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Dean's bulletin, 12 April 2021

Dear all,

It has rarely felt so enticing to look ahead. Carpe diem and all that, but aren’t we all hopeful that the future will be a little more varied than today’s Covid-19 routines. It is therefore time to look forward! We have been informed about the RQ20 report in small chunks for almost six months, but now we have been able to enjoy both the substantial final printed report and the digital “RQ20 Report Launch Webinar”. So, what happens now? It is time to look ahead.

Of course, the aim of RQ20 is to assist self-help and the conclusions of the RQ20 report will influence the work of the Management Council in the spring. Your heads of department have been tasked to critically and self-critically account for the conclusions of the subject-specific panels. The panels give us an external perspective on our activities and this has a special value. It does not necessarily provide any objective truth, but it does give us something new. It is important that we use the conclusions to form our own opinion of where we stand and what can be improved.

I have also asked the heads of department to take a position on the conclusions of the transversal panels. Management, organisation, recruitment, external engagement and strategic research areas have all been subject to an evaluation and there is rich material from this to work on. We need to discuss the relationship between line management and collegiality, the pros and cons of hierarchical versus flat organisations, how we allocate funds for infrastructure and recruitment, and not least how we are organised in departments and divisions. Our faculty is a product of conscious decisions but also a development beyond our control. Change provides an opportunity to remake and do things differently, but it costs time, money and work, so we shall effect changes at a sustainable rate with a reflective but forward-looking approach.

There are also other things that give us reason to look forward. After just over a year in the grip of Covid-19, we can start to anticipate that a turning point will come. The spring of 2021 has hardly been better than the spring of 2020 but perhaps autumn 2021 may be better than autumn 2020. We will soon build a new normality together. It will look different to how things are now as well as how things were before. We need to look forward and think about what the situation will be like, how we want it to be and what is needed to take us there.

On April 7, the Faculty Board talked about campus development. When the establishment of activities in Brunnshög picks up speed there will be new opportunities at Sölvegatan. It is time to look ahead to that. The work on Brunnshög is only a part of our campus development. There are major changes in front of us and now it is a matter of making the best of them. The reports from RQ20 give us no ready answers, but new ideas. The explosion in remote working during the pandemic has been a challenge, but also gives us impetus. The campus development work made possible in connection with the establishment of activities in Brunnshög is no guarantee of renewal, but a chance we must have the courage to take. Overall, our opportunities to redo and renew have not been so great for a very long time. It has rarely felt so enticing to look ahead!

Sven Lidin, dean