As the administrator of the ProGen Study Groups I guess it is time that I write about them for this blog.
The ProGen Study Program is organized for participants to study Professional Genealogy: A Manual for Researchers, Writers, Editors, Lecturers and Librarians, edited by Elizabeth Shown Mills (Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Company, 2001). The goal of the program is to help participants develop professional research, writing and business skills.
The ProGen study groups are made up of professional genealogists, individuals working to become professional genealogists, and other serious researchers who want to conduct professional level research. Each ProGen group has a coordinator who manages the group, and a BCG certified genealogist who participates as a mentor. It takes many volunteer leaders working together to make this program successful.
Key Elements of the ProGen Study Program:
- Quality textbook written by experts in the field
- Guidance from a BCG Certified Genealogist
- In-depth study and application of each topic
- Peer review of monthly assignments
- Live interaction through online discussions
- Joint focus on business development and research practices
The study groups are based on a cooperative learning model where everyone works together. Members are expected to be dedicated to the program and make their group a positive learning experience. They are accountable to complete monthly assignments, participate in online group discussions, and provide feedback on the work of others in their group.
Each month group members study one or two chapters and then work on a written assignment on the topic. These assignments are designed to refine skills such as writing research plans, analyzing evidence, transcribing documents, writing research reports and formulating proof arguments. On the business side, participants write a mission statement, contract, business plan and marketing plan. For many professional genealogists this is the first time they have taken time to plan out their business strategy.
In order to study all 29 chapters of Professional Genealogy, the program takes 19 months to complete. This is a long program, and takes dedication on the part of each participant.
Many participants in the ProGen Study Groups also take advantage of other educational opportunities and meet together at genealogical institutes and conferences. This is an opportunity to meet “online friends” in person and network with colleagues from other ProGen study groups. See ProGen events for more information on upcoming gatherings and photos of past events.
Once participants have completed the ProGen Study Program they are included on the alumni page of the website. These individuals have shown a dedication to improving their skills, and a commitment to complete the 19 month program. They have given constructive feedback to their colleagues and continue to network with other genealogy professionals. Feel free to use the alumni list when you are in need of a researcher.
The first ProGen study group was organized in March 2008 by Lee Anders and a group of enthusiastic genealogists. We wanted to go beyond “reading” Professional Genealogy, and take the time to really study and apply each concept.
As others heard about our study group and asked to participate, additional ProGen study groups were formed. I stepped up as administrator of the ProGen Study Program in November 2008. The program continues to grow and gain recognition, and we now have eleven ProGen study groups with over 250 participants from five countries.
JOIN THE WAITING LIST
If you are interested in participating in the ProGen Study Program, please visit the waiting list page to learn of the commitment involved, background experience required,and detailed instructions.