For me, the last week was devoted to the thesis defense of one of my PhD students, David Dilner, and I tried to spend as little time as possible as FA. However, there are always issues that are impossible to postpone and this week I was contacted by the PhD Candidate Advisor, Ingrid Iliou, about a student engaged in an exchange programme. Who is responsible when there are two universities involved? One should be extremely careful when entering into a dual or double degree programme – it is very important to discuss all responsibilities in detail.
The e-ISP will be launched October 1st. There was an information meeting in August and of course not everybody could attend – there will be another meeting later this fall. All students, except those that have set the date for their defense, will have to use the new e-ISP. If you have questions regarding the web based ISP please email firstname.lastname@example.org., or read more at the ITM Intranet.
First, I hope that all of you had relaxing vacations and that you now are full of energy and motivation, which is needed to drive ITM towards excellence in teaching, research and administration this semester. Myself, I had a great summer where I spent most of the time in Stockholm, being a tourist. Since I live on the country side (Åkersberga) it is quite interesting to come in to “the big city” as a tourist. Among many new experiences, I have found a charming coffee shop on Jakobergsgatan, Sempre with fantastic baristas that can make you marvelous cups of coffees (Note, two not named ITM employees with an Italian background has confirmed that my conclusion regarding the coffee quality is correct, Grazie!). Thus, in short I can summarize my vacation with the activities walks, enjoying good food and drinking fantastic coffee. Not so bad uh!
As all of you know that the ITM school is hiring lots of new faculty at the moment, actually most among all schools at KTH. One reason is, of course, that we are expanding the ITM activities on the Södertälje Campus to include research besides the already ongoing teaching activities. Here, ITM plans to hire eight new faculty members. Recently, we could see a big smile from the Department Head Kristina Palm as she could hire her first new faculty. As a matter of fact, as you read this blog Jannicke Hauge has already begun her new job as an associate professor in production logistics. Thus, the historical event of building up research at Campus Södertälje will be started by Jannicke and we will see where it leads……..to be continued.
Hiring of faculty is taken place at the other five departments also. Björn Palm at the Departments of Energy Technology and Mauro Onori at the Department of Industrial Production are hiring 4 assistant professors each. Sofia Ritzén at the Department of Machine Design and Annika Borgenstam at the Department of Materials Science and Engineering are hiring one Associate Professor and two Assistant Professors each. Finally, Matti Kaulio at the Department of Industrial Technology and Management is hiring three Associate Professors and three Assistant Professors. Thus, me and the other faculty members in the ITM recruitment board will spend many hours this fall to interview the best candidates for each position, to ensure that we hire the person with the best qualifications for each position. I will talk more about the results of these interviews in my later blogs this fall.
Finally, I must share some happy news with you since my last blog. When Karin Steneholm successfully defended her doctor degree on June 10, I celebrated that I had participated in graduating my 50th student with a PhD degree. This would not have been possible without the help of my excellent colleagues as well as without motivated and hard-working students. Therefore, I feel happy and grateful for having these opportunities and I hope to be able to continue to supervise new students in the future.
Coming back from vacation in august is always a challenge! Prioritisation between different things is difficult. There is simply not enough time available! It is also clear, based on the urgency of matters, that we are a very international university. We have a lot of our Swedish students coming home after studies abroad with new course portfolios to handle. Some of them look quite different from the agreed upon ones a year or more ago. The most common reason for that is the fact that many other universities seems to be able to stop their courses from being run with very short notice. Our students simply have to find something else of interest. We also have a lot of foreign students coming in for master program studies at ITM (at least 300) but also to a lesser extent for dual degree or so called dual master. Many of us are also quite confused with some of these concepts. On top of that we have paying and non-paying students from Sweden and EU.
A few years ago, if you recall, KTH had a general problem with “The Balance”. We had too many incoming students and too few outgoing and this led to an imbalance. Several activates were initiated to mitigate this. And we have been very successful! We have now since 4-years an international “track” in the M-program, we have rearranged courses and structures in most programs to simplify for our own students to “go out”. We have also sponsored our own MFS (Minor Field Studies) for KEX and MEX students (even if this actually not helps the balance since they are registered at KTH). We have also initiated collaboration with Universities through new master programs mostly in the KIC Inno Energy. Also international collaborative PhD program are running at Energy Technology and Indek.
Do we have a problem, one might ask? On one hand we are doing relatively well at KTH but we also sense a lack of strategic direction at school level. In order to set things straight, on Tuesday this last week the ITM board gathered for a 4 hour creative meeting in Sing-Sing to discuss the strategy for the future. Where are we going from here? Should we go for even more international collaborations through master programs, should we focus on recruiting more paying students or should we further intensify our efforts to send out our own students, or all of it, at the same time?
A few things were clear: International collaboration requires resources. Several good proposals were made and among these are to better utilize already existing research collaborations. Also to investigate the possibilities to use existing networks such as Cluster in Europe. The KTH prioritized regions were also discussed. Another issue is underutilization of funding opportunities from EU Erasmus + for instance.
Stay tuned for some new working groups during the fall!