It’s the time of year for end-of-term celebrations at school, graduation ceremonies and also the University Board’s last meeting of the semester. As usual, I started the meeting with the Vice-Chancellor’s report (PDF, in Swedish).
At this meeting, we had a visit from the Swedish National Audit Office, which has audited the University’s annual report for 2018. The report received an unqualified opinion. For several years, Margareta Edman Bojeus has audited our activities. She is now retiring and we expressed our thanks to her for many constructive discussions over the years. The new auditor will be Jenny Hedman, who presented the audit plan for 2019. Next year, the audit will pay special attention to the IT environment, holding activities, funding from fees, investments and improprieties. The University’s Internal Audit function presented two reports, one on internal management and control and one on secondary occupations. Our ambition is that it should be easy to do the right thing, and this applies to both areas audited. We need to clarify and simplify reporting and dealing with secondary occupations, and the HR Division and Legal Affairs Division have already started to tackle this.
One of the year’s most important decisions is taken at the June meeting – the adoption of the operational plan for the next three years. As the government decides on resource allocation on a year-by-year basis, the allocation of resources can only apply to 2020, but the operational plan provides clear planning frameworks for 2021–2022 as well. Wide-ranging consultation lies behind the plan. We have had dialogues with each disciplinary domain and discussed the operational plan together in the Vice-Chancellor’s Management Council on several occasions this spring. The plan is inspired by the University’s Mission and Core Values statement and the ambition to strengthen our position as a world-leading research university. The strategic priorities will be familiar: we continue to focus on quality, internationalisation, infrastructure, talent attraction and retention, sustainability and strategic renewal. Direct government funding for research will increase slightly. We will continue our commitment to career-development positions for young researchers and visiting professors. We will also commit resources to enable more researchers to spend time at a foreign university. Co-financing of research infrastructure represents an increasingly large item of expenditure. University-wide investments will be made in artificial intelligence, research in educational sciences and subject didactics.
Turning to education, we will continue to expand our healthcare and teaching programmes, though somewhat more slowly due to changes in instructions from the government. A redistribution of existing places between disciplinary domains will enable us to launch new programmes, for example a social work programme and a new Master’s level engineering programme in industrial economics. The expansion of educational programmes at Campus Gotland continues and the target remains 1,500 full-time equivalent students. The number of international students is increasing and the University will continue its commitment to Swedish language education and the Language Workshop. The students’ unions will receive additional funding to reinforce student liaison services for international students. The Student Health Service will also receive additional funding to meet international students’ needs. A new financing model for the University Library will apply from 2020 onwards. The 55 pages of the operational plan contain much more besides and the whole document will be published on the University’s website and on the intranet (Medarbetarportalen). The framework has been set – now it is up to the disciplinary domains, faculties and departments to translate it into education and research.
The meeting continued with discussion and adoption of the University’s consultation response to the Government Inquiry on Governance and Resources. We will publish the response here in the blog in a week or so. It has to be submitted to the government by 24 June.
The University Board decided to start the process of recruiting a vice-chancellor and deputy vice-chancellor for the period 2021–2026. I have made it known that I am not available for a further period. It is important that we have a good process that complies with the new rules of procedure, which clarify how the process should run at Uppsala University.
The Vice-Chancellor has a mandate from the University Board to revise the Mission and Core Values. This has been a major undertaking, led by the Deputy Vice-Chancellor as project manager. The draft will now be circulated for internal consultation and hopefully the University Board will be able to adopt the new mission statement in December.
University Board meetings include a presentation of research at the University. On this occasion, Professor Solveig Jülich from the Department of History of Science and Ideas presented her research in medical humanities and social sciences. I look forward to the film about the project, which is due for release this autumn.
Student influence at all levels plays a crucial role at Uppsala University. At this meeting, it was time to express our appreciation to some of the departing student representatives on the University Board. Mathias, Fredrik and Therese – thank you for your commitment. Your views have made an important contribution.
We concluded with lunch at Carolina Rediviva. This gave the University Board a chance to see our splendid University Library after renovation.