At the start of every semester, the Vice-Chancellor’s Management Council gathers for a seminar lunch to lunch. It is an opportunity to have in-depth discussions and together reflect on pressing questions of future strategic importance.
We began by discussing Campus Gotland. About a year ago, the Management Council held a meeting in Visby. That meeting resulted in the decision to move the evaluation of the merger ahead of schedule – the evaluation that Lars Haikola and Lars Burstedt would subsequently deliver in December 2015, which is currently referred to the disciplinary domains and faculties for consideration. The amount of campus students on Gotland has grown from 715 to 935 in two years. This is a good result, but we still have some ways left to the target of 1,500 students in Visby. The discussion revolved around how Uppsala University will make the goals and visions for Campus Gotland a reality, and how the recommendations of the evaluation are to be put into practice in the Action Plan of 2017.
Afterwards, we had a session with Peter Honeth, who was state secretary of the Swedish Ministry of Education and Research for the eight years of Alliance governance. Prior to that, Peter was the University Director of Lund University for many years. His broad experience of research and university issues is unique. For around two hours, he generously shared his experiences from his time in the Swedish Government Offices. It was both interesting and instructive to hear about the political process behind research and education policies, the negotiations between departments, the relationship between politicians and civil servants. The entire Management Council was granted more insight into the conditions of politics. Naturally, there was also some discussion about, for instance, the question of autonomy during the session.
During dinner and the rest of the evening we also delved into the new proposed regional division set to be presented by the evaluator appointed by the government, Barbro Holmberg. This is a multifaceted issue. A particularly important aspect to us is the consequences for the Uppsala University Hospital, and the research and education conducted at our Faculty of Medicine. The University maintains close ties to the Uppsala Regional Council, Uppsala University Hospital, the Uppsala County Council, and other involved actors.
The Tuesday was dedicated to two major questions: governance, on one hand, and recruitment of professors, on the other. It turned out to be a reflective discussion that mirrored the diversity that exists in the University, but also the universal and common questions. How do we prepare and decide on policies at different levels? What decisions are made where? Are there informal preparation forms in addition the formal ones? Is our governance system transparent and easy to grasp? How to ensure students and new members of staff are aware of their ability to influence our decision making? Is there cause to revise the rules of procedure? In parts of this discussion, Kåre Bremer’s evaluation can serve as a foundation. The discussions of both governance questions and recruitment will surely continue, most immediately in the Academic Senate, in management and dean meetings, etc. Both governance and recruitment are strategic processes meant to forge strong research environments, and will directly and indirectly be assessed in the new research evaluation, Q&R17.