United Tribes News

Swagger named Mellon Fellow
22 December 2009

DENVER - Russell Swagger, United Tribes Vice President of Student and Campus Services, is one of three tribal college educators named in November as Mellon Fellows by the American Indian College Fund.

      Swagger was awarded the honor for academic year 2009-10 under The Andrew W. Mellon Career Enhancement Program, along with Diana Canku and Lynette Stein-Chandler.

Russell Swagger

      Swagger is an enrolled member of the St. Croix Chippewa Band of Indians of Wisconsin. He has been a VP at United Tribes for 11 years. He has also taught criminal justice, administration, and strategic planning and plans to use his degree to teach and conduct research. He earned an associate of applied science degree in criminal justice from United Tribes Technical College; a bachelor’s of science degree in criminal justice from Minot State University and a master’s degree in management from the University of Mary. He is currently a Ph.D. candidate in the School of Human Services at Capella University.

      Mellon Fellows receive a $30,000 sabbatical fellowship with additional funding for research-related travel, with the purpose of increasing the intellectual capital, job satisfaction and retention among faculty at the 33 accredited tribal colleges and universities.

      The fellowship allows for release time from their usual duties to complete their dissertation for the doctorate.

      Swagger’s dissertation is titled, “Silent Killer: A study of job burnout in a postsecondary educational setting.”

      “I have a personal and professional interest in this topic,” said Swagger. “Job stress can have direct, major, negative impacts on one’s physiological and psychological well-being in addition to an indirect negative impact on one’s family and associates. Tribal colleges experience these stressors and possibly at a greater level because of the characteristics of the students they serve and the ambiguous and tenuous nature of funding and staffing resources.”

      The Mellon Fellows program, which has been in existence since 2004, has funded 18 tribal college faculty Ph.D. candidates to date. Twelve have completed their degrees and four are continuing the process.

      Diana Canku, an enrolled member of the Sisseton Wahpeton Oyate, is president of Sisseton Wahpeton College.

      Lynette Stein-Chandler is an enrolled member of the A’aninin (White Clay) Tribe of Montana and founder and director of the White Clay Language Immersion School at Fort Belknap College.