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Why do we teach?

2016-02-05

”A university without research is a bad university. A university without teaching is no university at all!”

This is a quote from the Rector Magnificus at Twente University in the Netherlands, during a discussion we had at their recent visit to LTH. I agree entirely with his statement. Our most important job is to educate, and our biggest contribution to society is the group of well-educated people who graduate from our programmes. But how do we really see it? Which tasks are prioritised? What do we promote?

Over the Christmas break I read Carl-Gustaf Andrén’s book about Swedish universities’ development after 1940, and he highlights this issue when he talks about our choice of words. For example, we talk about things like our teaching burden and how we try to buy ourselves out of it to free up time for research. I’m not saying I don’t think research is important. It is greatly important, not least to ensure our courses develop and that we are teaching the latest in our respective fields. It is also important because it gives rise to new results, new innovations, new companies etc. But without students there is no university!

When I became Dean just over a year ago, I thought I could probably combine the two. I have, however, had to cut down both on teaching and research time. That was not my intention, but it became unavoidable. I still have a few PhD students and I try to supervise, but I am lucky to have colleagues who are able to help out. It’s always possible to squeeze in a bit of time here and there for discussions and to read articles etc. However, being responsible for a course with a set schedule is more difficult, and in the end the students would suffer. But it’s something I miss doing. I try to give a few guest lectures, so please just ask!

I’m currently following the “Harrison debate” online from San Francisco, but I’m not going to get into all that. I just want to say that the picture that Dick Harrison paints is not one that I can identify with here at LTH. There is a lack of resources in education that can have big consequences for society as a whole in the future. But let us make the most of the situation now and try our best to affect change!

I would like to say a big thank you to everyone who is involved with our undergraduate programmes, always working to give our students the very best of everything. We are now starting up our new undergraduate programmes organization and need lots of dedicated people. If you don’t already have a role, perhaps it’s time to take one?

Viktor Öwall
Dean of the Faculty of Engineering LTH


2017-10-20

There’s a lot of talk about digitalisation right now. What do we really mean by the term, and is it something new? Although the meaning of the term partly depends on who you ask, we can all agree that information and services are...[more]


2017-09-13

After a quiet summer in Lund and at LTH, it is full of life again. Students are everywhere and it is bursting with activity. Over the past two weeks, I have had the pleasure of welcoming LTH's new students in both Lund and...[more]


2017-06-28

Lund University hosted a seminar in conjunction with the state visit of the King and Queen of Sweden to Indonesia. [more]


2017-04-04

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...[more]


2017-03-14

External engagement is part of the life-blood of LTH. We educate primarily for the business sector and wider society, although some of our students stay in academia. This provision of skills is, in my opinion, our most important...[more]


2017-02-22

It is time to get back to blogging after the weekend and a trip to the US. This year I will also try to post more frequently.  Both in California, where I was last week, and here at home you constantly hear how hard it is...[more]


2016-12-01

Today we see, hear and read a lot about fact-resistance, that is, the approach of not letting yourself be affected by information that goes against your own opinion. The clearest examples of this today are the campaigns before...[more]


2016-09-22

LTH is one of the faculties at Lund University that is considered to be single-gendered. This discussion focuses mainly on the number of female professors – a figure that at LTH is around 15 per cent, although the proportions...[more]


2016-09-14

Now all the students are back and the campus is fizzing with life. It feels great to get going again!Over the summer, there was a debate in Sydsvenskan about the fact that John E Franzén’s magnificent work “Cadillac Eldorado”,...[more]


2016-08-19

Today we held an introduction for nearly 600 international Master’s and exchange students from around 50 different countries. The vibe was extremely positive, and the auditorium was filled with expectations and hopes. The energy...[more]


2016-06-29

The time just before summer is a time for graduation ceremonies and various forms of festivities. We began with our graduation ceremony in the main University building on 20 May, where more than 110 Bachelor’s and Master’s...[more]


2016-06-01

Once a year, the management of the Faculty of Engineering (LTH) invites members of the Swedish Parliament from Skåne to discuss and exchange ideas. Apparently, we once also had a tradition of inviting politicians from the Lund...[more]


2016-05-20

Almost a year ago to the day, I asked the question “Where were you?” in my blog. That was after the talks given by last year’s Honorary Doctors, which were very interesting but sadly not as well attended as I’d hoped. It got me...[more]


2016-05-04

As I once wrote in my blog, I think everyone who works at the Faculty of Engineering LTH can use the motto:  - Ask not what LTH can do for you, but what you can do for LTH. When the new organisation was presented the other...[more]


2016-03-11

In my last blog post I brought up the importance of the ‘open’ university and having an open dialogue with the surrounding community, and wrote: “We don’t know how the world will develop over the course of our students’ careers,...[more]


2016-02-29

Last week kicked off with the first Science and Innovation Talks event at Tetra Pak. It’s an initiative with the aim of creating new touch-points between private companies and the university’s researchers. Olaf Diegel, Professor...[more]


2015-10-30

As two of Lund University’s deans, we react strongly to Thomas Frostberg’s column published 24 October. The column, entitled “The university’s innovation initiative back to the past”, gives an account of the university’s review...[more]


2015-10-28

September was a month full of travel. It started with a meeting about ESS in Bilbao, where I represented Lund University. There is plenty going on with ESS right now, and it’s high time for a strategic collaboration – not just at...[more]


2015-09-21

Last Friday Akademiska Hus hosted an opening ceremony for the new decks down at the campus lake “sjön Sjön”. I have to say it looks fantastic. Thank you! Along with Helsingkrona’s new building, it feels like the engineering...[more]


2015-09-01

It’s wonderful to see the engineering campus full of life again! Last week we had the pleasure of welcoming all of our new students at the Faculty of Engineering LTH. As I left for the Union Building shortly before 8am last...[more]


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Viktor Öwall
Dean of the Faculty of Engineering LTH

Viktor's book recommendations