About EPU

Last changed: 05 March 2024

The unit for educational development (EPU) is for everyone who works with educational issues and teaching at SLU.

EPU’s vision

As an educational development unit, we have high national standards. With broad competence we are the obvious higher education pedagogic support for all teachers and research supervisors at SLU.

Our goals 

The goals of the higher education teaching unit are to:

  • Offer good higher education pedagogical training so that all SLU teachers and research supervisors can work professionally in their subject area and be able to participate in the development of higher education in accordance with the goals of Agenda 2030.
  • Quickly and professionally offer customized consultation for teaching staff in need of educational support.
  • Offer higher education pedagogical expertise.
  • Continuously participate in larger global projects.

Objectives of the qualifying higher education training:
At the national level, there are also the Swedish University and College Association's (SUHF) recommendations for what the credentialing higher education training should look like. At SLU we follow these recommendations. 

History of EPU 

The Swedish University of Agricultural Science (SLU) was founded in 1977 as a merger of four university colleges, the Institute of Agriculture in Uppsala, the College of Forestry in Umeå (and Uppsala), the School of Veterinary Medicine in Stockholm and the School of Forestry in Skinnskatteberg. A couple of years earlier, the Institute of Agriculture in Alnarp had merged with the Institute of Agriculture. The newly formed university was established with main campuses in Alnarp, Skara, Umeå and Uppsala, today SLU has three main campuses in Umeå, Uppsala and Alnarp.

In connection with the establishment of the new higher education institution, a position as an educational consultant was established. It corresponded to development at other institutions of higher education and the pedagogical consultant was given the task to support the university's teachers in pedagogical development and conducting pedagogical training for the teachers. When Mårten Carlsson became vice-chancellor of SLU in 1982 (until 1994), the activities surrounding pedagogical development began to increase and the students of the university were included in the development work. During Carlsson's leadership, the staff in what was now called the Pedagogical unit was expanded with a secretary, Karin Rask, and a course leader and educational consultant Ann-Mari Åkerblom. When Bengt Ekman, a pedagogue from Uppsala University, joined the unit in 1993, work began to expand the scope of staff development. Step by step, the training was extended from three days in the early 80s to one week, then four weeks in 1993 and finally six weeks of compulsory pedagogical training in 2001. 

In 1994, Bengt Ekman also started SLU's second comprehensive pedagogical course "Course for prospective docents". The course covered four weeks and became mandatory in order to become a docent at SLU a few years later. In 1996, the unit's third full-time pedagogical consultant, Laine Strömberg, was hired. She came to devote all of her time at SLU to running of the Course for prospective docents. The so-called "Docent course" was, as mentioned above, mandatory to become a docent. At the same time, the prerequisite for attending the "Course for prospective docents" was to have completed the pedagogical foundation course. In practice, this meant that anyone who wanted to become a docent had to first undergo ten weeks of pedagogical training, and this is an arrangement that still applies today, even if the course structure has changed. For a research-heavy university like SLU, this means in practice that everyone who intends to stay at SLU completes the ten weeks of higher education training. 

In the late 1990s, the IT wave swept over the country, and the world. A smaller organization for IT in teaching formed in 1997, as well as at several other universities. The unit called the Data Pedagogical Forum consisted of a group of media producers and a graphic designer who, together with two positions at the Pedagogical Unit with an IT-pedagogical orientation, would work with the use of the new technology in the university's educational activities. 

In the first years after the turn of the century, the organization of SLU's pedagogical developers and other resources for pedagogical development characterized by constant reorganizations and personnel changes. SLU Omvärld (“Environment”), which had hosted the "Data Pedagogical Forum", closed and the Data Pedagogical Forum became the IT Pedagogical Center and was placed alongside the Pedagogical Unit under the wings of the Education Agency. A few years later, the Pedagogical Unit and the IT Pedagogical Center became a joint unit, now called the Development Center for Learning. 

Here, at the beginning of the 21st century, the old gang of educational consultants began to approach retirement age. During the first decade of this century, the unit recruited several new employees, now with a clear difference. The new employees as well as the remaining middle generation were now called educational developers, there were no longer any educational consultants. The role of the educational developers also changed from that of the previous educational consultants. 

To a large extent, the educational consultants had been agitators who, together with a small clique of committed teachers and management personnel, worked for pedagogy to be noticed and developed at the university. The new generation of pedagogical developers instead work closer to the teachers and with a wider contact surface. Another change when we entered a few years into the 2000s was that the so-called "IT pedagogy" slowly disappeared as a concept at SLU. The idea was now more that the technology should be support for the educational work when it had something to add. The idea that IT would revolutionize education had faded, though not the realization that the new technology will affect the way we work in universities as in all other sectors of society. 

Something that did not change during this first decade of the 21st century was the fact that a new head of administration meant a new organization. The Education Agency had transformed into the Student and Education Service with the Learning Development Center still a unit. Now the organization became flatter and the Student and Education Service became two units in 2007: the Unit for Studies and Learning and the Unit for Students and Documentation respectively. The educational activities became part of the Unit for studies and learning together with study guidance and the "international office". In 2011, the units completely abolished for a period, although the group of pedagogical developers continued to work as before. By 2014, an educational unit resurrected in its current form with the name The centre for University pedagogy. At the same time, the Student and Education Service had changed its name to the Education Department. In 2019, a department for learning and digitization established with the aim of strengthening pedagogy and digital learning at SLU. Since the turn of the year 2018-2019, the University Educational Center is called the Unit for Educational Development and is part of the Department for Learning and Digitization, together with the Unit for Education Systems and Media. 


Our educational developers have different skills. Here you can read more about us and our colleagues within the entire Department for Learning and Digitization

Find us 

Address: Almas allé 8 (reception in main entrance), Box 7010, 750 07 UPPSALA 

Contact email: epu@slu.se 

Unit manager: Cecilia Almlöv cecilia.almlov@slu.se