A new semester is beginning. Welcome back! We hope that staff and students alike have had an enjoyable and well-deserved break over the Christmas and New Year holidays and feel inspired as they return at the start of a new year and a new decade. Eager new students have arrived to begin their studies at our University. We take this opportunity to remind anyone who can to offer a home to a student looking for somewhere to live at the beginning of the semester, so that more students can get off to a good start at Uppsala University. Do get in touch with the student housing agency, Studentboet!
We have kicked off this eventful year with a two-day conference with the Management Council, focusing on the future. This is a University-wide strategic group and an important interface between the University Management and academic operations, between the three disciplinary domains, between the administration and the core activities, and between students and the University.
The springboard for our work this year is the revised Mission, Goals and Strategies document that will now be put into practice by many people’s combined efforts. The document sets out goals for our work on developing and renewing our education and research, along with strategies for how to achieve the overall goal of contributing to a better world through education and research of the highest quality and relevance. We had a long, productive discussion on how to succeed in inspiring involvement throughout the University and how to check that we are achieving our goals. It isn’t easy to select the right indicators for follow-up. We want to know whether we are on the right track, without what we measure having unintended consequences or being used in the wrong way. The indicators must be broadly accepted, easy to measure and understand, and be specified at the right level in the University.
Having a Mission, Goals and Strategies document that brings together governance documents that were previously separate, and then incorporating as much as possible of what we want to do in our ordinary operational planning, provides a better foundation for the University’s development and renewal. Conflicting goals will be brought to the surface, which will facilitate necessary prioritisation.
At the conference we also took up all the important news from the disciplinary domains and the University Administration, it’s useful to hear about other people’s challenges, and to discover potential synergies. For example, an investigation into freestanding courses in the humanities and social sciences may naturally interest the rest of the University as well.
The students informed us that they have now formally established the organisation Uppsala University Student Unions, which will give the students a clearer voice (read more about this here). Cooperation between the student nations and students’ unions has also moved forwards, with several joint activities. All in all, this is very beneficial for student influence.
We also had interesting presentations on the ongoing work on Development Plan 2050 and the Buildings and Premises Plan, which between them will set us up well for the development of the University’s spatial and physical shape in Uppsala and Visby in the years to come.