All posts by Trellis Blog Editor

The Value of #Welcome

We’re now mid-way through the first year of the AAAS Community Engagement Fellows Program (CEFP), funded by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. The first cohort of Fellows is 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 Trellis blog, sharing their challenges, discoveries, and insights. Today, Fellow Stefanie Butland shares her experience welcoming new members to her community.

Posted by Stefanie Butland, Community Manager at rOpenSci, – Open Tools for Open Research

Hanging wooden sign that reads "Welcome"
“Welcome” by Nathan under CC BY-SA 2.0

In my training as a AAAS Community Engagement Fellow, I hear repeatedly about the value of extending a personal welcome to your community members. This seems intuitive, but last week I put this to the test. Let me tell you about my experience creating and maintaining a #welcome channel in a community Slack group.

Continue reading The Value of #Welcome

Dinner parties and sandpits: Intensive retreats to catalyze science collaborations

We’re now mid-way through the first year of the AAAS Community Engagement Fellows Program (CEFP), funded by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. The first cohort of Fellows is 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 Trellis blog, sharing their challenges, discoveries, and insights. Today, in the last of a three part series of reflections on the Science of Team Science 2017 conference, Fellow Jennifer Davison explores several intensive retreat models for scientific collaboration.

Posted by Jennifer Davison, Program Manager at Urban@UW

Food in bowls
Carefully selected ingredients make the best dinner-
and team building retreat. Credit: “Housewarming Party” by Mikko Kuhna, CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

The art and practice of providing specific conditions designed to spark novel projects is not new. Business incubators, science parks, and innovation districts are each designed to bring a diverse array of bright people into the same space and to facilitate their interaction, in order to trigger and support new collaborations. At Science of Team Science, many conversations explored how to cultivate research collaborations in a specific, similar way: through themed, time-constrained, highly curated, retreat-like events. I love these events when I’ve joined them, even though they may feel a bit scripted, because the potential of the partnerships and ideas is felt so strongly. And as program manager for Urban@UW, one of my roles is to encourage such collaborations, through as efficient means as possible. So I was interested in both the best practices for setting up such events, and the evidence for their effectiveness.

Continue reading Dinner parties and sandpits: Intensive retreats to catalyze science collaborations

Should I Stay or Should I Go? Considering switching platforms in an early stage community

We’re now mid-way through the first year of the AAAS Community Engagement Fellows Program (CEFP), funded by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. The first cohort of Fellows is 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 Trellis blog, sharing their challenges, discoveries, and insights. Today, Fellow Melissa Varga looks at the challenges of switching community platforms.

Posted by Melissa Varga, Outreach Associate and Online Community Manager at Union of Concerned Scientists 

A stack of cardboard boxes
Moving Day by Nicolas Huk under CC BY 2.0

There’s one piece of advice I’ve heard from multiple experienced community managers about switching platforms: don’t do it. Switching platforms is painful; it means uprooting your community and potentially losing some members (or losing their trust), disrupting the flow and familiarity you’ve been working hard to build among members and between you and your members, not to mention creating a ton of work for the community manager on the back-end.

However, these same experienced community managers cautioned that if you absolutely must switch platforms, it’s best to do it in the earliest stages of the community. Without getting into too much detail, that is the situation I find myself in now with the community of scientists that I am managing. And while hindsight is 20/20, here are a few things I wish I had known last summer, when I was getting ready to launch our new online group.

Continue reading Should I Stay or Should I Go? Considering switching platforms in an early stage community

A how-to guide for training scientific teams: More reflections on SciTS 2017

We’re now mid-way through the first year of the AAAS Community Engagement Fellows Program (CEFP), funded by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. The first cohort of Fellows is 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 Trellis blog, sharing their challenges, discoveries, and insights. Today, in part 2 of a three part series of reflections on the Science of Team Science 2017 conference, Fellow Jennifer Davison shares tips on how to train a scientific team.

Posted by Jennifer Davison, Program Manager at Urban@UW

Although I work as a community manager, I am trained as an ecologist. In graduate school, along with studying climate change and its impacts on plant and animal communities, I learned skills like experimental design, geographic information systems, and statistical methodologies: relatively transferrable skills that are important for being an effective scientist. I was also taught that what’s most valued in academic research are peer-reviewed papers, preferably where you are the first or only author, in the highest-impact journal in which you can get your work accepted. By contrast, I did not receive much instruction or mentorship around skills like teamwork, conflict management, facilitation, or cultural competency.

And yet, it turns out that these kinds of skills are what can make or break collaborative research—a type of scholarship that is becoming more and more important as the challenges we face continue to complexify. (that’s a new word I just made up.) So, it’s not surprising that at the Science of Team Science annual conference there was a lot of discussion about how to train scholars to collaborate.

Continue reading A how-to guide for training scientific teams: More reflections on SciTS 2017

Supporting science collaborations in higher education: a community manager’s perspective

We’re now mid-way through the first year of the AAAS Community Engagement Fellows Program (CEFP), funded by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. The first cohort of Fellows is 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 Trellis blog, sharing their challenges, discoveries, and insights. Today, Fellow Jennifer Davison shares the first in a three part series of reflections Science of Team Science 2017 conference.

Posted by Jennifer Davison, Program Manager at Urban@UW

As we all remember from group projects in high school, working together is usually more challenging than going it alone. However, collaborative projects almost always lead to more awesome results. The differences within the collaborating group can lead to a more integrated understanding of the project, and a more robust approach to an outcome. With our society facing increasingly complex challenges, more perspectives are sorely needed. This is where research collaborations—aka team science—come in.

Continue reading Supporting science collaborations in higher education: a community manager’s perspective

Collaborative technologies – facilitating how we conduct research together

Posted by Lou Woodley, Community Engagement Director – Trellis and Program Director – AAAS Community Engagement Fellows Program

3 people using laptops. Two have letters and numbers obscuring their heads.
Illustration from Think Quarterly by Matt Taylor

Last week I attended the Science of Team Science (SciTS) conference in Clearwater Beach, Florida where I took part in a couple of sessions, and moderated a third. Here I’m going to share some reflections from the first session which focused on collaborative technologies for academic collaborations.

Continue reading Collaborative technologies – facilitating how we conduct research together

Engaging Scientists and Engineers in Policy on Trellis

Source: http://science-engage.org/
Source: http://science-engage.org/

Here at Trellis, one topic that has become particularly popular is science policy. One of our most active and growing science policy groups is the Engaging Scientists and Engineers in Policy (ESEP) group, which is a coalition of organizations and individuals working to empower the scientific and engineering community to effectively engage in the policymaking process at all levels of government.

Continue reading Engaging Scientists and Engineers in Policy on Trellis

Turn and Face the Strange: The AAAS CEFP Fellows Mid-Year Check-in

We’re now mid-way through the first year of the AAAS Community Engagement Fellows Program (CEFP), funded by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. The first cohort of Fellows is 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 Trellis blog, sharing their challenges, discoveries, and insights. Today Fellow Katie Pratt shares a recap of the CEFP midyear training.

Posted by Katie Pratt, Communications Director at Deep Carbon Observatory

"To improve is to change; to be perfect is to change often."
Lou Woodley, AAAS CEFP Program Director, kicked off the workshop with this insight from Winston Churchill.

Ch-ch-ch-ch-change was the theme for the AAAS Community Engagement Fellows’ (CEFP) mid-year check-in, which took place at the beginning of June in Washington, DC. But what does change mean for scientific communities?

Continue reading Turn and Face the Strange: The AAAS CEFP Fellows Mid-Year Check-in

Documenting Strategy with a Community Playbook

We’re now mid-way through the first year of the AAAS Community Engagement Fellows Program (CEFP), funded by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. The first cohort of Fellows is made up of 19 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 Trellis blog, sharing their challenges, discoveries, and insights. Today Fellow Rosanna Volchok recaps the latest in a series of training webinars for the CEFP cohort.

Posted by Rosanna Volchok, Network Engagement Manager at The New York Academy of Sciences

A chess board with pieces
A Game of Chess?” by Christine Kongsvik under CC BY 2.0

CEFP Fellow Stephanie O’Donnell’s recent blog series recapped The Community Roundtable’s introduction of the “Community Playbook” as a valuable tool for community managers. This three-part series broke down 1) the core concepts of a Community Playbook; 2) how different audiences might make use of one; and 3) the different kinds of content and content mediums a community engagement manager might include in one.

Today, I’ll take us through Rachel Happe and Georgina Cannie’s Community Roundtable presentation on understanding how a community engagement manager might document strategy within a community playbook. This includes defining a community’s shared purpose and shared value, connecting these inputs and outputs to key community member behaviors, and putting it all together to create a strategy statement that will inform the community engagement work going forward.

Continue reading Documenting Strategy with a Community Playbook

Trellis on the road: Summer 2017

Hand with pen circling locations on a map
Map” by rawpixel.com

The Trellis team is getting ready for a summer of conferences, webinars, and workshops. We’ll be showcasing the scientific community engagement training framework that we developed for the AAAS Community Engagement Fellows Program (CEFP) and learning from others interested in the field. Keep an eye on the blog for reports from the Trellis team and CEFP Fellows who’ll be attending some of these events as well.

Here’s where you can find us (online and in person) this summer:

Continue reading Trellis on the road: Summer 2017