School of History, Art History and Philosophy

Staff Wellbeing Advisory Group (SWAG)

SWAG is an informal group of academic and professional services staff, which is working to make HAHP a pleasanter place for everyone to work in.


SWAG does two things:

  • We hold an open meeting once a term. Everyone is welcome to come along and raise issues, make suggestions, etc. The group will then take these forward to the school management team (or to higher levels of the university management, if that’s more appropriate) to try and identify the best way to address them.
  • Members of the group are always available to have confidential, one-on-one conversations any time, to discuss issues or problems, etc. The idea is try and find the best way to resolve issues: that might be supporting a colleague who needs to make a formal complaint, or it might be having a quiet word with someone whose behaviour is perceived as inappropriate. Every issue is handled confidentially, on a case-by-case basis that is entirely driven by what the affected colleague wants. Having a word with someone from SWAG is simply an extra channel for addressing issues, not an alternative to existing channels (specifically, it does not prevent anyone from making a complaint or pursuing any other kind of action they wish to).


The current members of the group are:

Please feel free to contact any one of us at any time if you have something you would like to raise. And if you would like to join the group, we would appreciate your help; just email Jim Endersby and volunteer.

News from SWAG

November 2018

The last SWAG meeting discussed the problem that colleagues sometimes feel isolated when they're away from work for a while and may also find it hard to reconnect when they return. This seems to be particularly true for academic staff; our colleagues in professional services are much better at keeping each other up to date. Part of the problem is that we are often not sure whether absent colleagues would like to be contacted or left in peace (whatever the reason for their absence). That's compounded by the fact that nobody is responsible for keeping in touch when people are away from work, so we all tend to assume somebody else is taking care of it.

So, as an experiment to try and improve this, we're going to have a coordinator for absent academics, who will be responsible for finding the most appropriate person to keep in touch. It might be the absent colleague's mentor, neighbour, close colleague or just a friend. The idea is to make sure that the work is shared around in a friendly and informal way, while ensuring that nobody feels either overworked or abandoned. For this academic year, Jim Endersby has offered to take on the role. Professional services will inform Jim when a colleague reports absent (which – gentle reminder from Deborah– everybody needs to do). But if you're going to be absent, or know of a colleague who is absent, please feel free to send Jim a quick email (j.j.endersby@sussex.ac.uk) and he'll make sure that someone keeps in touch. This is entirely voluntary, and naturally if you prefer to be left in peace, that’s what will happen.  And, equally important, please let Jim know when people come back from absence, so we can ask if they would like any support then. Thank you.