As a new head of department, I felt a need to get to know the Department better. The various research groups were challenged to present themselves at our Annual Strategy Seminar in January, where two from the management of each research group are invited. This became an intense but exciting day. Feedback from other research groups was that this was especially useful for them, too. It was very interesting to hear about all the important research projects running at K2 and all the teaching that is being done. It became evident that the size of the research groups varies considerably and that much has happened – both structural and professional – since they were formed. The teaching tasks seem unevenly distributed and the research groups do not seem to be the most optimal organization in relation to teaching.
The next step is to meet representatives from the groups in separate meetings, preferably where the groups are physically located. The groups are challenged to provide a SWOT analysis where one wishes to hear about their strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. What can K2 do for the groups? We usually take a tour in the laboratories where appropriate. We are now about half way and feedback on the process is currently very good.
As part of the get to know better process, we just had a seminar on the relationship between the management and the administration at Ullensvang Hotell. The various sections of the administration were also challenged to provide a SWOT analysis. This became an interesting and useful exercise and provides a tool for making necessary changes, small and large, so that we can work more optimally and more efficiently with better research and teaching as the long-term goals. Some key words are that increased specialization and decentralization (between faculty and institute) has given increased quality and efficiency, but that this also gives a more vulnerable situation with regard to absence. Increased focus on digitization and written routines that are readily available for users can relieve a pressed administration. Improved communication between administration and users with increased awareness of expectations both ways can contribute to more efficient service from the administration.
Finally, I would like to remind you of the Teaching Day May 2. Here, it is important to attend!