“Collaboration is a cornerstone of academic work”

Last changed: 09 January 2024

Professor Lena Lidfors is the vice dean who returned. Lena has previously had the assignment as vice dean with responsibility for doctoral education and gender equality issues and was now asked again.

Vice Dean Lena Lidfors, photo.

In addition to her responsibility for postgraduate education, gender equality, Lena's new assignment also includes being head of the scholarship committee and referral management at the faculty.

- I have a strong commitment to matters of doctoral education and gender equality, so when I was asked to be responsible for these questions at faculty level once more, I could not say no, says Lena Lidfors.

Lena Lidfors works at the Department of Animal Environment and Health in Skara. In addition to the assignment as vice dean of 30 percent, Lena researches and teaches at both undergraduate and master's level. Much of the work within the faculty's doctoral education takes place in the doctoral education committee, FUN, where Lena is head.

- The doctoral education is complex, but I want to simplify some processes. SLU has many regulations, which we must follow, but some could be simplified. I have excellent help from the faculty director of studies for the doctoral education Carl-Gustaf Thulin and Anette Wichman who is secretary of FUN. They both take care of the important daily work. I work more strategically and want to participate in developing the work at the faculty and SLU, says Lena Lidfors

Many boards at faculty level have their counterparts at the central level. When it comes to postgraduate education, it is the Postgraduate Education Council, FUR, where all faculties have representatives. A doctoral student from each faculty participates in the work.

-  This will be a fruitful interaction. We bring our questions to FUR and get new questions back to the faculties. It is an important collaboration, and this is a cornerstone for the development of the academic work.

Last week, a webinar "Equal career paths within the academy" was given.

- We may think that we are equal, but there may be conditions that affect how a person experiences their situations. It can be difficult to raise the issue if you been treated incorrectly or even have been subjected to sexual harassment, says Lena.

A survey shows that especially female doctoral students experienced shortcomings in gender equality. One explanation was that the doctoral students could feel subordinated to their senior male supervisor.

There are many aspects of gender equality and Lena mentions the language. Our foreign doctoral students or post docs may feel discriminated. Most of the information is in Swedish and it is often Swedish that is spoken around the coffee table. It's easy to feel left out. This is an important issue that Lena is happy to get more involved in.

The Council for Gender Equality and Equal Opportunities at SLU arranges meetings once or twice a year where the Vice-Chancellor leads the meetings.

- It is important so that these issues are at the right level, Lena concludes.


Photo: Vanja Sandgren. Text: Mårten Granert-Gärfeldt.