Letter from the Dean

Last changed: 03 July 2020
Portrait photo of Pär Forslund

Spring and students

It is the beginning of March and still winter. But spring is coming, and with it, applications and new students. 16 April is the application deadline for those who want to study at universities and higher education institutions (HEIs). We must compete for students as much as we can, because they are really needed. Why? There are several answers to that question. First of all, we are a university, and what is a university without students? We have great courses and programmes, wonderful teachers and many committed and skilled colleagues in our educational organisation (I have met many of them). Our subjects are interesting and the students like our campuses. All this speaks in our favour. Secondly, the labour market really needs our students. Our courses and programmes are key for those working with future food supply, environmental issues and sustainable development, but we have too few students and applicants per place.

We need more students. How do we achieve this? For starters, our courses and programmes must visibly compete with other types of education in Sweden. Direct marketing is of course important, and more resources are being invested in this, both at faculty and SLU level. However, another part of marketing is our employees being good ambassadors for SLU. The latest staff survey showed that many want to recommend our courses and programmes, which is very positive. But other HEIs in Sweden are better at it – will we accept the challenge?

I don't think it's only about marketing. It is also about what the students want. Is our current course offering attractive? Can our course and programme content become more enticing? Should they be structured differently? We must think about these things – the degree programme quality assessments launched by SLU can help. Another approach can be found in Ungdomsbarometern surveys – they provide clues on what young people want in regard to higher education. Does our offering cover this? A tip: go to https://internt.slu.se/studentrekryteringskonferens2018 and read more (in Swedish). (Please note that Ungdomsbarometern is copyrighted and cannot be disseminated outside of SLU.) It is very interesting.

I think that we, with hard work and perhaps innovation, can increase demand for our courses and programmes. But are the allocated resources enough? The simple question is that if we get more students, our resources will increase.

/Pär Forslund, Deputy Dean

Read the previous letters

Wishing you happy, multidisciplinary holidays
Dean Torleif Härd 2017-12-14

Related pages:
Page editor: mw-red@slu.se