Academic Ceremony and more in May

Wow, what a party it was last Friday when BTH held its academic festivity, and I was formally installed as Vice-Chancellor. I feel overwhelmed by all the nice words and congratulations, and of course by all our new professors and doctors; not the least our new honorary doctor Mikael Blomqvist. You make sure that BTH lives up to its mission, to contribute to sustainable development of the society through education, research and collaboration within our areas. I have already received very positive feedback regarding the party; food, drink and entertainment (Uno Svenningsson!), as well as speeches, fun and play, skillfully organized by toastmaster Eva Pettersson, normally pro-rector. Chief organizer of the event was Elisabeth Permlid – warm thanks for a wonderful afternoon and evening!

I have also received positive comments on my inauguration, where I, among other things, talked about the university’s assignment to contribute to the creation and dissemination of knowledge and competence. Lack of these societal foundations is one of the biggest threats to the development towards a more sustainable future. Internationalization is an important part of our everyday lives, and exchanges and co-creation of knowledge as well as international recruitment of students and staff increase our ability to contribute to society’s need for knowledge and competence. Another important responsibility for colleges and universities is to counteract the dissemination of misinformation and to help distinguish science from nonsense, to quote the title of Emma Frans distinguishing lectures at BTH on May 14.

I also had the opportunity to thank some people who have meant a lot to my personal development; as a teacher/researcher, as a leader and as a human being. Here I mention only my supervisor, professor emeritus Lennart Ljung from Linköping University. I am glad that Lennart was able to attend the academic feast and the party. Through his knowledge and his approach to science, and through his leadership and his way of being, he gave me a flying start to my career that made all the difference.

I also want to mention two events that I took part in earlier this month. On May 9, I joined a cross-sectional network to strengthen gender equality work throughout Blekinge. I was told to talk about how we work with gender equality at BTH and specifically linked to our activity planning. The advantage of getting a challenging lecture title is that one is forced to think a little extra. I feel that we are on the right path, and I will need help from managers and employees to get the equality issues to become even more natural part of our everyday lives. The way to achieve this, I believe, is precisely to work with goals and activities through our activity plans. Perhaps we must also ensure that everyone understands the benefits of equality in our education and at the workplace; for ourselves and for those who hire our graduated students.

The day after, May 10, I had the pleasure of taking part in BTH’s first (?) Ph.D. student workshop, organized by the Ph.D. student committee. We got to listen to an inspirational talk by Professor Tobias Larsson, and I also shared some of my own experiences. But above all it was the doctoral students’ own day. The layout with short presentations (slightly longer than an “elevator pitch”) with quick feedback from a panel gave added flavor. I also had the opportunity to visit the posters and talk more thoroughly with some of the doctoral students about their research. It was really exciting to learn more about the fantastic research that is going on at BTH. Thank you for your contributions and thanks to your supervisors. May this workshop become a new tradition at BTH!

20 May 2019