News from the Management

Last changed: 09 April 2024
Håkan Sandgren, Head of the Faculty Office. Photo Anette Neldestam Larsson

What you’re now reading is my first contribution to the LTV newsletter as head of faculty administration. Writing letters to colleagues is a genre I’m familiar with, although this time the recipient is still fairly new to me. See it as an account of a recently started educational journey.

How do I, as a newcomer at SLU, learn how everything fits together and functions? An obvious way is to participate in conversations and discussions with other managers, both those leading core operations and those in charge of support functions within the university administration. The managers of the administrative divisions meet every two weeks in Ultuna; the meeting is chaired by the chief operating officer and we discuss current, university-wide issues that concern the support functions, ongoing projects, investigations and improvement efforts. From the financial statement for 2023, we can conclude that all parts of SLU are facing financial challenges, and this means we must manage the divisions we oversee in a careful manner that’s sustainable long term.

Support for our core activities important

At the same time, we must keep our focus on what we’re here for – providing support for our core activities. One example of this is a safer, more stable computer network. As a member of the steering group for the SLU project Net 2.0, I can see a new network taking shape. Some of you have probably already noticed that new access points have been installed to ensure an improved IT infrastructure. IT security is an issue of great relevance not only to us but to all higher education institutions in Sweden.

Apple trees and water

A crucial part of the research infrastructure in Alnarp is the cultivation areas used in various research projects. As you could read in the last issue of the newsletter, the apple trees previously located at Balsgård have now been moved to Alnarp. Thousands of trees have been moved, and we will need to, among other things, reinforce a dirt road and build an irrigation system to adequately care for these trees. The irrigation question is central to operations at Alnarp, and this issue is addressed in the long-term campus project, which will include different ideas on how to secure a sustainable water supply long term.

As we work on establishing a framework for this project, we’re also reviewing the various costs associated with the operation and maintenance of the cultivation areas. Faculty management, the departments, the Cultivation Unit, real estate and rental management are all involved in this to ensure overview and uniformity in this matter which is so important for our operations. Discussions have also been initiated with Akademiska hus on the management and development of the park, the most public Alnarp asset. For me, work-related issues concerning land, water and parks are a new thing. For that reason, I’m having to spend more time on them than on other operational support matters.

Good experiences are useful

I have extensive prior experience in HR, finance, research and education support, as well as operational management and governance. Above all, it’s been interesting and informative to see how the educational administration is organised at SLU and the challenges it faces. One way for me to contribute to improved support for undergraduate and Master’s education is to get involved in the central steering group currently working on, among other things, programme pages on the web and booking procedures for classrooms. That way, and in many other ways, my educational journey at SLU continues. All higher education institutions have their essence and peculiarities, and as a newcomer, it takes some time to understand these hidden aspects that cannot be fully grasped through reading alone.

However, I believe that my long experience as a researcher and teacher at other universities means I can be receptive, truly understand the core needs of the organisation and grasp what's going on in the discussions there. My extensive experience in leadership roles also means I comprehend the necessity for dialogue, discussions, financial sustainability, governance and management. Naturally, I also wish for a good and constructive atmosphere of cooperation and mutual understanding among the various parts of our university. Hopefully, my experience and values ​​will shape my mission as head of faculty administration at the LTV Faculty.

Until next time,

Håkan Sandgren

Head of faculty administration, LTV Faculty, SLU



Håkan Sandgren, Head of Faculty Administration
Faculty of Landscape Architecture, Horticulture and Crop Production Science, faculty office, Faculty of Landscape Architecture, Horticulture and Crop Production Science, faculty office manageme, +4640415434, +46761172296