Questions and answers about the vision

A new vision implies a new way of thinking, and working, which naturally raises a few questions. Some answers are available, others are steadily developing. This is where some of your questions get answered and also where you can share your views on the vision.

What is included in the new vision?

The vision describes the responsibility that Umeå University assumes for meeting societal challenges, our plan to further the development of research and education, and how we will position ourselves in the world and increase our ability to attract students, members of faculty and staff, collaborative partners and funding.

What distinguishes the new vision from the previous?

This vision is anchored in three guiding principles and contains a summary of who we are and what Umeå University stands for today. It contains neither an end date nor any ready-made objectives. The vision will remain valid as long as it is considered meaningful and provides an effective guide for the choices, priorities and decisions made at all organisational levels. The framework of this vision allows different parts of the organisation to develop in their own distinct ways, depending on their specific requirements and needs. Another noticeable difference is that the new vision is much shorter than the previous version.

The vision contains no objectives – so what activities and indicators will be needed?

The vision describes where Umeå University wants to be in the future, but what guiding principles will be most urgent to implement first and what activities are needed will differ between each department and office. Each department and office knows best what actions are necessary and how. All parts of the organisation and all members of faculty and staff are expected to take responsibility for defining these activities and indicators. Trusting each other is key – everyone needs to take responsibility to not only bring forward their views, but also to listen and be willing to make changes and try a new approach.

If everyone follows their own activity plans and indicators, won't the need for reports and follow-up be huge?

No, not since follow-up will partly be carried out in a new way. Some reports such as financial reporting will still be necessary, of course. But other forms, such as indicating if the organisation is moving in line with the vision, will be carried out in dialogues and through less traditional reporting methods. Since all decisions made should be based on the vision, we will all be moving in the same direction, in the direction of the statements made in the vision.

There is much talk about the concept of "trust-based governance", in which ways will that have an impact on our current way of working?

Umeå University already works actively in trust-based models between various levels of management and the organisation, particularly in research and education, which needs to make and take responsibility for their own prioritisations. Therefore, governance will not differ greatly from previous models. Henceforth, everyone must continue to take joint responsibility for working at one university with one joint vision. However, it must be reflected in how the organisation's actions are followed-up, or else trust-based governance will be a mere "half-trust governance". It is still being discussed what is required before we are able to judge if our progress takes place in line with the vision. More information will be available as soon as possible. What has been mentioned are new and developed forms for dialogue, or maybe some new indicators to signal whether progress is heading the intended way.

What follow-up methods should be used?

It is important to be able to follow if and how much the University is progressing in accordance with the vision. What indicators for follow-up that the University will use is still not in place. The strategic councils have been assigned to propose indicators and definitions or measurements in each strategic council's field with links to the vision. Indicators do not refer to what is already legislated.

The ultimate goal is that indicator measurements should be developed on an institution-wide level. That suggests that indicators should work on all organisational levels if possible.

On 26 November, the Vice-Chancellor hopes to approve the Umeå University operational plan for 2020–2022 after joint discussions between the University Management and faculty managements based upon the proposals by the strategic councils.

How does this affect our operational planning?

The vision forms the basis for a long-term plan of operations at the University that runs in three-year periods. The objective is to work with trust-based governance according to the vision. The purpose of three-year plans of operations is to form long-term prospects with annual revisions of activities, national assignments etc. in the plan of operations.

Based upon the approved vision, the directions for plan of operations for 2020–2022 are as follows:

  • The Vision for Umeå University should form the basis for all operational planning on all organisational levels. Proposals for institution-wide indicators will be presented in September and finally approved in November. In the plans of operations, all organisational units can include their own indicators, activities, assignments, etc.
  • After consultation with faculty managements and other parties, the Umeå University plan of operations for 2020–2022 is scheduled for approval on 26 November 2019. The reason behind the postponing is that, similar to the vision process, the University wants to achieve a bottom-up process where the plans of operations at faculties, the Umeå School of Education, the University Administration and the University Library form a basis for the University's overall plan of operations for the period of 2020–2022. Government assignments or equivalent may be presented in the budget bill for 2020. These assignments or equivalent will then be included in the Umeå University plan of operations for 2020–2022.
  • Faculties, the University Administration jointly and the University Library have the possibility to add instructions of subjects, fields and guidelines in the work with plans of operations at subdivisions or sections.
  • National assignments (according to letters of regulation and national guidelines), and current prioritisations that each respective organisational unit is affected by, should be included with a comment in the plan of operations. The Umeå University plan of operations and budget for 2019 state what national assignments and University Management selected projects should be in focus for 2019.
  • Planned measures for those activities that concern each faculty or equivalent and that are mentioned in the Umeå University Quality System for Education should be included in the plan of operations.
  • Important topics to take into consideration in a three-year plan of operations are:
    • Work environment
    • Equal opportunities (gender mainstreaming and active measures)

Skills supply should also be taken into consideration in the plan of operations.

Deadline for plan of operations

  • Faculties, Umeå School of Education, the University Administration (jointly) and the University Library establish their plans of operations for the period of 2020–2022 no later than 31 October 2019. Reporting is submitted digitally to
  • Departments, units, centres and offices in the University Administration (separately) establish their plans of operations for the period of 2020–2022 no later than 20 October 2019. Any reporting is submitted digitally to each department or equivalent.

Henceforth, each organisational unit must annually check their progress according to their plan of operations.

What is the Umeå University spirit?

"The cohesive environment enables a strong sense of community and a dynamic and open culture in which we rejoice in the success of others. We call it the Umeå University spirit." From the Vision for Umeå University.

Where do I turn when I have questions and views?

First of all, please turn to your immediate manager. But you can also ask a question about the vision using the contact form below.

The Communications Office is responsible for collecting and processing any incoming questions or reflections. In order to provide a response, questions cannot be submitted anonymously. Hence, please log in before you submit the form.


Download the vision in pdf format:

Vision for Umeå University in English

Vision för Umeå universitet in Swedish

Order a Printed copy

The Vision for Umeå University is available in a joint Swedish and English brochure. Order the brochure from the Communications Office through

Anna Lawrence