We move into summer with valuable experiences behind us

16 June 2022

The summer holidays are approaching, and from the entire university management, we would like to thank you for your good work during the spring semester. The other day we talked about how the last few months have been both difficult and educational.

University Management. Not present in the photo: Katrine Riklund.

Photo: Mattias Pettersson

During the spring, the University had to tackle several new challenges, which highlighted the central importance of learning and knowledge development in our organisation, not only for students, but for all employees including those of us in the university management.

The return to campus was as longed-for as it was new for us all. What a difference it made to meet again as we used to, with life and movement across our campus. We did not go back to working the way we did before the pandemic, however, but moved forward based on new lessons and insights. How do we want to work in the future? In this blog, we would like to thank all faculty and staff for showing the same sustained commitment that we witnessed during the many phases of the pandemic.

While the academic year has brought many bright memories, we have also had reason to review and work extra hard to improve the work environment for employees and students. We should not hide the fact that it has been tough to learn about the different manifestations of gender-based vulnerability at our university. Many improvement measures are already underway, and the different evaluations and studies presented in the spring have given us a solid foundation for future work. It is only when we work together that we can create a safe workplace that lives up to the University's values. We are each other's work environment.

The concerns raised by the war in Ukraine have not escaped anyone. Our thoughts have been and still are with all the people affected. As a university, our task is to stand up for academic and democratic values at a time when they are being challenged. We have had to deal with complicated situations, such as the government calling on Swedish higher education institutions to cease contacts and collaborations with state-run institutions in Russia and Belarus. The University has in various ways and through international co-operation provided support to students and researchers from or in Ukraine who have been affected by the war. For example, we have recently launched a donation initiative (in Swedish) for Ukrainian students in Umeå who have arrived here via the EU's Temporary Protection Directive.

Another new situation facing our university and the whole of northern Sweden is the ongoing green industrial transition. This is an exciting development, to say the least, and the University naturally wants to contribute in a relevant way with research and education. To this end, we have requested additional funding from the government.

What becomes clear when we face new situations is that the university is a knowledge-driven organisation. Our culture is characterised by a genuine desire to develop, seek answers, and ask new questions. This is one of the many reasons why the university is such an interesting and enjoyable place to work. Perhaps this is something to remind yourself of when your toes are longing for sand and it's time to set your automated email response before the summer holidays?

We wish you a wonderful and relaxing summer.

Vice-Chancellor Hans Adolfsson
Pro-Vice-Chancellor Katrine Riklund
Deputy Vice-Chancellor Dieter Müller
Deputy Vice-Chancellor Heidi Hansson
University Director Hans Wiklund
Deputy University Director Per Ragnarsson

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