Many will be able to take a few days off between Christmas and New Year, but not everyone. I have taken the opportunity to go around and wish Merry Christmas to several of you who are on campus and heard that some intend to work over the Christmas/New Year period. Many students submit exam papers before Christmas and it can be good to assess them before the end of the course at the beginning of January. Whether you are working or on holiday, I hope you are able to have a few relaxing days off.
We can look forward to 2024 in the certainty that we have collectively made a solid contribution to the university during the past year. When I look back on 2023, my feeling is that it has in many ways been a year of preparation.
2023: A Year of Preparation
In February, the news came that the majority of staff needed to move out of the old campus building. At first it felt overwhelming, but the move went well on the whole. As we all know, the rest of the year has been characterised by temporary offices with teaching being in a mixture of old and temporary premises. Our campus is also a construction site and although it has worked satisfactorily on the whole, disturbances have also been numerous and recurring.
Now we are starting to prepare for another move, the move into our new premises in the centre of Borlänge. The planning has begun and, even if it will mean a lot of work, we really have something to look forward to.
Strong, dynamic programme and subject environments
Several of you have participated in the in-depth subject analysis which has been carried out at DIH. The implementation of changes remains, but these feel positive for the coming year. A similar analysis is underway within ITE and the work done at DIH provides great inspiration. Subjects, programmes, academic environments and how we should develop them have been recurring themes during the year. We will continue on this set path during the coming year with the goal that both education and research will support each other within the framework of strong, dynamic programme and subject environments.
Development of our Education
During the autumn, the Rector gave us the assignment to develop a new Assistive Technology programme in collaboration with the School of Health and Welfare (IHOV). Extensive preliminary work has already been done and during the spring this will continue.
Work is also being done, and is at varying stages, to review educational plans based on the resources we have, and to increase the attractiveness of our education by making them even more relevant from a societal perspective.
Several of our programme managers have worked with our group methodology for programme development. The vision is that everyone involved with a programme, together with the programme manager, will regularly discuss development of the courses as well as the programme from several perspectives. I can proudly say that we have a lot of good and positive things going on.
Internal and External Communication
This also applies to the Institution's communication efforts, where we were the first institution to start active internal and external communication work. This mainly revolves around the employee website which is now updated regularly, often several times a week.
Since the beginning of December, the Institution also has its own profile on LinkedIn. We talk a lot about collaboration so it is important that the outside world sees that we exist and are an Institution to be reckoned with.
Research Action Plan
During the year, extensive work was done with the internal research evaluation. The working group responsible for the self-evaluation put in a lot of effort during the spring. The external evaluators' report showed that it was a job well done and reflected what we actually do in a good and honest way. Based on the self-evaluation and the external feedback, an action plan has been drawn up and presented to the Education & Research Committee (UFN); an action plan which we will benefit greatly from in the coming year.
The Energy Competence Centre (EKC) was acknowledged as a research centre during the autumn. Now the work begins to adjust to its new role.
Last but not least, I think of everyone who has invested time and energy to write research and other project funding applications. The payoff is not always what we would like and it can sometimes feel like an uphill struggle, but we can learn from our experiences. Everyone who has written and submitted an application has made a significant contribution, and anyone who has had an application granted certainly should feel, justifiably, a sense of pride.
Now it feels good for me to take a couple of weeks of peace and quiet over Christmas and the New Year. I hope everyone has the opportunity to do so. I am not planning any trips outside of Dalarna. Hopefully there will be some skating at Främby Udde in Falun.