News from the University management 3 June
On the management’s agenda
“We can’t simply wait for more funding”
For many years, the University has stressed to the Government the need for increased funding, to avoid the clear risk of a declining quality of education. “However, it is unlikely that we will receive more funding in the near future‒ at least, there are no such indications from the ministry. We will obviously continue to point out the consequences of the eroded direct government funding, but at the same time, we cannot allow ourselves to end up in a situation where we simply wait for more funding to come. Instead we must try to make the best of the situation”, writes the Vice-Chancellor in his blog, calling for closer collaboration between the faculties through joint priorities and by taking joint responsibility.
Academic freedom is fundamental
“The University develops and disseminates knowledge. This is what the public and we ourselves have assigned us to do. A fundamental condition to be able to do so is academic freedom – the right to choose your own research issue. The University’s remit is completely dependent on the capacity for analysis, innovation, commitment and educational success of individual researchers and teaching staff”, writes the Vice-Chancellor in his blog. Meanwhile, there is a lack of boundary-crossing collaboration. Despite the enormous breadth in Lund, researchers often have more contact with their colleagues abroad than with those from other disciplines just across the street. “This is as it should be. The research community is international and the development of knowledge does not care about nation borders. But as Vice-Chancellor, I can’t help but be fascinated by the thought of what could happen if the awareness across disciplinary boundaries would increase”, writes Torbjörn von Schantz, stressing that the University has a great potential for interdisciplinary development that is not fully utilised.
Draft of the new Strategic Plan for the University Board
Pro Vice-Chancellor Bo Ahrén has just finalised the draft of the new Strategic Plan for the period 2017–2026, which will be presented to the University Board on 22 June. In his blog, Torbjörn von Schantz points out that working with a strategic plan in the context of a knowledge-generating organisation is not easy, as such an organisation is entirely dependent on the individual staff members’ ideas and analysis. “The University management can set goals, but only in a way that ensures that individual employees maintain their initiative and drive. The goals must therefore be comprehensive and focus on knowledge development. I believe the key to success lies in our ability to communicate within and between departments, faculties, and the University management, as well as with our international partners. In order for us to be able to make informed decisions, I hope for a close and open cooperation with the faculties”, writes the Vice-Chancellor, who requests taking joint responsibility at all levels.
228 conferred doctorates
The major University celebration – the Doctoral Degree Conferment Ceremony – took place last Friday, at which a total of 228 new doctoral degrees were conferred, about half of them to women. The event also included the conferment of 23 jubilee doctorates and 19 honorary doctorates. See slideshow from the conferment ceremony here
Major grants from the Crafoord Foundation
Lund University was awarded 53 out of the total of a little more than SEK 60 million from the Crafoord Foundation in the form of research grants. SEK 23 million was allocated for research in medicine, SEK 23 million for engineering and science, and SEK 14 million for the humanities, social sciences, economics and law.
LU arranges special courses for school staff about new arrival reception
In 2015, more than 160,000 refugees, including more than 70,000 children, applied for asylum in Sweden. To ensure that they receive a secure education and future in their new country, the Swedish school system needs to invest to develop the skills of school staff concerning reception. That is the standpoint of the Swedish National Agency for Education, which has now assigned Lund University to arrange two continuing professional development courses: “Paths to Learning for New Arrivals” and “Teaching Newly Arrived Pupils”. Read more on the LU web
Higher education news
More higher education entrants with an international background
According to new statistics from the Swedish Higher Education Authority (UKÄ), the proportion of higher education entrants with a non-Swedish background continues to increase. “During the academic year 2014/15, students with a non-Swedish background (not including visiting/exchange students) accounted for 20 per cent of all new higher education entrants. The previous year, the proportion was 19 per cent, and 10 years ago, it was 16 per cent”, writes UKÄ on its website.
Increased pressure on University teaching staff
The demands on University teaching staff have increased, with more administrative duties and more students. Trade unions, among others, now testify to how deficiencies in the system lead to deterioration in quality, writes Curie. “Over the years, the financial contributions per student from the Government have declined. One way for universities to solve this problem is to accept more students. However, this means that teaching staff have less time for each student. Meanwhile, more people than ever pursue university studies, and less experienced students often require more help and support”, says Carl Falck, union lawyer of the Swedish Association of University Teachers (SULF), to Curie.