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Continuing work on the FUF

The inquiry into Linköping University’s future education and research programmes (the FUF inquiry) has proposed four areas of focus centred on Norrköping. A report has now been compiled with proposals for new education programmes, new research areas and new academies.

In August 2013 the “Linköping University’s future education and research programmes” internal inquiry, also known as the FUF inquiry, was presented to the University Board. In it, the analysts proposed efforts into four cross-faculty profile areas: The Challenges of Welfare, Social Structure, Young Children's Learning and Interpretation, all centred in Norrköping.

Ingemar GrandinSince then, Challenges of Welfare has been split into two main areas: Welfare of the Elderly and Place for Welfare. And since last year, five working groups have been working to develop proposals for new areas of activity.

Ingemar Grandin, lecturer and director of the undergraduate programme at the Culture, Society and Media Production Unit has been heading the Interpretation working group; it was he who presented the report to the board.

“Each group has identified its respective ideas about content. But we also looked at what unites the different areas. For example, our proposals cross departmental and faculty borders. Collaboration is a clear and fruitful element here; our proposals are built on competences from outside LiU. Welfare, learning and interpretation run through all the proposals.”

Within Social Structure, the work group proposes such things as an undergraduate programme in urban and regional planning, a master’s specialisation in smart cities, a master’s programme in urban and regional planning, and a master’s programme in construction logistics. Work on developing an initial block of courses in smart cities has already begun. In Norrköping there are a number of programmes without any continuation courses in which urban and regional planning would be a natural continuation, in the opinion of the working group.

The working group for Welfare for the Elderly suggests that an academy be set up for welfare for the elderly and that a postdoc programme be developed here to facilitate the recruitment of younger researchers to Norrköping.

There are research specialisations already in place that are contributing to increased knowledge about welfare for the elderly. But the group is proposing new areas concerning people’s reliance on welfare efforts aimed at the elderly, the occurrence of poverty among the old, health and care of the elderly with multiple chronic illnesses and increased effort into cross-disciplinary research about health care in the home.

In the “Place for Welfare” group, three challenges for the future of welfare have been identified:

  • More patients, fewer staff, and fewer financial resources in health care.
  • The use of ICT in health and medical care, self-care and rehabilitation.
  • Changes in society that affect health care, for example migration, globalisation and socioeconomic changes.

This raises a couple of key research questions and themes.

  • The best model for providing health care and rehabilitation for the right patient? How can ICT solutions be designed to support the patient/carer relationship?
  • How can technology be designed so that it suits the users? What will happen if health care professionals and educators do not take the digital revolution seriously? Which actors then provide scope, and what consequences will this have?

The group proposes a number of new programmes in the area:

  • Global medicine
  • Specialist training for nurses, occupational therapists, and physiotherapists with a special emphasis on work in municipalities and primary care/local hospital care.
  • Coaching/guides
  • Instruction in healthcare logistics
  • Remeso, the Institute for Research on Migration, Ethnicity and Society, can contribute to putting welfare into a broader perspective.

In the Younger Children’s Learning work group, it has been noted that the two teacher training courses specialising in preschool and after-school centres are like academic cul-de-sacs, and they see the need for a master’s year both as continuing education for all teaching students in Norrköping and as an opportunity for research study qualifications.

In addition, collaboration with the municipality, the region and the business community should be strengthened. A more concrete arena for this could be called the Academy for Younger Children’s Learning, the group suggests.

In order to strengthen education, research and collaboration the working group suggests:

  • Academic dead ends are opened up.
  • Preschool teacher training and training of teachers in after-school centres should be supplemented with one and two voluntary terms, respectively.
  • A master’s year in the field to be created in Norrköping
  • A forum for educational renewal to be started in Norrköping
  • An academy for younger children’s learning be set up in Norrköping.

Regarding the geographic placing of F3 programmes, the group recommends a continued two-campus training.

The working group for Interpretation proposes that a centre for social interpretation be set up with the role of linking the various interpretation activities within LiU and with external, public interpretation activities. Research and education are run within different institutions/faculties but are linked together by the interpretation structure. The centre to be in charge of continuous project activities that bring together the various environments, programmes and research, LiU and external collaboration partners. The centre could have a key role, both in the new profile area of the challenges of welfare and in the realisation of LiU collaboration policy.

In the case of research the group wants to develop Interpretation as a method in five areas.

  • Visualisation, and information and communications design
  • Content-driven interpretation within documentary interpretation forms
  • Receiver perspective in knowledge interpretation
  • Welfare research for interpretation
  • Interpretation as pedagogical method

The group also has a number of suggestions for new programmes in the field.

  • New master’s programme in Information and Communication Design (extension of Graphic Design and Communication)
  • New interdisciplinary courses for the interpretation programmes
  • New interpretation courses for other programmes
  • Courses included as optional in a large range of programmes
  • Project courses like Demola
  • New continuing education programmes

“The proposals in the report are built on existing competence and strengths, strategic supplementation within the framework of what already exists,” Mr Grandin says. “But it is only possible to grow organically to a certain level. Then it is necessary to allocate money and priorities.”

In its decision, the board tasks the vice-chancellor with “leading the work further, taking into account the financial situation of the university and its planning strategy”.

“The most likely thing is that the proposal will be bounced back to the faculties or steering groups to do more work on,” Mr Grandin says.

He also believes that the profile areas proposed in the FUF inquiry have both potential for development and significance for the future of LiU.

“But the visions are bigger than what fits within existing frameworks. All five working groups felt that their work is not finished, there is more to do.”


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Elisabet Wahrby 2015-03-13

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Last updated: 2015-03-23