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Newsletter from the University management 2 November

On the management’s agenda

Business and Industry Council to strengthen the ties with the business community…

Innovation and external engagement are key issues for the University, so the Vice-Chancellor has initiated a Business and Industry Council, which will meet for the first time on 17 November. Some 20 representatives in leading positions within the regional business community have been invited to meet the Vice-Chancellor, Pro Vice-Chancellor Bo Ahrén, deans of the Faculty of Engineering and the School of Economics and Management, and the Innovation Director at Lund University, to discuss various issues. “I see several advantages with this type of dialogue forum. Not only will we receive external ideas and feedback on our organisation and its activities, but the business community will also gain a natural point of contact with the University management. This is perhaps particularly important for regional development issues – more and more we see how collaboration is needed in times of change, such as when industries disappear or emerge”, writes Torbjörn von Schantz in his blog.

…and the University is to become better at inviting women

Torbjörn von Schantz writes in his blog that the purpose of the changes within innovation and external engagement “is certainly not to dismantle or impair innovation, which might be the impression one gets from the newspaper Sydsvenskan; on the contrary, we want to sharpen it, and to do that we need the work to be more firmly embedded within the organisation and at the faculty level, where the researchers and students work”. The Vice-Chancellor refers to a column by Thomas Frostberg in Sydsvenskan that criticised the fact that only three women were among those invited to become part of the upcoming Business and Industry Council. “We had internal discussions on whom to invite, and I must admit that it was more difficult to find women in leading positions than men. If we are to be self-critical, for which there is every reason, we can say that we have failed and not put enough effort into it. It could also be because women are underrepresented at the CEO level in the part of the business sector which we have invited”, writes the Vice-Chancellor, who would like Sydsvenskan’s readers to help suggest suitable women.

South Africa is a country developing to face the future

Eva Wiberg has been to South Africa, where she attended a seminar at the University of Johannesburg. The theme was how higher education must evolve to meet future challenges in South Africa and the rest of the African continent. “The seminar gave us insights into how African universities have shaped society, but also the reverse, how society has influenced and still influences the universities”, writes the Deputy Vice-Chancellor in her blog. African countries face major challenges, not least in terms of the expected population increase. “Universities have a crucial role, both in the training of future leaders and in contributing to the efforts to solve the challenges that the societies are facing with such a sharp increase in population”, continues Eva Wiberg. Read more in the Deputy Vice-Chancellor’s blog

LU news

“Top-level meeting” on European research and innovation policies

In early December, leaders within European research and innovation policies will convene at Lund University. They will follow up on the mission statement – The Lund Declaration – that was adopted in 2009 and had a major impact on EU policy. A new mission statement – The 2015 Lund Declaration – is to be presented and discussed. It is to point out possible steps forward for European research and innovation activities, aiming to provide powerful solutions for current and future societal challenges. The participants include the Swedish Minister for Higher Education and Research Helene Hellmark Knutsson, the European Commissioner for Research, Science and Innovation Carlos Moedas, and Torbjörn von Schantz. Read more on the website of the Swedish Research Council

Weight matters in focus on Research Day

The Faculty of Medicine Research Day takes place on 3 and 4 November in Malmö and Lund respectively. This year the theme is obesity, which is a growing health problem. The event is organised by the Faculty of Medicine at Lund University and Region Skåne, together with the Eric K. Fernström Foundation, and is open for all.

Debatt-i-Lund discusses Africa

On 10 November the University is organising an Africa Day, and this will end with a debate on the theme: “The new scramble for Africa’s resources – looting or development?” The continent’s natural resources are desired by many, but the question is, who is the winner in this scramble for resources? Read more about the debate in the Calendar

Higher education news

“Students do not receive enough teaching”

In a report from SULF (the Swedish Association of University Teachers) from 2012, “it was found that during the period 2001–2011, education allocations decreased between 29 and 43 per cent, depending on the discipline”, writes the president of SULF Mats Ericson in Universitetsläraren. He finds that, since then, there has been a slight increase in allocations within the areas of Humanities, Law, Social Sciences and Theology, but other than that, no actual funds have been added and the erosion continues. “However, in its recent budget proposal, the government suggests new ‘quality support’ – not only for Humanities, Law, Social Sciences and Theology, but also for studies in Education and work placements. While this is good, the increased allocations are only suggested to apply until 2018, to then be discontinued. More short-term policies!” writes Mats Ericson, who believes that the result will be that students will not receive enough teaching, while the work situation for lecturers and other staff will be increasingly stressful.

OECD is planning a new type of benchmarking system within higher education

An annual comparison between higher education systems is to be developed by OECD. The aim is to create a basis for advice to the member states of the organisation with regard to changes in national systems. The new comparisons are to replace the widely discredited Ahelo project, writes the Association of Swedish Higher Education (SUHF) in its international newsletter. Read more ont the SUHF website

MIT tries to combine MOOCs with courses on campus

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in the United States will be trying to see if some of its teaching can be provided through Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs). In a pilot project, MIT will give students the opportunity to take half of a ten-month course in the form of a MOOC, which will save the students thousands of dollars in tuition fees. It will become a sort of “try before you buy”, writes SUHF in its international newsletter. The students who perform well on the MOOC will increase their chances of being admitted to the rest of the programme offered on campus. MIT is the latest in a line of higher education institutions to offer a MOOC at low cost, as a step on the path to a degree. For those who neither can nor want to continue towards a degree, the pilot project will offer students, who have studied courses online, grades in the form of a so-called MicroMaster. Read more on the SUHF website

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