Lena Mäler har kortklippt hår och en mönstrad blus.
Lena Mäler. Photo: Sören Andersson

The Important role of Heads of the Departments at the university

No one has been able to ignore all recent events that impact universities, including ours, in all possible ways. The terrible war between Israel and Hamas is the most important one. We all want the conflict and terrible killings of civilians to end. There are manifestations at universities around the country, also at Stockholm University, and the current situation affects all of us who work and study there (see the President's blog post (in Swedish) on the topic). On a national level there have been discussions concerning freestanding courses, whether they are good or not, as well as STEM strategies. Some questions come and go, what is for example happening to questions about lifelong learning? Academic freedom is also a topic that has been popular. Cancel culture and economic steering as prerequisites for free research have been on the agenda, and even the impact of gender balance at our universities as a factor for academic freedom has been discussed.

It would be easy to write a column about any of the above topics, international or national, and on how they affect us. This time I will however focus on our Science Area and more specifically on our Heads of Departments. Last week we had an overnight meeting where almost all of our Heads of Departments and Directors participated. We discussed several topics that will be of great importance to us in the coming years. Among these, the economic development of our Area, and the strategies for the future after "Economy in balance" was one. Another important topic was our future information strategies, with a particular focus on student recruitment. Joakim Edsjö presented a report on the Area's educational profile that has resulted in assignments to "Grundutbildningsberedningen" and "Informationsberedningen". The assignments include reviewing opportunities for educational collaboration with other universities, as well as highlighting the strong research profile and connection to the job market in our educational programs. Niclas Kolm, chairman of Informationsberedningen, attended the meeting and presented the work that the committee has identified as important for our communication strategies, in particular concerning student recruitment. The Heads of Departments also discussed procurement issues and HRSR, i.e. the European certification for the recruitment of researchers that the University has applied for. The results of these discussions will directly influence the Area's work in the future. Thanks to everyone who participated in the discussions!

I wish to continue on the theme of Heads of Departments, whose role was on the agenda at the President's meetings during the autumn semester. The Heads of Departments are the leaders who ultimately determine and realise the strategies of our Area and the University as a whole. It is at the department level that proposals for teacher recruitment are discussed, grant applications are submitted and educational programs and courses are developed and discussed. Therefore, it is with pleasure that I note that we have commited and informed Heads of Departments and Directors! In some departments, it is time to appoint new Heads, and I would therefore like to take this opportunity to thank those that have now completed their assigments  many thanks to Rodrigo Caballero, Bengt Karlsson, Magnus Mörth and Anki Östlund Farrants for your efforts!

Finally, I would like to take the opportunity to wish everyone a pleasant summer, with the hope that everyone will have a relaxing and enjoyable vacation.