In the previous blog post, I discussed cooperation and earlier that LTH is training people for future professions. But within what fields are we cooperating and what exactly are we training people for?
LTH recently approved its strategic plan, and at the same time, we have been working on a communication strategy. Both Lund University’s and the LTH’s strategic plans mention global challenges and how these are to be a guiding light. Are we doing this because it’s trendy and topical? Possibly, but I think it stems more from a desire to be relevant. We know that the world is facing major challenges in several sectors: water, energy, climate, urban development, etc., etc., etc. These challenges are sometimes questioned, and when I wrote about resistance to facts I raised the issue of our obligation to provide a counter-example! At the same time, our society is changing with digitisation and new production methods such as 3D printing, new packaging and developments within transport. We must participate and generate new expertise! So we are to be relevant, whatever we mean by that.
So much interesting work is being done at LTH. But does it show? Do you know about it? Do politicians and decision-makers know about our expertise? Do we feel relevant? This is important for us! This is why our new communication strategy is going to help up highlight what we do. We want, both internally and externally, to provide the right entry points to what you are looking for. Today, it is not easy to find your way around the departments at LTH and to understand where to go if you have a question about water, for example. We want to change that! I am convinced that it can create new interfaces and increase opportunities for collaboration. I am also convinced that it can generate interest in our students, both current and future. It could make our alumni feel even prouder about their Alma Mater, which would not be so bad either!
But what does it mean to be relevant? Doing something to meet a need we have identified today, or one that we foresee in the future? That is certainly true, but there are other things that can make us relevant, perhaps not today but tomorrow.
There are the slightly mad ideas for which we do not know whether there is a solution. The interesting questions which appears to lack "relevance". These too must be allowed space within a University which sees itself as world-leading and brilliant! This is where we can generate disruptive and really innovative thinking. Maybe we can borrow a quote from the great American poet Robert Frost:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.
Let us show that we are relevant, but also allow room for the seemingly irrelevant.
Dean of the Faculty of Engineering, LTH
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