A brief thank you note

In building our university faculty, many things are of course important. One such example is the ambition to create complete academic environments (see more on this in a previous post here). Another example is to work strategically with the target groups of our academic environment. As the University Law in Sweden prescribes, we as a university have two main  tasks, i.e., (1.) education, and (2.) research. Thus, I think that it is fair to say the students is our main target group. Actually, and if I may elaborate a bit, future students, as well as, existing students form our main focal group of attention. It is especially the work on attracting future students at TS that I want to highlight in this post.

For the first time in the history of TS, Teknikdagen — a seminar day for our future university faculty students — was arranged yesterday here in the Niagara building. Teknikdagen included high school students (gymnasielever), as well as, their teachers from education programs in technology and natural sciences from all across Skåne. Teknikdagen offered inspiring talks from former TS students, as well as, live examples from our degree programs presented by our existing students, and seminars given by members of the staff here at TS. Also, two students, Nilo from the byggingenjörs-program and Sara from the app dev program, served as excellent hosts. In my humble opinion, this first version of Teknikdagen was a great success, and something we need to build on for the second version of it, which I sincerely hope will take place next fall.

Having said all this, I would like to particularly thank the following persons for their dedicated work on arranging the first Teknikdagen:

Daniel Harju, Communications Officer, TS and MAU

Filippa Törnwall, Communications Officer, MAU

Maria Crona, Communications Officer, MAU

Christian Andersson, Lecturer, MTM

Carl Johan Gribel, Ass. Professor, DVMT

Ylva Mellbin, Post Doc Fellow, MTM

Kristian Stålne, Ass. Profesor, MTM

Yujing Li, Ass. Professor, MTM

Kristina Allder, Lecturer, DVMT

Bo Peterson, Head, DVMT

Henrik Hartman, Deputy Head, MTM

All the students that helped with all things, great and small

So, and obviously not so briefly: thanks!

Andreas

 

A tricky thing

One thing that I find surprisingly difficult is the topic of internal communication. How do we ensure that every staff member (regardless of whether academic or administrative staff) gets to know what’s cooking at the faculty? In the TS management group, we have had several discussions about this over last year. I have also had such discussions with the communications department, as well as, with various staff members working in or for TS. I have gained a lot of insights, but still; I have a difficult time finding a crisp general strategy.

At the same time, I am of the opinion that both decisions, as well as, communication should be handled at the closest level as to where the staff is. This also corresponds to my more general aim to further empower the departments. TS has a long tradition of being managed as one big department instead of two autonomous departments like in the case of, for instance, our sister faculty (KS), where the department level is really strong. One could of course debate wether this is a good role model for TS or not, but a conclusion that I have drawn so far is that internal communication should be taken care of at the level where it makes the most use for the people that need it, and to me; this is clearly the departments. Thus, TS departments should be generally more empowered, and specifically when it comes to internal communication. This, we already see several good examples of. We have the weekly newsletters by the section heads at DVMT and we have the Yammer group for all staff at MTM.

To complete this picture, it is also fair to say that we have a number of live meetings that could also be mentioned on this topic. There are, for instance, the APTs, all the (formal) board meetings, and we also have the TS administrative meetings, where all the persons occupying managerial positions at TS meet with all the key persons in the administrative departments working for TS to update each other with all the hot issues that we find in our daily work. At these meetings, I also try to convey an outlook from the Dean’s point of view. Much like I will henceforth do in this blog.

Speaking of which, I will at least every week try to update this blog with some personal and rather informal reflections from my point of view. My ambition is to share information and to share my interpretation of the direction in which things are moving – both at the TS level, the university level and in the world around us. I will of course do my best to do this in English, and in the future, I will also try to explore different approaches. For instance, right now, I discuss with our TS communications officer (Daniel Harju) how posts in text (such as this one) can be completed with short updates in a film-based manner. More info on this latter thought to come…

Finally, when speaking of internal communication, I would like to share one last thought. Every Monday at 10 AM, we have the TS decision meetings. On these occasions, all documents that require a signature by the Dean are handled. Typically, such documents can be employment contracts, admittance to PhD studies, research applications, distribution of funds, etc. On this URL, all the agendas and decisions can be tracked. In other words, that particular web page is a useful way to keep oneself updated about initiatives that are taken and stuff that’s going on. (N.B., we are working on a translation, but this is a typical case of the exercise of public authority and thus at least needs to be in Swedish.)

Anyways: that’s all for now. Thanks for a really good week. Have a good weekend!

Andreas

An important step

One of our main missions is to build a full research university (ett universitet). To TS, this means that we must strive to become a university faculty. Building a university faculty in Malmö means a number of things, but a concise interpretation might be borrowed from Malmö University’s strategy, and is that follows:

Long-term, nationally and internationally outstanding research which, together with doctoral education, constitutes one third of the university’s activities.
Education grounded in research, in terms of teaching methods as well as subject matter, which provides the conditions for inclusive and student-active life-long learning.
Strong, coherent and boundary-crossing international academic environments in which education, research and collaboration are integrated.

In this post, I would like to say some things about the third goal. Strong academic environments are typically characterised by education in all cycles, i.e., from BSc through MSc to PhD, and a mutually beneficial relationship between strong teaching and strong research. In many cases, especially those that concern technology and natural sciences, these environments are also marked by collaboration with actors in the society (e.g., companies) and international engagement (e.g., cooperation with researchers at unis across the world). Moreover, it is not unusual that these sorts of environments also include some kind of preparatory course (e.g., a “basår”) in order to increase the possibilities for strong student recruitment to bachelor level programs.

At TS, we are dedicated to build strong academic environments, in fact; this could just as well be said to be the overarching goal of everything that we do. To some extent, we have already come a long way in building strong academic environments. Take, for instance, DVMT, where we have educational programmes in all three cycles. In the other main academic environment at TS (MTM), we are on the move. As of the fall of 2019, we are launching a new MSc educational programme in Computational Materials Science, and the Faculty Board of TS has given us the assignment to investigate the preconditions for submitting an application for a PhD programme in an area relevant for that environment (MTM) to the Vice Chancellor. This very morning, we initiated this process.

In spite of this positive development at TS, one significant problem remains. And that is to gain a better balance between students enrolled in first cycle education and students enrolled in second cycle education. From around 4% in MSc courses as is the case today to at least 10% over the next couple of years (but in the long run, not even 10% is of course enough). To enable this transformation, we of course need more MSc programs, and as of October 15 this year, TS handed over three applications to the Vice Chancellor. Thus, the main authors of these applications deserve our heartfelt appreciation. So, while I am grateful to all the people that were involved in this work (and to all the people that will be involved in the work that comes), in this post;I would especially like to say thank you to the following three main authors:

Sara Leckner for the work on “Media Technology: Strategic Media Development”

Radu Mihailescu for the work on “Computer Science: Master in Data Science and Scientific Computing”

Patrik Berander for the work on “Digital Business and Innovation”

Let’s hope that the Programme Committee (who reviews these kinds of applications) likes the suggestions and that we can look forward to the launch of these programs in the coming years. And let’s also hope that we will hand in more applications about other types of degree programs in years to come. Building a university faculty not only requires education in all cycles, but also sensible balance between the students and the levels that they studying, as well as, an array of relevant, attractive and strategically sound educational programmes. So there are more movements that need to be done in order become a university faculty at a full research university. But for now, let’s all be very happy about the three MSc program applications. I know I am!

B.R.,

Andreas