Scholarly Work Achievement Groups (SWAG)
WHAT’S A SWAG?
SWAGs are sweet and simple goal setting groups for any interested faculty member at Macalester. Their purpose? To help you develop career goals for your scholarship and identify short-term tactics for achieving those goals. SWAGs provide a gentle accountability structure that can help you move toward your goals even during the jam-packed academic year. Time commitment? One hour, two times a semester.
WHO ARE SWAGS FOR?
SWAGs are for the Macalester faculty member who feels sad about setting aside a scholarly project or dramatically ratcheting it back in the face of renewed teaching, advising, and committee obligations. They are for people who miss the camaraderie and conversation often experienced in graduate school when everyone was working and talking about their research projects. SWAGs are for colleagues who would welcome the chance to set some concrete, do-able goals this year and have an accountability structure to help meet those goals. SWAGs are also for people who just want to have some colleagues to talk to while “walking the scholarly path together.”
HOW DO SWAGS WORK?
Faculty members who sign up meet in small groups 2 times a semester with folks from other parts of campus. Serie Center staff will organize the groups, which will be comprised of faculty from different ranks, different divisions, and obviously different scholarly interests. (Note: If you really prefer to join a peer group that will read and critique your scholarly writing, please contact Adrienne Christiansen and she will help you organize one.) Each member of a SWAG fills out a simple “career map” that helps you identify your scholarly goals during the next 7 years. You will also fill out an easy form listing the one or two specific goals you hope to reach this year and the steps necessary to meet your short-term goals. Copies of both forms will be shared with the other members of your SWAG and they will ask questions about your progress toward your self-defined goals and brainstorm strategies with you to overcome obstacles that arise. You will do the same for them. That’s it. No shame. No long meetings. No isolating oneself off to a self-imposed writing and research exile.
WHAT BENEFITS COME FROM PARTICIPATING IN A SWAG?
The majority of faculty members at Grinnell College who participated in a SWAG found that felt the groups helped them to maintain focus on their scholarship; keep self-defined deadlines; helped them plan new projects and break those projects into manageable chunks. Most importantly, participants learned that the challenges they had previously experienced while trying to get their research done during the academic year were widely shared. It helped to have colleagues who were “walking the path” together.
HOW LONG MUST I COMMIT TO A SWAG?
Your commitment is to meet with your SWAG mates for 4 one-hour meetings during the next 12 months. The Serie Center will host a SWAG celebratory lunch in spring 2011, but you are under no obligation to come. Next fall, we will invite you to participate again if you like.
WHAT IF I WANT TO SIGN UP OR LEARN MORE BEFORE SIGNING UP?
Contact Adrienne Christiansen via email or call (x6714) and she will talk with you about SWAGs.
WHAT IF I KNOW THAT I WANT TO PARTICIPATE BUT CAN’T COME TO THE LAUNCH LUNCH? Let Adrienne Christiansen know of your interest and she will get you the materials you need right away to get started with your new SWAG mates.
WHERE DID THE IDEA FOR SWAGS COME FROM?
SWAGs were created by Professor and Associate Dean Leslie Gregg-Jolly of Grinnell College. The Serie Center is grateful to Dr. Gregg-Jolly and her colleagues at Grinnell for sharing their ideas and experience with Macalester.