It has now been three weeks since I took on the role of dean of the Faculty of Engineering, LTH, and I suppose it is time to start my own dean’s blog, as many have encouraged me to do. I have previously managed to avoid this as head of the Department of Electrical and Information Technology, by starting a book recommendation blog instead. But it now feels like I have to take the bull by the horns, especially as Lund University’s Vice-Chancellor, Torbjörn von Schantz, came out strong on 1 January with his blog, and has managed several posts since then. One of his posts was about the positive atmosphere at his first leadership team meeting, and I can attest to that. He stated that “the leadership team is in complete agreement regarding the importance of sticking to reporting lines in our decision making process”, and this is a principle I will implement at the Faculty of Engineering as well.
Yesterday we thanked Anders Axelsson for his seven years as dean, an event that also felt like a starting point for me. Anders and I have had a great handover period, which is not over yet, as Anders has promised to continue to provide information and advice when I need it. My first blog post is an edited version of the speech I gave to present the management team’s vision for the Faculty of Engineering. Here it is:
The Faculty of Engineering, LTH is amazing, and I am honoured to lead this organisation, even though I am still not entirely sure what I have let myself in for. Perhaps that is just as well – if I had known, I might not have taken the job.
The Faculty of Engineering is doing well on many fronts. We have plenty of applicants to our programmes, and plenty of research grants. But as I see it, we are not fully utilising our potential. To do so, we need to increase collaboration between teachers, administrators and students, to make sure we are all working together towards the same goal. We need to eliminate the ‘us and them’ culture that unfortunately exists in many places. We have to try to demolish our mental barriers. One way to accomplish this is to get a better understanding of each other’s situations. Let’s work on that!
Our research is largely very successful, but are we aware of that within the faculty? Are others at the university, or members of the public, aware of that? I spent November and December visiting with the department heads and heard about lots of exciting things I was not previously aware of. As a result of my visits, there are already discussions happening regarding a collaboration project between the Department of Electrical and Information Technology and the Department of Mechanical Engineering. Let’s get better at realising our full potential for future research collaborations. We will also get better at showcasing to the wider public all of our exciting research and the innovations and businesses it has led to.
Articles in the press over the past while have not given the public a particularly positive image of Lund University. We need to present the other side of the coin – all the amazing work that is being done within both education and research. We have to do this together!
We are also facing some big challenges, the most pressing of which is the financing of our undergraduate programmes. Education is, in my opinion, our most important mission. The management team and I will work tirelessly to solve this issue.
We have enormous potential, not least when it comes to the large research facilities ESS and Max IV. There are not many places in the world that can boast such world-class facilities on their doorstep. Let us make sure that Lund University and the Faculty of Engineering make the most of it!
The Faculty of Engineering’s management team and I are looking forward to working with you for a brighter future for the Faculty of Engineering, LTH and Lund University.
Dean of the Faculty of Engineering, LTH
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