Tearing down walls

A letter from the Dean

Published Feb 23, 2017

While walls are being built elsewhere in the world - KTH goes in the other direction. Our president, Sigbritt Karlsson, today announced that from next year she targets only five schools, each of roughly similar size, at KTH.  This is to be achieved by merging the BIO, CHE and STH schools as well as CSC, EES and ICT. 

One of President’s overarching ambitions with the merger is to create “One KTH” - a unified, efficient organization, where the same rules, conditions and service levels applies to all students, faculty and researcher independently of where they work and study. Other important objectives are to create more efficient educational programs, create better balance between research and education as well as lower barriers for research collaboration.

The overall restructuring plan has been approved by the University Board and central union representatives. The President has decided to form a task force consisting representatives from the faculty, administrations as well as union and student representatives that by the end of May will work out a more detailed organizational proposal that can be implemented during the fall, putting the new School in operation Jan 1, 2018.

What do I think, a school merger will mean to the staff, students and departments at our school? In the short term, there will be little effect on our research and department structure. One clear directive is that KTH will continue to be present in all four campi. For us this means that the new school should continue to research and educate both on Campus and in Kista. Our new department structure is already well matched to KTH standards and a merger does no give rise to any immediate needs for organizational changes. The most immediate noticeable effects are probably that our support functions will need to align with those in the other two schools to create a uniform structure and service offering. We can be assured that the same amount of administrative work will need to be carried out. However, in a larger organization opportunities will be plentiful.

In the medium term, I think we need to reap the benefits of curricula reform and course portfolio alignment to provide fewer, but more attractive education programs at cost and to guarantee the long-term supply of teaching staff in our courses. Overall, it is about removing artificial barriers in research and education allowing for the rapid formation of new constellations within the school when needed. A new organization will significantly ease the critical work involved in forming new research centers designed to put KTH on the map as one of the 2-3 key players in their respective fields in Europe.

I think the three schools all carry extensive experience, but also new interesting ideas on how to efficiently organize research and education. We should combine the best of all worlds, but at the same time take this opportunity to renew.

Jens Zander

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