Some weeks are livelier and more enjoyable than others – like last week! Running from one meeting to the other like a squirrel is not always that fun but last week was actually very rewarding in that respect. Sometimes it just feels like a giant jig-saw puzzle that needs to be put together but without the “nice picture” meaning that there is very little guidance to figure out how to put the pieces together, if you get the metaphor.
Last week started with a good and productive steering group meeting for Energy and Environmental engineering program (W) with ABE, CHE and EES schools held together by Sissi Rizko and after lunch, Monday, I participated in a wonderfully creative workshop in one of our energy courses, MJ2410 Energy Management, where 130 students worked intensively on a plan for a Net-zero Energy Campus for KTH. It was an amazing activity and a topic that obviously really engaged the students. In four hours they came up with so many good ideas that we really could try to implement as a part of our Sustainability work. Great fun and very inspiring. Thanks to Hatef and Nelson for involving me!
Tuesday held the “first shovelling of sand event” for the new campus in Södertälje. It was a great event with around 300 people present and a great interest for the project with good and inspiring speeches from our folks; Prefect Kristina Palm and pro-rector Eva Malmström but also from the city from Scania and Astra Zeneca and from Mikael Damberg representing the Swedish Government as Minister for Enterprise. The same day we also had a small a “celebration dinner” in the evening for the team that has created the project KTH Live-in-lab so far.
Wednesday we again had the GA-meeting (about 8-10 per year) with all the other schools discussing several important issues, for instance the future structure of KTH education, who can supervise a M.Sc. thesis and so on. These meeting have really improved under the leadership of Per Berglund and Carina Kjörling. Last Thursday I also had the opportunity to lecture for KTH Executive School on the topic of Energy Systems and big data in the course Digital Transformation. Yes – you could imagine the preparations for that…
In between everything I had several meetings with our M.Sc students for their final projects and our Ph.D students. Friday was for some “unplanned” reason a day where all meetings were done by aid of Skype and Adobe Connect. It proved that we are able to use modern communication tools as well. We have students group on the American west coast, in Australia, in Singapore, in Hong Kong and in southern Europe along with the on-campus students all working together in groups. It´s a small world…
It will soon be time for a new ”MUS” employee survey. “MUS” can be seen as a temperature gauge that tells us about the general atmosphere at the workplace and how we balance our jobs with our leisure time.
To get the best possible picture it is important that as many people as possible answer the questionnaire. This will allow us to constructively allocate the resources where we need them the most. We are well aware of the importance of processing the information generated by the survey and it is management’s intention to do just that.
Below we have prepared a list of activities that have been conducted since the last survey. Naturally we hope that they have had a beneficial effect on everyone.
To reduce the negative stress linked to work and to alleviate sleep difficulties caused by the prevailing situation at work we have arranged:
obligatory stress management seminars for all managers
lectures on the theme of stress for employees ”motivation till motion” (“motivation for exercise”). ”Lär dig hantera din stress” (“Learn to manage your stress”) and “Balans i Livet” (“A balanced life”).
To improve the general level of health we have:
coordinated ITM’s preventative fitness activities
To increase the number of staff who are familiar with the emergency routines, we have:
prepared contingency plans and informed the employees about them
To increase the number of staff who are familiar with the fire evacuation routines we have had:
regular fire drills in all premises
training of fire drill leaders and fire protection officers
fire safety training for lab work
To increase the number of staff who are familiar with the routines after accidents/work injuries and routines for reporting irregularities regarding harassment and discrimination, we have:
developed tools for simpler reporting, we now keep statistics of accidents/ occupational injuries
provided information about the routines in the event of occupational injury, accidents, discrimination/harassment in all management groups, school/department
informed employees about the routines for handling occupational injury, accidents, discrimination/harassment
To combat discrimination, the school has taken preventative action by:
arranging an event that focuses on equal treatment and diversity
played ”Mr. Norm” in different teams
raised equality issues on the management course
To improve the indoor climate and therefore the physical work environment we have:
worked alongside Akademiska Hus in improving the indoor climate
To improve the ergonomics in the workplace and therefore the physical work environment we have:
hired an ergonomist who has provided information about general issues linked to ergonomics
offered a personal ergonomics round for those who request one
purchased ergonomic products where the need exists
To improve the supervision of our doctoral students:
MMK has created a supervisor’s forum
MSE has held regular meetings with its doctoral students
ITM has set up routines for following up the syllabus
To improve the quality of performance review:
TMT has had workplace meetings and discussed and provided information about the development dialogues
To improve leadership we have conducted:
a full-day management training course focusing on work environment, stress, conflict management etc.
coaching-programme for all managers in administration including group development
yearly leadership conference for all managers
We sincerely hope that some of the activities listed above have helped to improve the workplace but we also that we have learned to balance work and leisure in a way that will generate a noticeable improvement in the survey compared with the last one.
ITM’s management requests that you allocate time to answer the questionnaire when it arrives in your e-mail. This will enable us to influence and improve our shared work environment together.
I was about to dedicate this blog piece to the fact that the team behind the development of our campus in Södertälje will reach a major milestone this week, but I did not need to because our president has already highlighted it! See the president’s letter. A few names are mentioned in the weekly president’s letter but all who have been somehow involved in the developments – not the least the staff members of TMT – should feel that they are part of the timely and professional but sometimes rather challenging process of reaching the first major milestone. There are more milestones to come, so let us continue the development in the same constructive and professional manner, and let us have fun while doing it!
Next year, the KTH main campus will celebrate its 100 year anniversary. As part of the celebrations KTH is now looking for major or exciting or unusual events or happenings that will take place during 2017, and hence candidates for being part of the celebrations. If you know about such things that are worth celebrating please inform Annika Lilja. Besides the KTH celebrations, ITM will in 2017 also celebrate the birth and inauguration of the new campus in Södertälje.
The annual ITM leadership conference takes place March 17-18. This year the conference gathers unit leaders, directors of studies, doctoral program directors, centre/SFO managers, impact leader, heads of department, administrative function managers, and school management. Altogether we will be around 50 people concentrating on issues of strategic importance for developing our academic environment, for improving quality, and for discussing longer term strategies towards the societal impact that we would like to see. One core topic this year will be ITM core values, gender equality, diversity and equal treatment.
Not all KTH schools produce an annual activity report, but ITM does. From last year we also decided to use the annual report more actively as an instrument for our external communications. Most importantly we distribute it to PhD and faculty alumni, but also to strategic partners and funding bodies. Please inform ITM Communication with name and address to external people that you think are of strategic importance to your academic activities.
April 27-28 the ITM conference for PhD students will be held at Skogshem&Wijk on Lidingö. As last year, the main theme is Gender and Diversity. Associate Professor Charlotte Holgersson will talk about gender and diversity in organizations and give us the opportunity to think about and reflect upon our own working environment and discuss with our colleagues. There will also be a performance by the Pelle Axnäs group, interactive theater on the theme of the conference. Last year the performance triggered really interesting discussions among the participants and even made PhD students from the audience take place on stage. Does being a woman necessarily make you aware of gender issues? What can you be asked to do by your supervisor?
An additional theme is publication ethics which is of course always very important in the academic environment. Prof. Sven Ove Hansson has been invited to cover this topic. Is it ok to copy your own published text? Can you use material from undergraduate students work? Who should be a coauthor and who should be acknowledged? Does your supervisor necessarily enter as a coauthor on all your papers?
In addition to the above there will be information from the PhD Chapter and from the ITM management, a poster session and a nice dinner!
If this sounds interesting and you’re a PhD student at ITM – please sign up for the conference which is free of charge for you. If you’re a supervisor – tell your PhD student about this opportunity!
The working environment for the personnel and the student is an important part of ITM’s work. At Dean’s office we have weekly meetings between me, Annika Lilja and Sofia Granberg and sometimes even other persons to discuss the progress regarding our systematic work focusing on the different part of the environment. During the last two years we have tried to organize the work in different groups. This has led to the decision that we have hired the following persons part time at Deans* office to be responsible for the following tasks:
Each of these three persons is in turn responsible for a group consisting of people from each of ITM’s departments. They meet four times a year to discuss different issues such as needs for education of personnel, smart solutions that was found by one department and that can be transferred to other departments, etc. Thus, we have created groups of specialists that can learn from each other as well as discuss issues related to their focus areas.
As an important part of the Deans’ office systematic work on issues related to the working environment, we also meet Valter, Anders and Peter four times a year to inform each other regarding what each group is working on. At these meetings, Annika and Sofia inform and discuss activities that take place in their KTH network on environmental issues. In addition, Anna Thöresson Berg participates as the responsible for the psycho-social work within ITM. The last important member of this group is Staffan Qvarnström, who is ITM’s main Health and safety representant. He also has his own network of people from each department.
I should also mention that within ITM’s group we make a budget for the coming year regarding the needs of educations, support etc. Thereafter, this budget is later on presented for the ITM board that makes the final decision on the amount. So far the board has been very positive towards our activities so we feel that we have a strong support from the leadership. You can find more information on our at ITM’s intranet.
I also want to inform you about an important part of our systematic environmental work that will take place soon. It is time for our annual safety inspections at each department. These will take place at the following times:
March 7, Materials Science and Engineering
March 9, Industrial Economics and Management and Deans Office
March 11, Industrial Production
March 14, Applied Mechanical Engineering
March 21, Machine Design
March 29, Energy Technology
As part of the budget each year we also include specially targeted wellness activities directed to promote your health (friskvård). Here, we send out a question to you (both our personnel and scholarship students) to ask which activities you prefer. Thereafter, we select the activities that most people have voted for. Please visit ITM’s intranet to see what activities that are offered by us.
Personally, I try to join the floorball group once or twice a week because I think it is a whole lot of fun. Maybe I will see you at that activity or at least that I see you in the KTH hall in the future?