It is with the greatest pleasure that I have now assumed my role at my new workplace. Slowly but surely, I am getting acquainted with Umeå University's ins and outs – even though I'm not a complete stranger to them. But a lot has happened since I was a student here myself. From new buildings to new initiatives, not to mention many more students! These past few years, there has been a surge in both the number of students studying in Umeå, and those studying remotely. So far, I've managed to easily find my way around our campus, and have been warmly welcomed by colleagues and students alike. Thank you all for that!
Becoming Deputy Vice-Chancellor feels exciting and challenging, in a good way. It's a particular pleasure to join an organisation that is so well run, and where such efforts have already been made. Thank you, Heidi, for the fantastic work you did in terms of education together with other members of staff and with students. It's a privilege to get to build on that. (I'll do my best to raise the bar even further!) I noted, for example, that the Swedish Higher Education Authority gave us top marks for our quality-assurance management. To me, this is a testament to the University's dedicated and hard work – and proof of the fact that trust-based governance, with dialogue on multiple levels, is a strategy that works. It is why we are able to offer our students such high-quality programmes and courses; communicating about that in turn puts us on the map of the Swedish higher education landscape.
Cathrine Norberg, Deputy Vice-Chancellor of education
Photo: Mattias Pettersson
Since my first day in January, I've managed to participate in several such dialogues, and attended a meeting with the group I will probably be most intensely involved with, the Strategic Council for Education. Doing so made me feel energised and brought me joy. Quite a lot is happening in the field of education: we need to take a stand on the much-debated AI chat robot ChatGPT, discuss CSN's new student financing for professionals as well as lifelong learning, and consider the demand for skills to fuel the societal transformation of northern Sweden. And that's just the start.
I've also visited some of the University's departments, and can't wait to drop by the other ones. Just before Christmas, I got to visit the Umeå Arts Campus – a stunningly beautiful location – and marvel at its artistic output. Being a professor of English, I've naturally also strolled over to the Department of Language Studies, which is where I myself studied back in the day (only then it was still called the Department of English). The place where it all started for me... "My" corridor is still there, as are the large lecture halls; I even bumped into some familiar faces. It warmed my heart and felt like coming home when I saw that some of the artwork I used to walk past every day as a student, and which left an impression on me then, still adorns the hallways.
While I've had the privilege of meeting many employees and students so far, I look forward to chatting with more of you.
Nice to meet you all!