Letter from the Dean

Last changed: 11 June 2024

Insights from this year's discussions with the departments

Vice Dean Sara Hallin, photo.

During the spring, the faculty management has held operational and quality dialogues with NJ's departments, focusing on research and environmental analysis. It's the second year we've conducted them since systematic quality assurance in these areas was introduced. It's been fascinating to learn about everything happening in the operations. And there's a lot going on! We've also gained a good insight into how the departments are tackling various challenges to provide good environments and conditions that promote quality in operations.

The immediate reflection is that NJ's employees are doing a fantastic job. NJ is doing well, reflected in publications, impact, external funding, assignments, collaboration, and extensive environmental analysis work. We also see a great commitment to quality work. We're currently in the process of analyzing and condensing the information from the operational and quality dialogues for the faculty's dialogue with the Vice chancellor in June.

Even though the analysis isn't complete, certain patterns emerge regarding development measures at the department level. A recurring theme is how we support young researchers, especially postdoctoral fellows. There's a need to develop strategies for the establishment and development of researchers early in their careers. This could include career coaching for postdocs and creating a forum for them at the department level. Many good ideas and approaches have been tried and established within the departments. There are opportunities to learn from each other!

Another challenge shared by several departments is finding strategies to recruit and retain more women. In recent years, most higher academic positions at NJ have been filled by men, and we have some departments that have become male-dominated in these positions. This is certainly concerning. The question of why it's like this is complex, but we need to do more.

A third challenge for most departments is data storage and, in some cases, how data is made accessible. Many departments are in the darkness here, especially when it comes to "big data." Some departments take matters into their own hands when they perceive SLU IT's prices as unreasonably high, but most are calling for a unified strategy for SLU.

Operational and quality dialogues will continue in 2025 and 2026 with a focus on the research evaluation Quality and Utility (KoN). The next KoN is scheduled for 2027. It may sound far off, but what we do now affects the outcome. I look forward to the results with confidence!

And now, spring finally seems to be on its way!

Sara Hallin
Deputy Dean

Photo: Mårten Granert-Gärdfeldt.

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