News from the University Management, 6 October
On the management’s agenda
“Contract education is to be developed”
Associate professor Agneta Blom was given the task to investigate the conditions for developing the University’s contract education. This is a good starting point for the continued development of our contract education, writes the vice-chancellor in his blog. Contract education is an important strategic issue for Lund University, and when a report shows that there are deficiencies within the organisation, there is reason to take action. According to Agneta Blom, one of the deficiencies is that no one knows to what extent contract education is conducted at LU. We need key performance indicators and a clear strategy. “An important part of the coming work will be to firmly establish contract education at the departments, with support from the deans. We need to conduct more outreach work and analyses of society’s needs with regard to contract education”, writes Torbjörn von Schantz. Read more in LUM
“Budget characterised by a strong economy”
The Government’s budget bill includes numerous investments in several areas. “The additional investments that Lund University can enjoy are those made in health and social care, continuing education initiatives, and what the Government calls “The Swedish Village Action Movement”, which includes the planning of municipal learning centres offering online courses, adult education, and higher education. I believe widening participation efforts can be included in this context, and perhaps also vocational programmes”, writes the vice-chancellor in his blog. The bill also includes an increased number of study places. In total, Lund University will receive more than SEK 26 million for education in 2018.
Sylvia Schwaag Serger appointed new deputy vice-chancellor
On 20 September, the University Board decided to appoint Sylvia Schwaag Serger to the position of deputy vice-chancellor, starting 1 January 2018. Schwaag Serger is currently responsible for international strategy at Vinnova and works as an adjunct professor at Lund University’s School of Economics and Management. Read more in LUM
Number of digital exams to increase
As part of the implementation of the 2016–2018 action plan for the development of e-learning, the University will test a new digital exam tool over a two-year period. “We expect to launch the pilot project in early 2018 and, within two years, we believe that 25–30 per cent of all exams will be digital”, writes the vice-chancellor in his blog. The benefits include that this will free up time for both teaching staff and students, as well as facilitate the students’ request for anonymised exams.
Nominate candidates for the Administrative Prize
Staff and students at Lund University have the opportunity to nominate candidates for the 2018 Lund University Administrative Prize. Through this prize, the University Management wants to call attention to the tremendous efforts made within the administration in all parts of the University. The nomination deadline is 23 October. For more information, please visit Staff Pages
Science week on the University of the future
On 16 October, the science week “The University of the Future” will commence, as part of Lund University 350th anniversary celebrations. The packed programme includes the Sustainability Forum’s seminar and workshop entitled “Sustainable Universities of the Future” in which pro vice-chancellor Bo-Anders Jönsson and university director Susanne Kristensson will participate. The week also features a cookalong on 16 October, in which researchers, chefs and entrepreneurs will enter into a creative cooking exercise based on science. Read more about the science week on the jubilee webpages and in the LU calendar
Jayne Svenungsson is made new member of the Swedish Academy
Jayne Svenungsson is Sweden’s first female professor of systematic theology. She will take over author Torgny Lindgren’s seat, number nine, in the Swedish Academy at its formal gathering on 20 December.
Higher education news
Higher education institutions in major cities produce less research
Higher education institutions in major cities produce less frequently cited research, compared to higher education institutions elsewhere. The explanation for the result could be that the best staff and students are deterred by the high costs of renting and living. This has been argued by researchers from Utrecht University in the Netherlands, and written about in the international newsletter of the Association of Swedish Higher Education (SUHF). The researchers have analysed research results from 750 universities. “The analysis shows that higher education institutions in major cities do not produce more frequently cited articles than other higher education institutions, and that, if anything, the number decreases the larger the population. This is directly contrary to the common perception that major cities offer a positive research environment”, writes SUHF.
The benefits of higher education remain high
According to OECD’s annual report “Education at a Glance”, the benefits of higher education remain high but vary depending on the field of study. However, universities have not succeeded in offering students, or encouraging them to choose, study paths which will lead to the greatest opportunities on the labour market. Read more on the OECD website
“Decreasing academic freedom”
Academic freedom is decreasing in several European countries. Researchers’ freedom to choose their own research issues, and to publish and comment on results is decreasing in Europe. Sweden, however, ranks high in these comparisons, according to Tidningen Curie. But in terms of institutional freedom, Sweden is among the worst in Europe. A UK study has compared the legislation in 28 EU countries with regard to the freedom to conduct research and teach, autonomy from the state, collegial rule and employment security. In this comparison, Sweden is ranked 23 out of 28. This result is affected by the fact that the academic freedom is not regulated in the Swedish Code of Statutes. Another significant factor is that the vice-chancellors and the majority of the board members of higher education institutions are appointed by the Government.