In the second of our series of posts by the 2019 Community Engagement Fellowship cohort, Julianna Mullen walks us through her experiences building trust in an online community and sparking conversations in an authentic way. A marine biologist and writer by training, Julianna is the Communications and Community Manager for the Ocean Acidification Information Exchange at the Northeastern Regional Association of Coastal Ocean Observing Systems (NERACOOS) working at the intersection of scientists and conversations.
It had been the first bullet point in the job description: “Increase community engagement.”
The Community Manager for The Ocean Acidification Information Exchange would be in charge of getting its member scientists, policymakers, and educators talking to one another about preparing and adapting to ocean acidification. I’d been a scientist and communicator for some time, but I’d never been a Community Manager; when I accepted the post, I knew the learning curve would be steep, but I was excited! Fast-forward into Month Two of my employment, when I’d made a series of important discoveries:
The OA Information Exchange was so quiet I could almost hear the crickets when I logged on.
Using the phrase “increasing engagement” to describe the breadth, scope, and complicatedness of my work was like calling the Encyclopedia Britannica “some books.”
I couldn’t rely on researching myself out of the hole because there simply wasn’t much material that spoke to what I was trying to do.
I’d failed to understand that an online community, even one comprised of scientists and policymakers working on something as technical as ocean acidification, needs the same kind of emotional tending as in-person communities.
In a blind panic, I reached out to some members I knew personally and asked what was going on. What was the holdup?
“I don’t want to waste anyone’s time with my stupid questions.”
“I don’t think I have anything to contribute.”
“I’m worried people will think I’m unintelligent.”
In the first of our series of posts by the 2019 Community Engagement Fellowship cohort, Naomi Penfold walks us through her strategy for prioritizing her workflow and staying focused. As Associate Director of ASAPbio, Naomi is leading activities to engage the research community around the use of preprints for biology. She cares about improving transparency and inclusion in processes that affect how scientists do their work, from the evaluation of manuscripts to the design of everyday tools.
You look at your week ahead, and see a calendar jam-packed with meetings and not enough time to respond to community requests or even start to deal with your inbox. Some of these interruptions will be exciting opportunities, but will they help you stay focused on your current goals for the community? Will you ever be able to leave your desk and go home? Despite our best efforts to stay organised and in control, I suspect we all end up feeling overwhelmed at times, especially when community management requires you to be there for people and be reactive in the moment as well as keep the ball rolling with long-term projects and general community programming.
If this resonates, you’re not alone: 32% community managers reported ‘prioritizing number of tasks to do’ as the greatest challenge in their role in AAAS’s survey in 2016. Clearly something has to give, but who do you prioritise and why? How do you know which tasks are most likely to contribute to your overall mission? How can you say no and avoid becoming overwhelmed? In this post, I describe a method I’m trying to outline, use, and evaluate a community-based strategy. This method has helped me to say no and stay focused before, and now I’m trying to combine it with what we are learning about community strategy through the Community Engagement Fellowship Program.
Last week we hosted the initial training week for this year’s AAAS Community Engagement Fellows. It’s an intense week with plenty of time spent together in the classroom and outside of it, and where we aim to do three things:
Equip the fellows with a shared understanding of some core community management principles – from how we think about scientific community managers to the role of strategy, programming and culture in the work that we do.
Surface the expertise that the Fellows already have – through lightning talks, small group discussions and the conversations that arise during the breaks and evening social events.
Nurture a sense of community between the Fellows so that together we create a trust-based cohort in which they can learn and support one another over the course of the year – and beyond.
So what materials do we cover during this foundational week? The curriculum builds each day to help fellows move from describing themselves and their own communities to appraising the strategies and tactics that they’re using – and how they might update them. By the end of the week they have plenty of tools and ideas to take back to their own organizations, as well as an understanding of the role that a community playbook or collaboration guide could play in their own work.
In this post we’ll give an overview of the core curriculum and in a second post we’ll outline the community playbook activities.
This week we’re announcing the selection of the 2019 cohort of Fellows for the AAAS Community Engagement Fellows Program, funded by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. Now we’d like to introduce you our 4 Fellows supporting national or international research collaborations.
This week, we’re introducing the 2019 cohort of Fellows for the AAAS Community Engagement Fellows Program. We’ve already highlighted Fellows building online communities. Today, we’re introducing 4 Fellows who work with local research collaborations.
This week, we’re introducing the 2019 cohort of Fellows for the AAAS Community Engagement Fellows Program. So far, we’ve highlighted building online communities for scientific societies and associations. Today, we’re introducing 5 more Fellows who are building online communities for non-scientific societies/associations.
Last week we announced the selection of the 2019 cohort of Fellows for the AAAS Community Engagement Fellows Program and gave you a brief overview of how they’ll be spending their year with us. Now, we’d like to introduce you to each of them, starting with 4 Fellows who are supporting online communities for scientific societies and associations.
Introducing the 2019 cohort of AAAS Community Engagement Fellows – #CEFP2019
We’re thrilled to be able to introduce the second class of AAAS Community Engagement Fellows, generously funded by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. The Fellows are professionals who build and nurture communities and collaborations within science – whether that’s on behalf of scientific societies, research collaborations or other convening organizations.
We’re delighted to announce thatwe are now accepting applications for the 2019 cohort of AAAS Community Engagement Fellows, generously supported by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. The fellowship is a year-long professional development opportunity for existing scientific community professionals working in research collaborations, scientific societies, and other organizations supporting scientist-to-scientist or “in-reach” activities.