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Recruitment of new faculty

We have a challenging time ahead us to recruit faculty to meet the future demands in teaching, research and innovation. How do we compete with other universities to attract the “brains”, “rocket scientists”, “innovators” and “pedagocical wizards”? There are of course many parameters that we need to address to accomplish this. Personally, I think we have to start from offering an attractive working environment that allows for a diversity of competences and people. If people “love” what they do they will make a better job. This, in turn will create an impact within KTH as well as outside KTH.

It is also necessary to make sure that the leadership supports the faculty so that they can fulfil their duties at KTH such as teaching, research, administration, etc. In addition, the faculty needs to have the possibilities to maintain and develop their national and international collaborations. These external contacts are of the outmost importance, for example when we try to attract new talented faculty.

When it comes to recruit new personnel it is very important that ITM supports the departments when they wish to hire new faculty. Therefore, I am very happy to let you know that we have recruited a new administrator besides Gülten Baysal at the Deans Office working with faculty recruitments, namely Anton Lagerbäck. His work will be devoted to all kinds of faculty recruitments. Thus, I am convinced that our service to our customers, the departments, will improve in the future.

I must also say that KTH has introduced new routines on how recruitments should be handled. We are trying to learn these routines to make sure that we can cut down the handling times for our recruitments. Finally, I should mention something about our recruitments. Roughly two years ago we identified that 17 professors would be retired within five years. Therefore, all departments initiated a work to identify new areas where new assistant professors need to be hired. Currently, this is ongoing at five out of six departments.

At the sixth department in Södertälje something bigger is going on! We are preparing for a dramatic expansion to extend TMT Södertälje from being not only an excellent teaching unit to also becoming a research unit. This development is led by the department head Kristina Palm. Together with me and colleagues from Industrial Production and INDEK she is preparing for a hiring of seven! New faculty the coming six months. Be sure to follow the exciting development that is taking place in Södertälje in the future.

/Pär, vice Dean

Hello there ITM!

There’s a first time for everything it seems, even at my age…. Together with the administrative management, I’m really looking forward to being involved in the ITM blog from now on.

We’ve recently been audited by the Swedish National Audit Office as well as the KTH internal audit unit on how we manage contracts related to commissions at the ITM school. The question itself was connected to the delegation order: Who signs different types of contract?

I’m sure all of you who have to arrange your new contract/agreement through the KTH organisation from time to time are fully aware – and frustrated – that this is far from easy, both for you and for those of us who work with administration. We are now reviewing all the processes involved in contract management at KTH, since it is vital that we make this area easier for us all!

The internal audit unit has given us prior information that the audit will take place in the spring at ITM and will relate to the taxation of benefits. That means that we at the Deans Office (DO) will go through all the procedures and check that we don’t miss anything that we are obliged to do as a public authority. With a bit of luck, you and we already manage these procedures so well that the audit will hardly be noticed!

We are now heading towards the end of the year and the annual accounts are approaching. We have worked continuously over the last two years on monitoring the departments, which has helped to maintain the high quality of ITM’s accounting. Apart from a few minor deviations, the budget presented at the beginning of 2015 has been kept. All the departments are in the margin between budget and planned outcome. Work has started on the budgets for 2016, now that we are coming to the end of 2015. The budget will be completed and posted in December. That budget will then be the basis for follow-up during the whole of 2016.

Another priority at DO are work environment issues. We have an ongoing project in 2015 and 2016 to develop the administrative unit managers’ leadership. We applied for joint financing for this project and it has been granted. I have worked with each unit manager to set out their own goals for leadership skills. The managers then have a personal coach who leads them toward the goals. In the administration management unit, we feel glad and confident about this project and we naturally hope that this initiative will have a good effect on our shared work environment.

Finally, I would just like to encourage you all to contact us if you have any questions or suggestions for improvement. Our goal is to ensure that we have an efficient and sustainable administration that will provide good service.

I look forward to hearing from you!


Cluster conference “Challenges & Frontiers in Engineering Education’

Hi, again colleagues!

I promised a short report from the Cluster conference “Challenges & Frontiers in Engineering Education’ in Eindhoven last week. The conference was held in the futuristic space ship give to Philips from the City back in the sixties named as the Evoluon Congress Centre. It is not clear if it also is equipped with a warp drive.

The start of the day was a very inspiring talk by Gareth H. McKinley Professor of Teaching Innovation.
School of Engineering, MIT, and it striking how much better MIT and other American universities are to explain what they are doing when it comes to innovation and reach out.

Anyway: the conference had eight sub-themes in work-shop format: Innovative Doctoral Training, Technology enhanced learning, Entrepreneurship & KIC’s, Involvement of Society, Gender balance, MOOCs and Outreach, Incubators & Start-ups and finally Internationalization.

I had to choose so I picked theme 4 and 7 namely Involvement of Society and Incubators & Start-ups.

Our own Margareta Norell Bergendahl gave an inspired talk on the possibilities for Open Lab at KTH in theme 4.

My general feeling after a long day and a lot of discussions are that we are quite well positioned in many of these areas but that we lack necessary facilities for our students to try their own wings in one way or other. ITM need an incubator/make space/workshop/lab! Maybe we can call it Brazil-lab?

One reflection was that MOOCs was generally downplayed in discussions and it was basically put forward a way of enabling greater flexibility for on-campus students and a way to better prepare for courses + of course a great way of attracting students and branding the university.

The conference was rounded up with a couple of panels consisting entirely of Rectors from Cluster universities. My conclusion was that it was rather difficult for them to predict the future. Maybe it would have been smarter to discuss a desirable future? Anyway…

After the conference we were taken to the joint exhibition from TU/e, Delft and Twente as a part of the Dutch Design Week. This was rounded of with the Cluster Gala Dinner where we were served a real design dinner, so spectacular that we never understood where and when the main course was served. We compensated with a big dessert.

/Per L (GA)151030_GA_Cluster

Hi everybody,

Last week all the GA´s from KTH (directors of first and second level studies) travelled together to Eindhoven for a fruitful visit to the Eindhoven University, TU/e. Along for the ride was also our Rector, Vice Rector for Education and a few more important colleagues. The purpose of the trip was to discuss our future education at KTH but also to visit the conference organized by Cluster called “Frontiers in Engineering Education”. The conference last Thursday was a full day with interesting discussions in several areas with the leading technical universities in Europe. I shall give a few examples of issues discussed in the blog later this week.

ITM school’s representative, undersigned, met on last Wednesday TU/e´s representative from their “ITM” to discuss similarities and differences in our programs. Among many similar issues it was interesting to note that they currently only have 3% girls its M-program! When I told him that this year we have 31% on M and a total of 40 % at ITM he almost passed out! Right now TU/e tries to address this dilemma.

I also met and talked to some students who were working on a large x-disciplinary project that involves all students in year 2 at TU/e organized multi-disciplinary teams. This year a remote-controlled robot was to save yellow plastic ducks from a pond of water, among some other things. The students work in groups of 8 with a student from each program. The interesting thing is that there are more than 1500 students carrying out the project. The tricky and resource demanding responsibility rolls through the programs (between schools) and this year Mechanical Engineering is in charge so the ducks should have been redJ. Last year,  TU/e’s counterpart to the ABE-school run the project. The picture shows one of the robots designed to save ducks. The robot is connected to WiFi and equipped with a small camera and the students were not allowed to be in the room during the final competition.

Laster this week I will share some highlights from the Cluster conference and I will tell you a little bit about last Friday’s activities when all GA´s from KTH worked creatively on new ideas together with the Dean of TU/e new venture, The Engineering College.

Thats all for now.

/Per L (GA)

Robot för att rädda ankor

Impact in focus

Efficient internal communication is always a challenge. Too much information via inadequate channels are at the risk of being perceived only as disturbance. At the same time there is a challenge to keep the information flow going and to make sure that the information is up-to-date. Maybe the most difficult part is to guarantee that key information within a particular part of our operations, actually reaches the staff members that depend on having that information on time. This blog from the ITM management is to be kept up-to-date on a weekly basis covering general KTH and ITM news and up-dates. But more importantly key updates on basic education, research education, faculty development and administration will be provided directly by the persons in charge at the ITM level.

Impact on society should be seen as the ultimate goal of academic activities. A rather recent activity at KTH is focused both highlighting and improving our impact on society. In line with this, each KTH school has nominated a staff member to be coordinating the impact improvement work within the school but also at KTH at large by networking within the whole group of school coordinators. If you have ideas on this topic or good impact examples from you group or unit please take a contact with the ITM impact coordinator Hatef Madani at the department Energy technology.

Jan Wikander, Dean of School