News from the university management 13 May
On the management’s agenda
Management wants to see less funding control
Last Tuesday, the University management visited the Ministry of Education for their annual meeting. Torbjörn von Schantz writes in his blog that the sharing of knowledge between LU and the ministry is important, and that there are a number of issues that need to be raised to the level of government. Among other things, he brings up the need to fund MAX IV and ESS outside the Ministry of Education, and the redistribution of research funding that is unfavourable to multiple-faculty universities such as LU. “The government has announced that there will be a new research bill next year. We hope that it will include increased basic funding, as the previous administration promised. Increased basic funding would create opportunities to strengthen the underfunded first cycle programmes and courses, and give us the chance to decide for ourselves about jobs – not like today where employment goes through the research councils”, he says, stressing that increased basic funding would also create more opportunities for exploratory research.
Good grades but alarm bells from evaluation of strategic research areas (SFO)
The other week, the evaluation of all strategic research areas in Sweden (SFO) was published. LU is active in 12 of the financed projects that run during 2009–2015, and principal of 9 of them. LU received good reviews in the evaluation. The University’s nano research received the grade “excellent” on all three grading criteria. Also the areas diabetes, neuro, the Middle East, and biodiversity and ecosystem services have received good grades, which is highlighted in the vice-chancellor’s blog where he writes: “An alarm bell sets off, however, when I read the following recommendations. ‘If the government chooses to increase the universities’ basic funding, it should consider allocating part of the funds towards additional investments in strategic research areas…’ I do not believe in this for a second. When we receive increased basic funding – which is extremely important to the University – we must have the opportunity to decide ourselves how to use it. Basic funding cannot be earmarked for SFOs or similar activities”.
LU active to bring in more South Korean students
Eva Wiberg (deputy vice-chancellor) has been to South Korea, along with other Swedish higher education institutions, to discuss research and education with her Korean colleagues, but also to meet both the alumni and prospective students. South Korea is one of the countries with the highest number of students in other countries, but relatively few of them come to Sweden. In her blog, the deputy vice-chancellor writes that she met four Korean students who have received scholarships to study in Sweden for the very purpose of increasing interest in studies in the country, and one of them will be attending Lund University. Learn more on the deputy vice-chancellor’s blog
Consensus on future challenges
Student participation, study places, housing shortages, and problems with diversity were some of the issues that the chair of Lund University Students’ Unions (LUS), Oskar Styf, brought up during the traditional students’ address to the vice-chancellor on 1 May. Torbjörn von Schantz says in his blog that there is considerable agreement on what is to be achieved in the future.
The academic celebration of the year is approaching
This year’s doctoral conferment ceremony takes place on 29 May. This is the major academic event for the faculties. During a solemn ceremony at Lund Cathedral, doctors who, in the last year, have completed their third cycle studies and defended their doctoral thesis at Lund University, receive recognition. Learn more at the LU webpage
Rainbow flag hoisted on the IDAHOT day
Dating back a couple of years, LU acknowledges the IDAHOT day – the International Day against Homophobia and Transphobia. That day (18 May) commences with the hoisting of the rainbow flag at the University building, followed by lectures and seminars throughout the entire day. Learn more at the LU webpage
Open seminar on the MOOC project
During the spring, LU has offered three Massive Open Online Courses (MOOC), which have had tens of thousands of participants world-wide. Now, we know more about who these participants are, and how they have utilised the course content. This will be presented during an open seminar on 27 May. At the seminar, project managers, educational development officers, and representatives from the three courses, will talk about the experiences of teaching these first courses, and what developing and running an open online course really entails. They will also show examples of data that has been collected during the courses. Learn more on the MOOC project blog
The new Staff Pages is launched
The first part of the new Staff Pages – the English-speaking version of Medarbetarwebben – has been launched. Staff Pages will be launched gradually as the Swedish content is translated into English. Learn more on the Staff Pages
Higher education news
“The money for higher education is a drop in the bucket”
“The SEK 250 million per year in increased investments in higher education, which the government has promised, is a drop in the bucket” a representative from the Swedish Confederation of Professional Associations (Saco) writes in an opinion piece in Svenska Dagbladet. Saco is now calling for new policies on higher education. In the article, they write that they have figured out what this investment means: “It is not quality enhancement – it is a drop in the bucket. We ask ourselves how much difference 250 million makes to a sector with a turnover of about 60 billion a year. The government’s investment represents approximately 4 per thousand of the University’s annual budget”, they say, and offer a calculation of how this will not go very far. Helene Hellmark Knutsson, minister for higher education and research, responds with saying that the government has inherited large deficits, but higher education is a priority, even in a constrained financial situation. She stresses that the government not only invests in quality enhancement, but also in creating 14 300 new study places.
“Certain construction regulations can solve the student housing crisis”
Student organisations and student housing companies, including Sebastian Persson (vice-chair of LUS), write, in an opinion piece in Dagens Nyheter: “With rules specific to student housing, and a greater diversity as to what the housing may look like, the acute housing crisis can be solved”. They claim there are many initiatives to solve the acute shortage, but in order for them to succeed, there is a need for construction and management rules that are specific to student housing. This could also create more diversity in the construction. There is also a need to speed up processing time, and improve collaboration among municipalities and educational institutions.