On Monday and Tuesday, the University Advisory Board (UAB) visited Lund University. The board is made up of Provost Judyth Sachs, Macquarie University, Sydney, Dr John Hood from the Robertson Foundation, USA, and Professor Jan-Anders Månsson from École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne. Judyth Sachs is also the chair of the EQ11 advisory group.
On the agenda were fundraising, increased efficiency of administration, EQ11, Fronesis, a renewed strategic plan and resources issues. We had intensive and productive discussions over the two days.
Some general feedback from the UAB:
* Views and input of the panel are taken seriously
* These discussions are part of a bigger process of transformation
* The organisation is more accepting of change and has bought in to the change agenda
* Confidence in what the future holds
* Deans are more included – but more collective meetings, formal and informal, with them.
Under the heading “big issues”, the following points were raised:
* Need to build a common mission.
* “Connected University” (which came up during EQ11).
* Careful phasing of administrative changes – focus on process and area: Make priorities – can’t do it all at the same time
* Governance and committees: Need committees to create policy, agree strategy, make recommendations for governing decisions and quality assurance
* Can’t build great research out of concrete: Need to ensure that there is a rigorous and purposeful plan to build an organisation of the highest international quality so that Lund optimises, directly and indirectly, the opportunity of the establishment of MAX IV, ESS, etc.
The proposal for a fundraising campaign was applauded, but we were warned to be wary of underfinancing. A clear message was to work with alumni.
The balance between education and research was raised, as well as cross-boundary activities.
A concluding comment and challenge to us was “not to be held captive to rankings and to be confident in our own standing”. The next meeting with the UAB will be in a year’s time. They have great commitment to Lund University and we appreciate Judyth, John and Jan-Anders’ work as Lund University’s ‘critical friends’.