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Where were you?

2015-06-10

We’ve just had a few weeks filled with celebrations – graduation ceremonies, the doctoral conferment ceremony, diploma presentations and a range of other events. I have also had the pleasure of opening the architects’ and industrial designers’ exhibitions. It’s hard not to be impressed and feel proud of everything our students and staff have achieved!

But that’s not what the title of this blog post refers to! At this year’s doctoral conferment ceremony, LTH appointed three honorary doctors: Colin Carlile, previous MD at ESS; Martin Gren, founder of Axis; and Liesbet Van der Perre, electronics professor from Belgium. All three gave lectures and shared experiences and stories from the extraordinary lives they’ve led. We were worried the lecture theatres we’d booked weren’t big enough! Unfortunately such worries were completely unnecessary.

This got me thinking about where we meet – within the university, with industry representatives and the general public. Where and how do we create places to meet? Where do we meet outside of our own, often narrow, fields? How do we generate a cross-disciplinary dialogue?

These conversations and meetings often happen by coincidence, but we must actively create more opportunities for them to occur! These often coincidental meetings can lead to new ideas and new constellations. I believe many of us think this is important.

The honorary doctors’ lectures could have been such an opportunity, but sadly the opportunity was missed. Had we not advertised enough? That might have been a contributing factor, and I welcome all suggestions for how we can improve going forward. But what about personal factors? I know all the excuses and have used them myself – don’t have time, diary is full, not my area, etc. etc. etc. But we all need inspiration and we all need to meet! How can we help to create interesting opportunities to achieve just that?

We often talk about the benefits of being a ‘full-scale’ university comprising ‘all’ subject areas and faculties. We work well together with private industry and the general public. But do we make full use of our potential? I don’t think we do.

We even have difficulties meeting across departmental and faculty boundaries within the university! We senior researchers have to show our colleagues that we think this is important. How will we otherwise help our students broaden their horizons and take part in the academic conversation? I believe this to be an incredibly important aspect of their education and of our own development.

I’m asking the question, but I don’t have the answer. Let us do better!

So, where were you?

Let me know if you have any bright ideas!

Viktor Öwall
Dean of the Faculty of Engineering LTH
viktor.owall@rektor.lth.se


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Viktor Öwall
Dean of the Faculty of Engineering LTH

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