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June 16, 2014
Sneak Peek at New Website and Online Communities
Sigma Xi will launch a new website this fall that will have improved tools for chapter officers and more functionality for members, including a member directory. It will be a valuable asset to keep everyone informed of the organization's initiatives.
"The new website will allow for more timely updates and interaction among visitors through new, online communities and improved links," said Jerry Baker, executive director of Sigma Xi. "Features on the homepage will point users easily to the latest news from the organization as well as member and chapter information."
Chapter officers can look forward to a streamlined and user-friendly Officer Resource Center, online Chapter Annual Report, and online nomination process.
The redesigned website will include a new feature: online communities. These are virtual spaces, similar to forums, exclusively for Sigma Xi members so they can interact by posting messages and responding to each other. These professional collaboration platforms will enable members to connect regardless of their geographical location.
"Sigma Xi members are leaders in their fields of research. The new communities are an exciting opportunity for them to meet online. They might never meet otherwise," said Kevin Bowen, director of Membership, Communications, and Programs for Sigma Xi. "There is great potential for professional collaboration and career support because of these communities."
All Sigma Xi members will be added to the main community with the option to change their settings. They will be able to create a user profile. Members will be able to search for other members based on location or institution.
Chapter officers will be included in a community designed exclusively for chapter leadership—to collaborate, exchange ideas, and ask questions. The goal is for all chapters to eventually have their own communities so that chapter members can post messages to their fellow chapter members containing relevant documents, information, or questions.
Other communities will be rolled out when enough activity around a particular topic in the main member community exists. For example, future communities that are anticipated relate to career advice or acquiring research funding.
What's Your Question?
Sigma Xi members can help get the conversation started by sending in a question they would like to pose to their peers. Perhaps it's about grant writing or about the state of jobs in a particular research field. Members may submit questions to email@example.com with the subject line "A question for the new communities."
This article was published in the Sigma Xi Today section of the July-August 2014 issue of American Scientist.
More About Sigma Xi: Sigma Xi, The Scientific Research Society is the international honor society of science and engineering. One of the oldest and largest scientific organizations in the world, Sigma Xi has a distinguished history of service to science and society for more than a century. Scientists and engineers, whose research spans the disciplines of science and technology, comprise the membership of the Society. Sigma Xi chapters can be found at colleges and universities, government laboratories, and industry research centers around the world. More than 200 Noble Prize winners have been members. The Society is based in Research Triangle Park, North Carolina. www.sigmaxi.org.