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Dean's bulletin

September 2017

Dear all,

The Faculty’s sixth summer party kicked off on 24 August, with the usual mix of easy-going but memorable academic entertainment, food and drink, tower visit and music. A novelty this year was a competition involving matching ten titles of doctoral theses with various haiku poems, which was a challenge for many. The winners and correct answers will be published in the next issue of Insidan. The party attracted a record number of participants, 300, which of course confers top marks to the party organisers. My warmest thanks to the whole of the faculty office, who have planned, organised and run all the summer parties, and also to the participants in the panels, who both amused and touched us. Will there be a party next year too? We will see what happens; there will be a new faculty management that could well have new ideas, and why not? Regular renewal is a positive thing.
The current deans will indeed be leaving their positions at the turn of the year, after six years at the helm. Bo-Anders will focus on his role as pro vice-chancellor whereas Almut and I will return to our research. The new deans have been elected and are preparing for their assignments, and I feel secure with Sven, Karin and Anders taking over. I am completely certain that they will do a fantastic job. Karin has already started, to partially cover for Bo-Anders who has a lot on his plate. She has therefore been appointed as vice dean during the second half of this year and will take part in the work on the faculty’s first and second cycle education.
The upper management (heads of department, deans and vice-chancellor) at a university can be compared to politicians, insofar as they are elected for a limited term of office. Unlike politicians, whose dream is often to be endlessly re-elected, university managers normally hold their positions for two terms of office, i.e. six years, before being replaced. The system could appear inefficient, but in fact it is wise and sound. We who accept these assignments were not attracted to the university world primarily out of an ambition to work as managers, but it can be interesting and rewarding if you know that the assignment is time-limited and that you will be able to continue as a lecturer and researcher after a number of years. At the same time, it is important for academic managers to have strong roots in, and understanding of, our core activities, in order to take the decisions that really develop these activities in the right direction. The current deans have all maintained their commitment to their own research, on a more modest scale of course but nevertheless, very much thanks to the faculty’s encouragement and support. The new deans will do the same, and I am glad this is the case.
So how do we make the transition from the departing management team to the new one as smooth and efficient as possible? Even in academia, some outgoing managers sometimes give it their all in the final stages of their term of office, taking lots of last-minute decisions. This outgoing management team will not do so, however. Since the election, we have been in continuous contact with the new deans, and we make sure to check in with them on both minor and major matters. Furthermore, all three of them have solid experience of various management assignments at the faculty. Sven and Karin participate as heads of department in the faculty’s management council, and have influenced the decisions taken over recent years. The new management will make its own mark on the faculty’s activities, which is how it should be. It will be fine.


Olov Sterner, dean


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