Words from our senior management: Merry Christmas and a happy New Year!2023-12-18
I want to start by thanking all of you for doing such a fantastic job throughout the year. I hope you will have the opportunity to relax, recharge your batteries and enjoy some well-earned time off.
Last time I wrote about my first impressions of Karlstad University and how I view our development going forward. I emphasised the importance of team work – an involved organisation where we cooperate and understand why we do what we do.
After a few more months of further reflection as well as many conversations with many colleagues, my positive first impressions very much remain. We have an extraordinarily lovely organisation consisting of diligent skilled employees and students who are happy to be here.
I will not attempt to list all the successes of the past year, but I want to mention a few examples of things I believe are important achievements.
The associate senior lecturers we recruited as part of an initiative started last year are now all in place and working with us. We are currently following this with a big investment in doctoral students.
In their evaluation of our quality assurance system, we have been reviewed favourably by the Swedish Higher Education Authority (UKÄ). We are now entering a new evaluation cycle with an improved and simplified model for the collaboration within Treklövern.
The education overhaul initiated this spring is now completed. The faculties now have the opportunity to continue the work on four new degree programmes.
We have received external funding for several big and important research projects. As a complement to the government grants for research, external funding is absolutely vital to the University.
We have several comprehensive development efforts lined up for the upcoming year. Throughout the autumn we have conducted an investigation into how we are organising our teacher education. The resulting report indicated three potential ways forward, aiming for increased efficiency and visibility. In the spring we will move forward with implementing a few improvements.
Another important issue is our educational production rate, which is to say the number of students admitted and the student completion rate at our courses and programmes. This is a complex challenge that requires considering both attractiveness and efficiency, as well as quality and public benefit. This is a challenge we have to deal with, both in the short and long term.
A third issue concerns the cost and utilisation of our facilities. We have a beautiful and unified high-quality campus, but not all our facilities are efficiently utilised. There are sometimes reasons for tolerating an inefficient usage of certain facilities for certain periods of time, but we cannot disregard the fact some of the resources we spend on facilities could be used on creating value through more research, education and collaboration activities.
In addition to these issues connected to organisation, prioritising and resource allocation within the University, I see great potential for contributing more to the community through collaboration with external actors at both regional level and beyond. We have a good relationship with the region, local municipalities and the county administrative board, as well as with many private organisations. We must continue to care for and further develop these relationships.
These are a few examples of things I would like to continue working on throughout the upcoming year. If you have any thoughts, questions or ideas related to this, you are welcome to get in touch.
After the holidays I very much look forward to a new semester, but before that I would like to wish you a Merry Christmas and a happy New Year!