Diversity in recruitment to be examined
The Swedish Higher Education Act has a provision that “Higher education institutions shall also actively promote and widen recruitment to higher education”. LiU’s initiatives to this end are to be examined this spring, and a working group has already started work.
The Swedish Higher Education Authority (UKÄ) has been tasked by the government to evaluate how institutions of higher education are working to widen recruitment. The evaluation will be in two parts. The first is an evaluation by the institutions of higher education themselves into their work to widen recruitment. This will be followed by an examination of the self-evaluations by a national assessment group, which will provide feedback with graded recommendations.
“This thematic evaluation is part of the national system for quality assurance”, says UllaKarin Sundqvist Nilsson, coordinator for the LiU evaluation. “The focus is on allowing the university to review its own work, and analyse and evaluate this work itself. So it’s not a case of the UKÄ censuring or approving the work at the university. We will be given recommendations for the future work, not a grade on how successful we’ve been.”
The working group at LiU has representatives from many different parts of the university. It has been given a method to follow based on clearly stated questions and areas of assessment. In addition, the group will require support from other co-workers in the organisation.
“We want to give a fair image of the work. This is why a member of the working group may contact co-workers in various organisational units. We want to gain broad support”, says UllaKarin Sundqvist Nilsson.
“This covers several rather sprawling areas: the study programmes, divisions and units work extremely differently with these questions. We won’t be able to describe every part of the work done: we’ll simply try to give an overall picture in which everyone can feel they belong”, says Sofia Ritenius, a member of the working group.
The self-evaluation started with a workshop in November 2020. The working group at LiU has since then met to plan how to continue its work. The UKÄ held a kick-off in January 2021, and the working group will now start to produce text. The self-evaluation is to be completed by 3 May. In addition, a follow-up conference is planned for the spring of 2022, where participants can learn from best examples from other institutions of higher education.
The members of the working group include a student representative, and the student unions can also submit their vision of widening recruitment in a student-authored document before 10 May.
“This will be a learning experience for LiU”, says UllaKarin Sundqvist Nilsson. “It’s a chance for us to find out whether we can do more, and to review how the work here is governed and organised.”
At LiU, the term “wider recruitment and participation” denotes an aspiration to achieve recruitment, study completion and retention of students and co-workers based on equal opportunities independently of sex, ethnicity, religion or other belief, age, social background, sexual orientation, gender identity or disability.
Members of the working group
Anna Johnsson Harrie, Educational Sciences
Charlotta Einarsson, Faculty of Arts and Sciences
Margareta Bachrack Lindström, University Management
Marie Jansson, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences
Marie Eslon, Student Division
Mia Gardestål, Faculty of Science and Engineering
Sara Råsberg, Communications and Marketing Division
Johannes Stedt, Student representative
Sofia Ritenius, Planning and Finance Division
UllaKarin Sundqvist Nilsson, Planning and Finance Division
Translated by George Farrants
Last updated: 2021-02-01