSF EPSCOR national meeting in November 2017.
2. Advocacy Ninjas
As a community grows, a natural progression can be to scale the community activities through community leaders, local ambassadors or other community members acting in leadership roles. Depending on the community, these roles may be voluntary, rewarded via training, free swag or other endorsements, and there may or may not be eligibility requirements in order to become an ambassador. Little is understood about these programs within scientific communities and so the advocacy ninjas project team devised a survey and authored a resultant report so that other community managers could use their findings as a guide to launching and improving advocacy programs for their own projects.
- This project team conducted a survey of scientific ambassador and advocacy programs which they’re in the process of analyzing and writing up as a short report. They are interested to understand links between size, funding, and training and program goals, scope, and impact.
- The data from their survey can be found here.
3. STEEMI team
One of the big challenges for scientific community engagement managers is how to evaluate whether their community engagement activities are successful and to succinctly communicate this evaluation and any recommended strategic changes to key internal and external stakeholders. Which metrics to measure can depend on the model that you’re using to evaluate your community, which in turn is influenced by your community’s goals. But if you have incomplete information, or have never carried out a robust community evaluation before, where should you start? The STEEMI team worked to identify the metrics and models that were currently in use within their own organizations, synthesizing this information into a hybrid model for a poster at the AGU Fall meeting 2017.
Outputs and Ongoing Work
The team produced a poster, "What’s in a Number: How we Measure Community Engagement", for the AGU Fall Meeting in 2017, as well as case studies about the metrics that they were measuring for their own organizations.
4. Content on Content
Many scientific community engagement managers are responsible for producing content in various forms. From creating podcasts to issuing press releases, sourcing and editing a series of guest blogposts to hosting webinars, content is vitally important to engage community members on a regular basis. The Content on Content team identified that there are no resources currently available specifically for scientific community managers and so set about creating a manual of best practices for content creation.
Outputs and Ongoing Work
The team worked with other CEFP2017 Fellows to produce the first draft of a Content Manual will be coming soon.
The manual may be continued by future CEFP Fellows.
5. Diversity, equity and inclusion project team
The DEI project team formed after the conclusion of the CEFP2017 fellowship year when several Fellows identified that they would like to produce a set of resources about creating and nurturing diverse, equitable and inclusive scientific communities. The team has met monthly and produced an ongoing blog post series.
Yasmin Marrero-Garcia (non-CEFP Fellow)
Outputs and Ongoing Work
You can read the series of blog posts that the team produced here. They include:
· Community guidelines - a key component of your diversity, equity and inclusion toolbox
· Including under-represented community members in planning for diversity, equity and inclusion
Posts are planned to continue until early 2019.