It’s a joy that the autumn term of 2019 has started, that our P1 courses is up and running and the welcome reception of newly admitted students have enriched our views on campus.
There are several new and important educational issues affecting the coming semester that is worth emphasizing. For instance, there are several courses in Teaching and Learning in Higher Education available for the academic year 2019-2020 (both in English and Swedish). One example is the Basic course LH231V (7,5 credits) but there are also continuation courses (see examples at the end of the post).
I also hope you all have gotten information on the President’s decision about a new procedure for support to students with special needs during examination? I have discussed this new guideline with all the Head of studies at all ITM departments and based on that we concluded a recommendation for all ITM examinators on how to manage the changes specified in the new regulations in the best way possible. I hope you all have gotten that information from your departments Head of Studies, otherwise let me know so that we can increase the communication. J
I wish to welcome you back from your vacations. I hope that all of you now have returned with an extra boost of energy so that you are ready to continue your work tasks in a successful manner!
As you all know by now, the President has initiated a process to select a new Head and Deputy Head of the ITM School. A committee consisting of participants from both KTH and ITM will be formed. The goal is to select the new leadership during the autumn so that they can start their positions in January 2020.
The President has appointed me as a Acting Head of School and Martin Törngren as the Deputy Head during the period of July 1 to December 31. Martin’s focus will be to lead an integrated research initiative that the ITM Management group has decided on earlier this year. I will let Martin explain more about this in his own blog.
My job will be to carry out the Head’s tasks in a similar way as was done by the previous one. This means, for example, that every second Tuesday I will meet the Head of Administration Christina Carlsson, the Director of First and Second Cycle Education (GA) Anna Jerbrant, the Director of Third Cycle Education (FA) Malin Selleby, and the Responsible for the research initiative Martin Törngren. The purpose with these meetings is mainly to prepare relevant questions that we will discuss in the ITM Management group, which also are held every second Tuesday. The Management group also consists of the Department Heads, the responsible for the faculty and a student representative.
I also wish to inform you about a couple of activities that will take place during the fall:
The salary negotiations between managers and employees will take place in September.
The quality system for the education at KTH will be evaluated. We will inform you more in detail later. Now we now that the dates for evaluations will be October 1 and November 25 to 28.
The preparations for the assessment of the research (RAE2020) will start. This event will take place late August 2020.
Finally, I wish to share some of my summer activities. The most amazing thing I did during the vacation was the visit to Jededia Smith’s Redwood State Park, where a Star Wars movie was filmed. It is a fantastic feeling to take a walk in such a forest full of very tall trees that are more than 2000 years old. I strongly recommend a visit to a Redwood park if you get a chance!
First of all I would like to thank all of you for all the good work during my years as the Head of ITM – it has been a very interesting period, challenging at times, but overall very rewarding. I was overwhelmed by the celebration on May 14, all the participants, all the presents, all the songs, all the speeches and poems, and last but not least, the toastmaster. And the movie, what a remarkable production: the overall orchestration, the comfortable storyteller, the rejoicing chorus of happy administrators, and all the nice words from colleagues. Thank you all!
On the research side, coordinator pairs have now been appointed to lead the four new School overarching research initiatives for which the School has allocated dedicated research funding. The overall effort will be supervised by our new Deputy Head of School Martin Törngren. The areas and the coordinator teams are:
Industrial transformation through digitalisation, renewable energy and circular economy.
Coordinated by Antonio Maffei, IIP and Elena Fersman, MMK.
Integrated mechanics, components and materials design including additive manufacturing.
Coordinated by Greta Lindwall, MSE and Raquel Lizarraga, MSE.
Sustainable energy systems: Technical and business perspectives.
Coordinated by Andrew Martin, EGI and Frauke Urban, Indek.
Innovation eco-systems, innovation management and entrepreneurship.
Coordinated by Jennie Björk, MMK and Anders Broström, Indek.
I am sure that Martin Törngren will come back soon with a blog post with more details and strategies for these efforts.
Finally, I am convinced that the new School head team, Pär and Martin, will continue in a spirit of engagement, collaboration, innovation, equality, inclusion, good working climate, and most importantly environmental sustainability. In case the new management team runs into unforeseen challenges, I will leave some literature on my office desk that might be of help in tricky situations. A few example titles are:
Crisis management, Public Leadership under Pressure
Our Iceberg is Melting: Changing and Succeeding Under Any Conditions
Organisatorisk resiliens – Vad är det som gör företag och organisationer livskraftiga?
Good luck Pär and Martin! And Pär, the gavel I handed over at the festivities, and which was once handed over to me by Bengt, might come in handy in critical situations.
A very intense period is about to be completed, and besides finishing the two courses I have been responsible for during P4, I also attended the yearly dialogue meeting focused on educational quality. Among the attendants were the Vice Present for education Leif Kari and the Dean of Faculty Katja Grillner, and the meeting gave me the possibility to describe and discuss strengths and opportunities, as well as threats, for all of the ITM School’s educations on 1st, 2nd and 3rd cycle level. The goal is that these dialogues will lead to increased quality and long term improvements. Besides this, I also had the pleasure to attend KTH’s graduation ceremony on May 29. It was a very impressive and beautiful arrangement, I really appreciated the opportunity to present and congratulate all ITM’s graduates. 🙂
Two important educational issues to emphasize
If you as a teacher have students that contact you because they haven’t registered for an exam in time, there is no idea to send an e-mail to the administrators asking them to register the student manually afterwards. This is not possible and not allowed at KTH, so instead we should refer the students to the guidelines here. There they can find information on how they should go about to try to participate in the exam anyway. The guidelines say that:
Students who have not registered for the exam in time, may write the exam if there is a free seat in the examination hall. The student has to submit a valid course registration transcript. Note! Digital transcripts do not apply in this case.
Moreover, it is also important for us to remember that exams can only be corrected with an ink pen, and that points and grades should be clearly marked in the boxes on the cover pages. Otherwise it will not be possible to scan the corrected exams.
But now that all of us are approaching summer vacations it’s time to summarize all P4 courses, complete the work of writing and correcting all the examination and enjoy the knowledge gained by all our excellent students when conducting their master thesis projects.
/Anna Jerbrant, Director of First and Second Cycle Education at ITM
Many teachers at the ITM School often think of new ideas on how to examine the required knowledge in a course, and I am one of them. I wish to share some recent experiences. Together with my colleague Assistant Professor Björn Glaser we teach in the course Advanced Process Science. The purpose of the course is to teach students about reactor design and process control in industrial metallurgical processes. Based on their previous obtained knowledge (for example thermodynamics and kinetics), we teach them on how to apply this knowledge on current industrial processes.
During the course evaluations the last 5-8 years, the students have suggested to examine the course goals in other ways than through a traditional written exam. Based on this we have tested open 24 hours exams where students have been given the task eight o’clock in the morning and then turned in their answers 24 hours later. The responses from the students have been very positive!
In close collaboration with Sandvik
Together with the company Sandvik Materials Technology (SMT), who sponsors parts of the travels in the course, we tested a new idea this year. Previous years we have visited SMT at the end of the course. The company has presented their work on selected processes and the students have had a tour to the steel and working mills.
This year we tried out a different approach. Together with Olle Sundqvist and Fia Vikman from SMT we defined five topics for the students to work on to acquire the knowledge needed to fulfill the course goals. Olle visited KTH to give introductory lectures in January. Thereafter, the groups were formed, and one supervisor from SMT together with one from KTH were designated to each group. As next step, each group visited SMT in Sandviken to study their process part and to discuss details of the project with the supervisor.
Examination in relation to the industry
Back at KTH the students had to answer three large questions related to process control and reactor design, based on course material given in the lectures and information from the literature. The fourth question was a more open question where the students should suggest innovative solutions to improve the specific process task given by SMT.
After almost two periods of work, the student findings were presented in a report as well as at a seminar in Sandviken in May. Here, the whole project was presented for a larger audience and the performance was judged by the teachers. In a way this corresponded to our previous 24 hours exam level. In addition, the innovative solutions were discussed in detail separately in small groups including the specific supervisors. After a full day’s work in Sandviken, SMT invited the students and teachers to a fantastic three-course dinner at their restaurant.
Improved motivation and innovative solutions
Overall, our experience is that the motivation of the students was much higher and the innovative solutions were detailed and more realistic, when we used this approach instead of a traditional way of examining their knowledge. In their work they clearly showed that they used their previously obtained knowledge in coming up with innovative solution.
In addition, they also discovered that the current metallurgical tools to determine thermodynamics and kinetics cannot always be used for real industrial applications, since for example databases and knowledge are missing. One important learning was that our theoretical knowledge is not always enough to solve all industrial problems. Thus, as future engineers the students need to work hand-in-hand with skilled personnel in industry that has the hands-on knowledge to solve challenging industrial tasks!