A 16-strong delegation from Umeå University visited London in March as part of their Management and Leadership Development Programme for senior staff. The Leadership Foundation’s director, International and Jim Durrant, our associate director, London welcomed the visitors who were headed by Matts Björklund, development consultant (HR) from Umeå. The delegation was generously hosted by two London members of the Leadership Foundation: the University of Greenwich and the University of Westminster.
Umeå is the largest town in northern Sweden with around 120,000 inhabitants. It has two universities and a student population of about 39,000. Umeå University is a relatively young institution, established in 1965. Its academic offer is delivered through four faculties (Art, Medicine, Social Sciences and Science and Technology). It is spread across four campuses but has a presence in a number of other towns across Sweden through its distance learning programmes. The University was ranked 51 by the Times Higher Education 2015 ranking of the top 100 universities under 50 years old. The table highlights young institutions “that have shown they can match the ancient global elite.”
Participants in the Swedish-UK knowledge exchange 2015
The main theme of the visit was the exploration of how UK universities are dealing with academic leadership in relation to a more professionalized institutional progress. In particular, the delegation was keen to understand the current thinking in two strands.
Strand 1 was based on new forms of learning and teaching for example: digital development and its effects on pedagogies and the administration of higher education; eLearning and the development of distance learning and other forms of higher education provision delivered remotely from the main campus.
Strand 2 explored the development of strategies for academic leadership in practice; student recruitment and, for PhD students, progression; succession planning for staff; staff recruitment and staff development, professional up-dating and preparation for leadership.
At Greenwich, Ian MacNay, professor of higher education and management, organised a day that included digital developments and their effect on learning and teaching and a thought-provoking exploration of how changing leadership will plot the move in expectations from value for money and economy/efficiency, to excellence/quality concerns and to enterprise as culture and content of programmes, the employability agenda and REF impact and the marketization of the system with students as customers at the heart. Nick Kapoutzis, head of leadership and organisational development at Westminster, provided a programme which reviewed those aspects of leadership development in strand 2 and also included a very interesting session on how the University of Westminster engages with its local communities.
Both universities provided an opportunity for the delegation to tour the campus and local areas which added a further and much appreciated dimension to the visits and allowed the delegation to experience the institutions in context.
Consultancy and International Projects Manager
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Dot provides support to both consultancy and international projects. For consultancy projects, she ensures that our clients and associates have the resources they need to deliver successful projects. For international projects, she is responsible for liaising with internal and external stakeholders to agree the logistical and administrative support needed to deliver projects in both the UK and abroad.