Dialogues that became signposts
This winter, the Vice-Chancellor invited for the first time co-workers to strategy dialogues where they were able to present challenges, opportunities and initiatives to be included in operational planning. With hindsight, we can say that the dialogues fully satisfied the purpose that the university management had been hoping for.
A total of nearly 500 people, distributed among 64 discussion groups, participated in the winter strategy dialogues held on all of the LiU campuses. A summary drawn up by Mattias Elg, director of the Helix Competence Centre, shows that the results were both extensive and constructive. While only few opinions expressed can be described as extremely critical, it is clear that some criticism was raised: “The world around us is changing, but LiU is extremely conservative: other universities are more creative,” was one point of view, while criticism was also levelled against the university’s inability to set clear priorities: “We are running far too many development projects at the same time, and nothing ever reaches completion”.
“I’m happy we received so many well-formulated points of view and answers, and would like to send a big ‘thank you’ to all who took part. People will be able to recognise the choices that are given priority and that come into focus in the plan of operations,” says Vice-Chancellor Helen Dannetun. “One point of view that we have listened to in particular is that we must make it clearer what we give priority, and the list of such projects should not be too long.”
Which topic was discussed most intensely in the 64 groups? Two questions received the most attention. The hottest topic was “digitalisation of LiU in its entirety,” while the question of “campus university or not” was also intensely debated.
“It’s not surprising that these questions stimulated the greatest debate. Both are important for the future, and I see that many groups discussed the balance we should strike between, for example, traditional teaching methods and those with a greater degree of digitalisation. LiU will remain a campus university, but we must respond to student needs and wishes, and to changes in the world around us,” says Helen Dannetun.
Other questions that received a lot of attention were lifelong learning, development of administrative support, work with LiU’s power of attraction, improving collaboration within LiU, and how the university can influence decision makers.
The ideas discussed during the strategy dialogues have been included in the plan of operations for the coming three-year period. In particular, the points of view of co-workers can be seen in the “high-priority choices”:
- Develop LiU’s work with lifelong learning
- Increase LiU’s expertise and capacity for dealing with digital tools, systems and processes
- Increase the transfer of LiU’s knowledge assets
- Develop work with fundamental values at LiU.
These areas were those discussed most intensely, or nearly so, during the strategy dialogues.
This trial using strategy dialogues to obtain input when selecting LiU’s strategy was successful, and this means that it the method will be used again. The form and contents of the dialogues, however, may be changed.
The fact that so many LiU co-workers participated in the strategy dialogues bodes well for further commitment when working locally with improving operations. Vice-Chancellor Helen Dannetun is convinced of it.
Last updated: 2018-06-12