Teamwork is a very popular topic, though it has been essential in the world of business for a long time. It is increasingly common during the hiring process for employers to divide candidates into groups and give them a problem to work on together. Important virtues and dispositions for good teamwork include understanding, kindness, service, patience, knowing how to listen, humility, not wanting to always dominate your teammates, punctuality, order, responsibility, etc. We all know from experience that this is the case.
One of the benefits of preparing a paper is that it offers the opportunity to work as a team outside of an academic setting or classroom activity. The papers create a space for intellectual dialogue and collaboration, to share common concerns and interests about the big questions, and to become aware of one’s responsibility to improve the world in which we live and the possible ways of doing this. Choosing your teammates is just as important as choosing a professor or professors to advise you.
When choosing the members of your group (2 to 6 members per group):
● Think about who can bring diverse perspectives to enrich the dialogue.
● Decide if you want to work with peers majoring in the same subject as you, or if you want teammates from different fields of study; this will often depend on the topic you have chosen or simply who around you would be interested in presenting a paper at the UNIV Forum. One way of choosing teammates can be as rewarding as the other.
● Be sure that everyone you want in your group has the necessary motivation and is willing to follow the group’s plan.
● Decide who in the group will coordinate communication.
When choosing your professor:
● Your advisor can be a professor who, because of prestige or expertise, can provide critical support, even though this person might not be able to dedicate much time to your group.
● Your advisor can be a professor who you trust and who is willing to be involved in the development of your paper.
● You can choose to have two professors advise you.
It is important to determine how the work will be done, especially how the meetings will be conducted:
● You should create a realistic schedule, keeping in mind your academic obligations and what each person in the group can offer. You will need at least 6-8 weeks to prepare a paper.
● It’s always helpful to find a mutually convenient place and time to meet: at the end of each week, during breaks or holidays, or perhaps over lunch or dinner.
● Sometimes it can be more effective to dedicate an entire day or weekend for working more intensely on the paper.
● Avoid waiting until the last minute because it is more difficult to enjoy and learn from the process under those circumstances.
● The group meetings are the most important times during the preparation of the paper. During your team meetings you will discuss and examine with your teammates different arguments and problems, you will gain new insights into your topic, and you can seek advice and learn from your professor.
● You can arrange to have conversations or get-togethers with different professors or experts on your topic.
● Some meetings can be dedicated to watching documentaries or films about your topic.
Also, it can be helpful to:
● Find out if your paper can help you go more deeply into themes from your current university classes.
● Integrate your paper into some activity happening at your university, such as a group discussion, a club or association meeting, etc.
● Think about whether it can be used to prepare an article that can be published in a university or cultural magazine, or on the web. (A selection of the best communications submitted to the UNIV Forum are published in an e-book).