News from the University management, 26 October
On the management’s agenda
Don’t miss the open vice-chancellor’s management council meeting!
On Thursday, the vice-chancellor’s management council will, for the first time, be opening its doors to all staff and students in an open seminar, entitled “Vice-chancellor’s management council – live!”. In the Palaestra building, the management council will discuss a number of future issues, and all those who are interested are welcome to come to listen, discuss or ask questions directly to the council members.
New dean of Campus Helsingborg
“I am incredibly pleased to present the new dean of Campus Helsingborg, Annika Olsson. She is already well established as a researcher in Helsingborg and has been a major part of the external engagement taking place there, which was not least apparent when she was presented as the new dean during the industry meeting in Helsingborg”, writes Torbjörn von Schantz in his blog. The meeting included not only industry but political and municipal representatives and deans from higher education institutions operating in Helsingborg. “The business community is in every way interested in collaborative development in Helsingborg and our discussions and conversations are extremely rewarding. I usually say that external engagement depends on places where people can meet, and in Helsingborg they have succeeded in finding such places”, writes the Vice-Chancellor.
50 years of collaboration with California
Lund University, spearheaded by Deputy Vice-Chancellor Eva Wiberg, was in California last week celebrating the 50th anniversary of the exchange programme, the University of California Education Abroad Program (UCEAP). This is LU’s oldest exchange agreement and the largest in volume, with more than 4 000 participants over the years. Some 150 people attended the celebration, including some of the oldest alumni. In connection with the trip Eva Wiberg also took the opportunity to visit the partner universities University of California Berkeley (UCB) and UCLA, and there was even time for an alumni event in San Francisco, she writes on her blog. Read more on the Deputy Vice-chancellor’s blog
The Government is not to micromanage
“The recent government decision, spearheaded by minister Helene Hellmark Knutsson, is both surprising and irritating”, writes the vice-chancellor in his blog. It concerns the Swedish Government determining whether or not Dalarna University is to have one or two campuses. “The Government is now openly pursuing local and regional policies by micromanaging the organisation and location of higher education institutions. This is right in the middle of an ongoing debate where more and more people within the sector are concerned that the autonomy of higher education institutions is threatened by having their respective decision-making bodies controlled by special interests and lobby groups”, he writes and continues: “Higher education institutions are not to be used as pawns in a political game to secure local and regional voter support”.
“We must maintain the public dialogue”
“What does a wide-spread resistance to facts mean to us as a university, and how do we face this phenomenon?”, asks Torbjörn von Schantz in his blog. The changed media landscape has an impact on society, and is currently headed towards more easy clicks and thus less room for analysis and longer reasoning texts like the ones often produced by researchers. The question is how researchers and universities are to fulfil their democratic assignment and inform the public in this new landscape. One example is media resource “The Conversation”, run according to journalistic principles but funded by research funding bodies and higher education institutions. “The Conversation allows researchers to gain further qualifications by publishing in this forum, while serving as a melting pot for knowledge and analysis. All of its material can be read and reused freely by the media and the public”, writes the vice-chancellor.
Donations make a big difference
“A while back, the University Board decided to let our foundations highlight our upcoming 350th anniversary by next year granting an additional SEK 20 million, to a total of SEK 85 million”, writes the vice-chancellor in his blog. In sum, there are 700 foundations which have developed over many years, whose proceeds go towards research and educational purposes. “There are many incredible and dedicated people who want to contribute to the University’s education, research and development. Behind these donations there may be a life-long relationship with the University or a major wish to contribute to the production of new knowledge that can improve our world”, writes Torbjörn von Schantz.
Core values discussions stir many emotions
“Having a real eureka moment during a visit at Lund University from the government’s core values delegation may seem unexpected”, writes the vice-chancellor in his blog. However, this was the case when the delegation presented its core values: democracy, legality, objectivity, freedom of opinion, the equal value of every person, and efficiency and service. “What the core values delegation has done is to simply fish out what has already been included in various Swedish laws. In other words, these are no arbitrary thoughts on how we are to be perceived, and not something for us to consider whether it applies to us or not. Simply put, it is the law”, writes the vice-chancellor in his blog.
Restricted areas during the Pope’s visit to Lund
Pope Francis’s visit to Lund on Monday 31 October will affect the entire city. The visit will take place on the occasion of the joint Catholic and Lutheran recognition of the 500th anniversary of the Reformation, and a large number of people are expected to visit the city on this day. The royal family will be receiving the Pope inside the King’s House and, on this particular day, some parts of Lundagård will be completely closed, including the main University building and the Historical Museum. Monday it may be difficult for suppliers to deliver parcels, fruit baskets, catering etc., and not only within the Lundagård area. Therefore, discuss the situation with your supplier in advance.
Seminar series in view of the Pope’s visit
In view of the Pope’s visit, this week the Centre for Theology and Religious Studies (CTR) is organising a seminar series on the theme “Pope Francis: Faith, politics, the Reformation”.
Nominate candidates for the Administrative Prize
Lund University’s Administrative Prize is awarded every year to a University employee for outstanding administrative efforts of an innovative nature that have contributed to the University’s development or for extraordinary service and efficiency. All Lund University staff and students may nominate candidates for the award. Read more on the Staff Pages
Register for the opening of the 350th anniversary celebration
Lund University’s 350th anniversary jubilee will begin on Monday 19 December. You are all welcome to come celebrate, but remember to register as there will be limited seating at the dinner.
Higher education news
Billions spent on applications
“European universities may have spent EUR 1.4 billion on non-approved applications for the EU research programme Horizon 2020, according to calculations made by the European University Association (EUA)”, writes the Association of Swedish Higher Education (SUHF) in its international newsletter. In a survey, the universities were asked to estimate the average amount spent on applications, taking into account both time and money. The results showed that the average application costs EUR 50 000 (or SEK 487 000). The EUA survey showed that a corresponding 30–50 per cent of the funding the countries receive from Horizon 2020 is used to finance the processing of their applications – regardless if they are approved or not. In the first 100 rounds of applications for the Horizon 2020 programme, more than 30 000 applications were received in total, of which 4 315 were approved, that is, 14 per cent. Thomas Estermann from the EUA finds the low approval rate devastating and extremely inefficient, and that there’s a risk that it discourages researchers from applying for EU funding.
“Today’s vice-chancellors must be proactive”
The journal Curie has published a series of articles on the demands placed on today’s vice-chancellors in the world of higher education. Kåre Bremer, chair of a government inquiry and former vice-chancellor at Stockholm University, argues that in recent years the demands have changed. He says he wants to see leaders who are good listeners, who dare to make clear prioritisations and who can endure criticism. He argues that it is no longer possible to simply let the activities proceed as usual, and that not being proactive will be a major disadvantage to the education institution. Furthermore, it is important to have a vice-chancellor who is also a successful researcher. “Major universities have many unruly professors, and a recognised experienced researcher will be shown more respect in their role as vice-chancellor than one who is less experienced, and thereby have an easier time managing the institution. Research from the UK shows a clear relationship between a vice-chancellor with research experience and a successful higher education institution”, he says in Curie.
“Is higher education and research in the Nordic region in crisis?”
“According to the Times Higher Education (THE), the Nordic countries’ good reputation in higher education is threatened by financial cuts and restructuring”, writes the Association of Swedish Higher Education (SUHF) in its international newsletter. THE argues that the Nordic countries are often appreciatively referred to when discussing financing of and gender equality in higher education, but in these financially difficult times, Nordic higher education institutions are thretened as well. Denmark, Iceland and Finland have all announced that they will be making cuts. “THE argues that in Sweden these cuts have yet to take place; however, the amount of funding has levelled off”, writes SUHF.