With its commitment, vision and values at its foundation, the strategy aims to strengthen the role of Dalarna University as a responsible, forward-thinking institution of higher education. By further increasing the academic quality of its education and research, the University will become more attractive and more competitive.
To achieve this, we will:
- Establish and develop cohesive academic environments
- Uphold the hallmarks of the University
- Launch initiatives to address central aspects of quality
A cohesive academic environment is founded on the intellectual cohesiveness that exists between teachers, teams of teachers and research groups within a defined area. Such an environment is characterised by creativity and the potential for development.
Key to a cohesive environment is therefore sound awareness of changes in the world around us, and a readiness to embrace development and innovation in relation to education, research and collaboration.
During the strategy period, those environments that have been identified and highlighted will work towards achieving what will characterise them as creative and dynamic.
In our cohesive academic environments, there will be:
- Attractive programmes and courses at all levels, from undergraduate to doctoral (possibly in cooperation with other institutions of higher education).
- Master’s programmes that ensure a stable intake of doctoral students.
- Close connection between education and research, where strongly research-based education is a given.
- A large number of teachers with doctoral degrees and senior academics in fields that are mutually supportive.
- Enough professors and docents to ensure continuity over time of doctoral programmes.
- An adequate number of doctoral students so that a constructive doctoral environment can be maintained.
- Research programmes with goals and plans for how research will develop and support education.
- Research groups that are actively involved within the framework of one or more research programmes; that attract students within their field nationally and internationally; and that can compete for external research funding.
- Well-established national and international collaboration with higher education institutions in their respective fields.
- Well-established collaboration with society at large.
Dalarna University has three distinctive strengths, and each reflects the essence of the vision. Efforts in these areas will continue throughout the strategy period.
- Holistic View of the Student
- Innovative Online Teaching Methods – Digitalisation Competence
- Creative Models for Collaboration
Holistic View of the Student
We will continue to create a culture in which all students are met by respect and consideration, while being given the best chances to both grow as individuals and increase their knowledge and understanding. At Dalarna University, students feel noticed regardless of personal or study background or life circumstances; they do not simply disappear in the crowd. Such a culture is to be respected by all university employees.
- Offer students attractive physical digital meeting places for personal and study-related meetings.
- Ensure students have easy accessibility for teachers and administrative staff.
- With the Student Union, work to increase student involvement in work to improve the quality of education.
- Offer students help and support with their study, language and writing skills, and information management.
Innovative Online Teaching Methods – Digitalisation Competence
We will continue to develop innovative online teaching methods. Net-based education and a combination of net-based and campus-based teaching offer students great flexibility and open new paths to knowledge for life-long learning.
- Develop the technology and infrastructure for net-based education.
- Develop and conduct research on teaching and didactics that strengthens the academic foundation of net-based education.
- Build on the digital competence of our teachers.
- Teach knowledge and skills relating to digital competence in our programmes and courses.
Creative Models for Collaboration
Our collaboration with the private and public sectors relating to professional competence and research contributes to the development of our partner organisations and helps ensure we deliver high-quality education and research.
- Create opportunities for more students to meet collaborative partners (guest lectures, placements, degree projects).
- Strengthen relationships and establish long-term strategic partnerships within society.
- Improve dissemination of the results generated in Dalarna University research environments.
- Provide colleagues with support to develop useful ideas and innovations.
- Recognise colleagues for their achievements in the area of collaboration and their work to increase visibility of the University externally.
Dalarna University will be a critical voice within society that examines and questions as it works to address important societal challenges.
To make this possible, and to increase academic quality and competitiveness, the University must also make changes to a number of central aspects of quality. Seven such central aspects are especially notable.
Education for the Benefit of Society and Self-Formation
The breadth of our competence is unique compared with most other institutions of higher education in Sweden. Such breadth readily allows for the combination of education and self-formation.
The disciplinary domains that we have prioritised will remain as they are during the strategy period, and the current range of programmes and courses will remain largely unchanged. However, in response to changes within society, as well as demands from students and collaborative partners, it will be prepared to make changes. In particular, we need to strengthen our programmes at the master’s and doctoral levels. We will work to ensure our programmes and courses are attractive and in demand, and that our teaching is of the highest quality. Further, characteristic of our programmes and courses will be the clear connection to research and self-formation.
- Offer programmes and courses with a clear connection to research.
- Offer more master's programmes and courses and increase recruitment to these.
- Increase the number of doctoral students and doctoral degrees.
- Intensify and improve communication and marketing that reflect our quality and that result in correct expectations of the education we offer.
- Offer more flexible means for professional development and knowledge exchange.
- Offer specialised courses in teaching in higher education and subject didactics for teachers.
- Provide special support to teachers who want to work with projects relating to developments in teaching in education.
- Have clear elements of self-formation in our programmes and courses.
Research for Knowledge Growth and Societal Benefit
Research at the University will serve to benefit society and contribute to knowledge growth. This requires a strong research culture.
Every cohesive academic environment is to be allocated research funding to strengthen its research and connection with education. The University will capitalise on the existing closeness between environments so as to develop innovative and cross-disciplinary research. Central to this is the influence of faculty staff. Each environment is responsible for managing, coordinating and following up on research.
- Continue to develop dynamic and relevant research environments with a bearing on education.
- Work to develop innovative and cross-disciplinary research activities.
- Strengthen research groups so that they can compete for external research funding, attract skilled researchers and increase publication of research results.
- Increase the proportion of teachers with doctoral degrees, docents and professors.
- Enable teachers to conduct their own research or contribute to research alongside their teaching.
- Increase opportunities for teachers for professional development / preparatory research courses.
- Improve infrastructure and support functions from a research perspective.
- Ensure that teachers involved in research are also involved in teaching.
Quality Structure – Responsibility and Trust
The objective of the University’s quality assurance work is to uphold a quality-conscious culture where responsibility and trust are key.
Both faculty at large and individual teachers are responsible for ensuring high quality. A quality-conscious culture is characterised by a continual will to review and improve, and is founded on transparency, questioning and dialogue. Systematic procedures for follow-up and review are also important components of quality management. As such, quality management at the University will develop further so as to enable continued quality improvement.
- Together cultivate a culture where responsibility and trust are key.
- Ensure that university teachers can take active responsibility for development and quality.
- Work to develop the university's quality system to ensure ongoing quality improvement.
Faculty Staff – Increased Responsibility and Influence
Strengthening the research culture and the link between education and research will mean increased authority and responsibility for faculty staff.
It is important that the roles and level of authority of line managers and faculty staff are made clear as this will enable them to work well together. Such interaction is founded on the fact that all questions that concern content and development of education and research are addressed in a context in which academic management has a central role.
- Increase faculty staff influence relating to the development of the academic environment.
- Clarify the roles of line management and faculty staff.
- Recognise and reward teachers for their involvement in positions of leadership and responsibility.
Global Perspectives and Intercultural Understanding
A central aspect of quality is internationalisation, which is important in the work towards increased understanding of other countries, international relations and common challenges.
Internationalisation in education stimulates comparisons and new perspectives while benefitting personal growth. In the upcoming period of operations, work in this area will be intensified so as to increase international collaboration in education and research in both physical and virtual spaces for students and staff.
- Increase international collaboration in education and research.
- Increase the number of incoming and outgoing international students and teachers.
- Ensure that all programmes include elements that contribute to a global perspective and intercultural understanding.
- Ensure every cohesive academic environment establishes partnerships with institutions of higher education abroad.
- Expand the support organisation for students, teachers and researchers from other countries.
- Encourage international students to remain in Sweden and the region of Dalarna after graduation.
Proactive Organisational Support
High-quality organisational support is crucial for the University’s mandate in terms of education and research.
Well-functioning support systems can ensure and improve the long-term development of the University. Support services at the University are greatly valued by students by virtue of their accessibility, professionalism and respectful treatment of students. Work will be done to ensure this continues.
- Work towards establishing a management culture that promotes collaboration while countering tunnel-vision tendencies.
- Enhance the areas for dialogue between support services and teachers, researchers, students and managers.
- Prioritise work to simplify organisational processes and reduce administrative workloads for students and staff.
- Aim to be Sweden's most and best digitalised institution of higher education.
An Attractive Workplace
Foundational to operations are the competence and creativity of university staff. The physical and social work environment will be of the highest quality, with premises suited to their purpose, and with pleasant, stimulating meeting places for dialogue and exchange.
Openness, friendliness and consideration are important not only in the University’s contact with students but also between staff members. Every staff member needs to develop and grow in their professional capacity, while their creativity is central to the organisation. This view must be the guiding principle for the University as employer. The University will work actively to increase equality, diversity and equal opportunities for staff to pursue their careers.
- Have a physical and social work enviroment of the highest quality.
- Give staff the opportunity to develop and grow in their professional capacity.
- Work actively to increase equality and diversity.