Category Archives: AAAS Community Engagement Fellowship

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.

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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

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?

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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.

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Champions, Ambassadors, Fellows, and More: Introducing the Advocacy Ninjas

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 Allen Pope introduces his Project Team: the Advocacy Ninjas. You can follow Allen on Twitter @PopePolar and online at www.iasc.info

Posted by Allen Pope, Executive Secretary for the International Arctic Science Committee

Two figures jumping with arms stretched up on a mountaintop
Community advocates help shout their communities’ missions from mountaintops! by Allen Pope

Earlier, we introduced the project teams that this year’s AAAS Community Engagement Fellows have formed, and today I’d like to share a bit about the team that I belong to – the Advocacy Ninjas.

Continue reading Champions, Ambassadors, Fellows, and More: Introducing the Advocacy Ninjas

Catalyzing change – the AAAS Community Engagement Fellows’ mid-year meeting

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

Red sign that reads "Changed Priorities Ahead"
Changed priorities ahead” by Peter Reed under CC BY-NC 2.0

This week saw the return of the 2017 class of AAAS Community Engagement Fellows to DC for their mid-year meeting. Following their week-long training in the fundamentals of community management back in January the Fellows have been working to support collaborations at their home institutions. Meet the Fellows and find out what they are each working on here.

The #CEFP2017 mid-year meeting had the theme of “change” – and we explored this from various angles including individual perspectives on implementing what’s been learned so far, organizational change, and what it means to create a “learning organization”. We also worked together on our community playbooks as tools to help us communicate the methods behind community management to our colleagues.

Continue reading Catalyzing change – the AAAS Community Engagement Fellows’ mid-year meeting

Building a Community Playbook Part 3: What’s in it?

In January 2017, we wrapped up the training week for the inaugural class 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 the January training, the Fellows will report back on the Trellis blog, sharing their challenges, discoveries, and insights. Yesterday Stephanie O’Donnell described several different audiences and use cases for community playbooks. Today, in the final post in her three part series, will dive into the content of community playbooks.

Posted by Stephanie O’DonnellCommunity Manager at WILDLABS.net, Fauna & Flora International

Red hardcover book gutter with sewn pages flipping through the air ready for browsing. The cover has a shiny, plastic texture.
“Hardcover book gutter and pages” by Horia Varlan under CC BY 2.0

Now that we’ve established how useful a playbook might be and how different audiences might use it, we come to the big question: what goes in your Playbook? Read on to learn about the different kinds of content and content mediums that you can choose from. The credit for this framework goes to the Community Roundtable, who presented the following information in a CEFP webinar.

Continue reading Building a Community Playbook Part 3: What’s in it?