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What is community engagement?

For the purposes of the AAAS Community Engagement Fellows program, we use the term community engagement to refer to engagement with the members of an organization, association, or research group within the STEM community, rather than public engagement. Specific examples might be:

a) The members of a professional scientific society such as AAAS
b) The members of a multi-institutional research collaboration
c) The members of a global STEM research network

Community engagement involves the participation of members of a community in that community’s activities. This may result in some or all of the following:

a) A shared sense of belonging and self-identification as a member of the community
b) The exchange of scientific information and/or connection to other community members
c) The accomplishment of specific project goals

A community engagement professional or community manager is someone who facilitates the activities of a community and the interactions between community members. These activities may or may not take place within a dedicated online network, but likely involve the use of online tools. Community management may be considered as “in-reach” rather than “outreach” or public engagement.