words from the deans at lusem
Welcome to the Deans’ Corner! This is where our Dean Mats Benner gives you the latest from his perspective. But from time to time you will also meet the other Deans here, like Ulf Johansson and Martin Blom below. Or guests. With new posts communicated in LUSEM Staff News you will always be up-to-date with Mats and the other Deans!
26 May: Vice Dean Ulf Johansson
Thanks to those of you that participated – and you all took an active role, great! – in the external engagement seminar 11/5.
Continue reading below.
The introduction I held – focused on what the world around us (with a focus on companies, municipalites, government agencies and NGOs) think of us – is available for those that missed it here. That presentation was then the background for some group work on; if those around us think of us this way, what should be our priorities when it comes to external engagement. The material collected from the group discussions – by my collegues in the LUSEM External Engagement Council – will be one part of input when the council discusses the strategy for external engagement in mid-June. The aim is a strategy on external engagement that has clear priorities and with those priorities set, we can move forward with how we work with external engagement in a better way. Hopefully this will mean a lift to LUSEMs external engagement work overall.
External engagement has a special standing among the areas that we MUST engage in as an academic institution. The law (new wording from 2021) says the following (in Swedish):
”I högskolornas uppgift ska det ingå att samverka med det omgivande samhället för ömsesidigt utbyte och verka för att den kunskap och kompetens som finns vid högskolan kommer samhället till nytta”.
We need to be active in teaching, research and external engagement, this is what is clear from reading (part of) the laws that govern what we do. Still it has a special standing as we do not get specific money for that, but are expected to engage in external engagement anyway. I understand that this is of course problematic to some extent and it would better if responsibility also came with resources. But it does and we still have to engage in activites that involve external engagement. Some of us do this by making sure that we have people from the outside as guest or as live cases in our teaching (which is often very appreciated by our students). The other way is to see it as part of our engagement in research. I would say that most research councils at the moment expect that research projects somehow engage in spreading results and implications from research done to a broader set of stakeholders than just other researchers. Accordingly, engagement in research project could also serve as a springboard – and a resource to draw on – to spread results from our research.
Whishing you all a fantastic spring and summer!/Ulf J
12 May 2023
"May is a hectic month, engaging things happen all the time. One of the things in May that makes me most proud and happy is the awarding of honorary doctorates. This year, we celebrate two people who in their own ways have made LUSEM great services.
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Ann MacCants, professor in History at MIT, was for many years the President of the International Economic History Association. She served on one of LUSEM’s evaluation board of RQ 20 (Lund University’s latest research assessments) and cooperates with several esteemed colleagues at the school. Helga Nowotny is the doyen of European research policy and was one of the initiators of the European Research Council. She too has collaborated with LUSEM colleagues extensively and played an active role in Lund University’s 350th anniversary. You have an opportunity to meet with and listen to them on May 25, at 1pm in the Crafoord hall. In the morning of the same day, Ester Barinaga will present at the Research for breakfast seminar. And there will be a book release of Tommy Andersson’s latest oeuvre on May 16. And many more things, every day at this amazing time of year. LUSEM is buzzing!"
28 April 2023
"The strategic direction of our school is a pivotal issue. Not only in our external communication, of course, which is where most strategy documents seem to aim. But also internally, as a strategy should serve as a summary of guiding principles and, one might hope, even a source of inspiration.
Continue reading below.
For strategies to function in that way, dialogue is needed. And dialogue we shall have! Last week I met with an engaged group of faculty, staff and students to discuss our strategic profile, and to solicit comments and discussions of improvement and clarification, even re-direction, of our strategy. The slides are enclosed here. Suffice to mention, the direction afforded at the seminar was that we aim to be a broad business school, prepared to take on challenging societal issues, with a marked international profile. This seemed to resonate well with those present at the meeting.
Other opportunities to partake in the shaping of LUSEM’s strategic orientation will follow; the next opportunity will be on May 11, when Ulf Johansson chairs a meeting on external engagement and how we are positioned to make use of that. Again, dialogue is a defining feature of our school, so let’s make this happen. Time and time again."
Postcard from Mats, Ulrika and Ulf in Australia!
14 April 2023
31 March 2023
"As we approach Easter and hopefully time for relaxation and a change of habits, let me just point at some things approaching.
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As you may have noticed, the economy is quite unstable, and the future very unpredictable. The university as a whole exercises financial moderations with savings where they can be found. This also applies to LUSEM, and one thing that we will have to scrap – at least this year – is the summer party. I hope for your understanding of this: we make many smaller cutbacks to adjust our finances, to avoid major cutbacks later on.
On April 20, 1-3 pm, everyone is invited to a seminar on the strategic direction of LUSEM. This will be an opportunity to assess the ambitions we have set – were they realistic? Should we set other goals? – and to overall gauge where we are going as a school. We take pride in our Scandinavian heritage where every voice and opinion counts, so don’t miss this opportunity to speak your mind and share your experience. More information to come.
Enjoy the egg-citing holiday break!"
Postcard from the Dean in Liverpool!
17 March 2023
3 March 2023
"LUSEM is a collegial organization, and this can be seen in all of our activities where the scientific perspective permeates our directions and activities. Our board is no exception, composed as it is of a majority of academic teachers, but also with members of staff, student representatives and members from society at large (including our chairperson, Lena Henningsson).
Continue reading below.
The ensuing blend of perspectives has been particularly helpful in discussing and setting the strategic orientation of our School, including the strategic plan decided last year.
I just got back from this semester’s first meeting with the faculty board, which included on its agenda new measures to promote professors, a forthcoming change in the appointment of PhD grading committees, the experience of student’s speak up days, our programme portfolio’s attractiveness, and the economic standing of the School. Discussions were frank and friendly, with inputs from all around the table based on rational arguments and dialogue between all parties. In an age where quick fixes and authoritarian ideals abound, it feels secure to have such a forward-looking and legitimate body as the faculty board in place."
10 February 2023
“What is the future of business schools? LUSEM is many things, we are part of the attractive medieval city of Lund, or of broad and venerable Lund University. But we are also part of a field of business schools and what happens in it affects us.
Continue reading below.
I had the possibility to reflect on these matter when I spent a few days in Madrid last week at the meeting for deans that are part of EFMD (European Foundation for Management Development), the mother organization of the EQUIS accreditation.
The gathering opened many opportunities to interact with other schools, and there is clearly a bewildering variety of business schools around, from those lavished in endowments and charging hefty tuition fees from global students to those who struggle with scarce public funding and local recruitment. But altogether, all business schools seem to circle around a number of issues and challenges.
In the discussion, I could identify six that cut across the broad range of business schools.
- The first is to widen the educational offering and adopt a life-long learning approach.
- The second is to ensure that curricula are up to date and reflect challenges in business and society.
- The third is to enforce that students learn in an interactive manner.
- The fourth is to address the well-being of faculty, staff and students.
- The fifth is to incorporate sustainability in all activities.
- The last one is to infuse education with a sense of direction and values.
I was happy to note that these points all resonate with the direction of LUSEM. We should be proud but not content, in our common ambition to be a leading business school, in the world and for the world.“
27 January 2023
“Welcome back after the holidays! Yesterday, the management team held a presentation of some of the issues that will follow us during the spring, and I take the liberty of reiterating them here. A primary concern will be the accreditation processes – this time EQUIS and AMBA that will follow in 2024. Yes, I am fully aware that there have been ongoing discussions as to the virtues of accreditations.
Continue reading below.
They are not part of standardization of our work, I would argue, but rather a way for us to show that we know who we are and where we are aspiring. Hence, they give us the opportunity to articulate our mission and have it assessed by peers from fellow business schools. In order to facilitate the process, everyone's cooperation is essential and Margareta Dackehag, who is responsible for quality assurance, will be pivotal and your cooperation with her most appreciated. We will also arrange a series of open seminars for all faculty and staff on matters pertaining to our direction and issues that we need to address: they concern a dialogue of our strategy – is it valid? Is it realistic? Where are we heading? In another seminar we will explore what we mean by external engagement and if it really helps us in attaining higher quality in education and research. A third issue, that will be explored in a series of events, is the credibility and trustworthiness of our research and how we work with research ethics. We will also explore how we work with sustainability as a goal and ideal in education and research. Finally, the issue of AI and how it will affect how we afford education – teaching and examination not least – will be carefully discussed.
All in all, we will do this to continue the work of being an integrated, topical, interactive, trustworthy business school – at the top of our game, never content but always ambitious and aspiring.“
22 December 2022
“It’s that special time of year… When we think about what we aspired to do, and what we have achieved. And perhaps ponder a bit about the shape of things to come.
Continue reading below.
It has indeed been a long year, commencing as we did with a total lock-down and complete digitalization in the first months, followed by a rapid opening up where we have experimented with various forms of pedagogics, meeting techniques and ways of interacting. We ended on a lighter note, where a sense of normality returned. I am astonished by the resilience and ingenuity of all staff, faculty and students to respond and adjust to turbulent conditions. And all the time, there has been business as usual: grant applications, lectures, services, and even the occasional travel.
Let me, on behalf of the management team, take this opportunity to thank you for all your efforts, wishing you a relaxing and amazing holiday with massive amounts of leisure and opportunities to pursue whatever whim that enters your mind. Winter can be wonderful, enjoy it to the fullest!“
9 December 2022
“In this newsletter, the importance of work safety and work environment is highlighted among many other things that is showcased at this busy time of the year. And they are in the limelight for a good reason.
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Ours is not only an environment of achievements and ambitions, but also one of safety and concerns for our well-being, physical and social. Academia can sometimes appear to be a zero-sum environment, where hungry wolves are better hunters, and where one person’s success is another person’s failure. This is absolutely not the case, as both experience and – indeed – research shows. Long hours also after the end of the office day and during weekends, and limited social interaction, do not make for a sustainable environment. Therefore, reports and oversight of our working conditions are pivotal if we are to remain a leading business school. A good environment is a concern for all of us, and let’s see this as a strategic concern – in doing so, we will become a school of choice, a preferred place to join, as student, faculty and staff.“
24 November 2022
“The turmoil surrounding the study of student appearance and grades triggers many questions. For LUSEM’s part, this has been a matter of internal and external dialogue. Within LUSEM with the department and all involved there, with the student union and with all heads of department.
Continue reading below.
This dialogue continues to ensure that everyone involved gets heard and is being seen. Within Lund University, the dialogue is done with the university management and with LTH. Last week I met with the students at LTH, and I have had regular contact with LTH’s management. Next week I will be meeting with all parties again. And of course there has been external interest, to say the least. When media or the public calls, I respond.
The stance of LUSEM’s management is unequivocal: researchers choose subjects on their own, based on their interests and engagement. Our role is to inform about the procedures of research, including ethical concerns, to all relevant parties, and this has been done consistently over the years. Should complaints be made, the faculty, in collaboration with other entities at the universities and nationally, investigate if procedures have been correct.
What happens now? The faculty will organize a seminar on matters of integrity and research design early next year. The internal discussion will certainly continue, with the departments and in our forums for research and PhD training. More generally, we should keep our cool and focus on what is right and justified, especially in times in crisis. And take care of one another, and not let the stress of others shape our actions.“
11 November 2022
“This is a busy time of year and loads of things are happening, both expected and unexpected. I hope all are well and find the time to both focus and step back and relax and reflect.
Continue reading below.
I have just returned from a university-wide visit to the United States, in my capacity as a trustee of Lund University Foundation (LUF). This is a foundation dedicated to interaction with friends of Lund University in the United States. During my trip I noticed a great deal of interest and engagement in Lund University in general and activities in areas of LUSEM in particular. LUF arranges yearly seminars in the United States – this fall about advances in tumor research – and will do so in 2023, this time in the area of finance, sustainability and human rights. I am proud of this attention and will take the opportunity to profile LUSEM's strengths to our friends in the US.
This is also a time to reflect on research ethics and the independence of scholars and the conditions of academic freedom. When issues and opinions abound, it is important to stay clear and focused. I feel confident that issues that have come to general attention will be carefully scrutinized in relevant forums within Lund University and nationally, and that we as a result will be guided in the ethical and legal frameworks of academic research.“
27 October 2022: Guest in the corner, Margareta Dackehag!
“Why not invite guests now and then to my corner,“ Mats said. Great idea!
With that said we now begin a new era within the corner! Our first guest outside “the Deans group" is our very own Quality assurance coordinator at the Dean's office, Margareta Dackehag, who tells us all there is to know of relevance for the moment about the accreditation work which she is deeply involved in.
Continue reading below.
“LUSEM obtained the last EQUIS accreditation and the first AMBA accreditation in 2019. In 2021 AACSB accredited the School for the first time, completing our triumph. Triple accreditation is an achievement for the entire School, an achievement giving rise to great pride (because we are that good) but definitely not complacency (because we always aim to improve).
The accreditations are an essential tool of quality assurance and quality development at the School. All faculties at Lund University are required to evaluate their education by means of external peer review at a regular basis but our School is the only faculty doing it by means of international accreditation systems. Ahead of us we have re-accreditation for EQUIS and AMBA approaching. EQUIS evaluates the whole School while AMBA focuses on education in general management (Master’s in Management championed the School brilliantly in 2019).
Our goal for the re-accreditation is to achieve the all clear for another 5-year period before the next evaluation. Preparations (in terms of documentation) have already started and will gain momentum in 2023 when we write and submit the self-assessment reports. The process culminates in the peer review visits by EQUIS and AMBA in the early spring of 2024. All the way, this is a team effort involving the whole School, but also a team opportunity to show developmental achievements and our direction for the future.
More updates about the accreditation work will be published on LUSEM staff pages. Keep a lookout!“
14 October 2022
”The world is opening up again, and we are slowly but surely resuming our international contacts. Only this fall, we have been or will be visited by universities from Australia, Italy and New Zeeland, and have taken part in conferences on international exchange and mobility on several occasions.
Continue reading below.
Our school is the preeminent International faculty at Lund University - and indeed in Sweden as a whole - and it is a relief to once again cultivate our international networks, which have served us so well. Only this time we need to think carefully about the sustainability of our international partnerships - and how we ensure that we are mobile in a way which is socially and environmentally sustainable. We aim for deeper and more long-lasting partnerships, ideally including both education, research and collaboration. And we should aim for innovation in internationalization, targeting new types of partners and regions in world, apart from our long-lasting relations. Whatever direction, international we must be, now more than ever, when boundaries and borders are being erected once again.”
Postcard from the Dean in Finland!
29 September 2022
”I am currently in Finland as part of a large university delegation led by the vice chancellor, to look into the topic of university profiling and how it might be done – as a preparation of things to come also in Sweden (irrespective of the color of government, if you ask me). I have had the opportunity to meet with many kind and informative people, including the dean of our sister school at Aalto, Timo Korkeamäki. What have I learnt? Profiling is nothing new to Finnish Universities, and they have learnt to live with an astonishing flood of government initiatives, to create flagships, centers, and now profiles. They have learnt to distill something useful in each of these instruments. Profiling for instance has sharpened the universities' stance towards recruitment, to renew faculty and to outline future directions and ensuing recruitment needs. For Aalto University, where I am now, it has enabled a collaboration between business, economics and ICT in data analytics, to meet the growing demand for competence in this expansive field. Thus, profile areas might be a blessing in disguise, a way to force us to think carefully about our future and where we should go. We may not live in the best of worlds, but we must do our best in the world in which we live.”
15 September 2022
”Surely, we know ourselves best and should be cautious in letting others tell us what is right and rightful. But from time to time it may be worth the effort to consider what others think of us and how we compare to the world. When we do so, we can be proud of our international standing – we are a triple accredited business school, one of only about 100 hundred of the world!
Continue reading below.
We should also be proud of the international standing of our programmes. At the time of writing, the Financial Times ranking of the programme in International Strategic Management came in. Fantastic news! Read more about them elsewhere in the staff news.
Rankings and accreditations are receipts rather than recipes, they are evidence of the hard work we do, not guidelines into the future. These guidelines we have to figure out ourselves, on the basis of what we are and where we aim. But our critical eye should not disguise what rankings and accreditations reveal – that we are a school to be reckoned with. We should be proud of what we are in the world, and what we are for the world: A progressive and ambitious place of learning, more than a business school.”
1 September 2022
“First of all, I would like to thank you for all the kind and encouraging words I have received during the last two weeks. As usual in the beginning of the fall semester I am amazed by the energy, activity and professionalism among both staff and faculty – routines, roles and relationships make this logistical challenge work.
Continue reading below.
This year I have had the pleasure of working closer than usual with my new colleagues at the Dean’s office and I have been further convinced of the importance of physical co-location. So many ideas that can be discussed and problems mitigated if we just make ourselves available to each other – may it be spontaneously around the coffee machine or by just leaving our office door open from time to time.
During my last twelve years as director for various programmes here at LUSEM I have noticed how coordination and cooperation among faculty (and administration) really makes a difference for our students. Therefore, I would like to strongly encourage all programme directors to meet regularly with your course leaders in order to facilitate a better understanding for what part their particular courses play in the programme structure, where the students are coming from, and where they are going. By being able to refer to previous and future programme courses we can help the students see the “programme” rather than just a bundle of courses. Of course, the same logic applies to individual courses where a close team of teachers can explain and deliver a coherent course rather than a series of modules or lectures. By working closer together, we can help the students connect the dots. Together we can make a difference.“
10 June 2022
“Looking back at the Spring semester, many memories come to mind. How we opened in a dour mood – will the pandemic never end? – and closed on an optimistic note, we can meet and greet once again, in the Hall of Light, in the corridors, in the meeting rooms!
Continue reading below.
How our world moved from stability to turmoil, but also how we learnt to rediscover the virtues of cooperation and friendly encounters, building bridges and – perhaps – planting the seeds for a more resilient future. At the School, we have set the direction for the future, rediscovering our roots as an encompassing and ambitious business school, that is so much more than that – embedding business knowledge in broader societal perspectives. We also constantly learn to reinvent ourselves, welcoming new members of our community and greeting those who depart for other opportunities and other adventures. As a School, we want to make a difference, we want to make the world a little better. Let’s cherish that ambition and wish one another a restful vacation.“
20 May 2022
“Universities are places of hard and stern work done in utmost seriousness. The amount of time and the degree of fatigue that lie behind an exam or a paper, or the efforts behind a conference and course administration, cannot be overestimated.
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However, universities are also playful places, where the mind is young and where joy emerges out of the unusual and unexpected. These words are written with the backdrop of the Lund Carnival’s emergence, and with the festivities of the Lund Race (Lundaloppet) in fresh memory. How great it feels! Lund is a place of joy and a place of exploration, of finding the unexpected, meeting with new and creative people and opening doors that may lead you everywhere. Take part, have fun and maintain and refine that wonderful Lund spirit. Lund is similar to all other eminent universities with one exception: it is fun too.“
6 May 2022
“Can we make the world better? This is one of the top priorities of our university, and of our school – to explain but also, most importantly, improve the world. Things certainly look somber at the moment...
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...with geopolitical turmoil, rampant inflation (at least by the standards that we have grown accustomed to), and continued heated confrontations between polar positions in our social landscape. Indeed, seldom has the need for cool, cautious advice been greater. In this, we draw on the breadth of the university, but also of our school; we are indeed a unique business school – more than a business school in fact – which can mobilize expertise in a wide variety of areas and fields. Only yesterday, this was evident in one of our morning talks with Fredrik NG Andersson, confronting heads-on the issue of inflation and if we are about to enter a new economic era of instability. In matters like this, we can shine as a place of learning but also engagement. To quote the novelist Tove Jansson: 'All things are so very uncertain, and that’s exactly what makes me feel reassured'.“
21 April 2022
“Where is LUSEM heading? For a university faculty located in Sweden, we are somewhat unusual, in the sense that there is a ’we’ and there is a ’heading’ – most faculties tend to be loose federations of only marginally connected disciplines and fields rather than a coherent ’we’.
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For many faculties, 'heading' depends on where you ask, who you ask and what you ask. But for LUSEM, these words matter. As we speak, the faculty board is about the set the strategic direction for us in the coming years, and it would be inappropriate of me to preclude that process. But in the process of planning the proposed strategy, a few words have gained ground in all quarters. One is balance, all we do should be in balanced – between education, research and collaboration. We should excel in all, not in one of them, in everything we do. Another is more. We should be more than a business school; we should have everything a business school is, highly profiled as such, but also draw on a breadth of competences. And we should benchmark, not in a simplified manner to just emulate “best practice” from others, but in the sense that we learn from others to see where we are in the world, to the world. Balanced, broad and benchmarked, that is how we can meet the future.“
7 April 2022
“Just back from today’s Morning Talk with Sofia Ulver in the Hall of Light, I want to share with you the sensation of seeing so many of you around, listening, chatting, having a coffee or the with a sandwich and letting the day start off. We are...
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...a compact school – just about the right size to meet and interact across borders – and should take every opportunity to engage with our many shared interests. Sofia gave many thought-provoking examples of how ideals and practices vary in the area of sustainability, and also pointed at some ways of resolving the tensions. (I for one learnt that is best to bicycle even if it is raining). For those unable to join, Sofia will present her work on the contradictions of living “green” on the staff pages.
Another opportunity to meet and greet your fellow LUSEM-ites will be in the afternoon on the 22nd when we celebrate the advent of spring and – more generally – the possibilities to again meet in the corridors, meeting room and class rooms of our school. Register today for this event! And take the opportunity to cherish the sensation of "being there", at long last...“
24 March 2022
“One of the lead words of today – reflecting uncertainties in society as a whole, in the labour market, in the economy, in the environmental ecology – is life-long learning (LLL). It is not always clear what is meant by LLL: is it the individual’s search for more knowledge and perhaps a little more wisdom – that is , life is for learning? Continue reading below.
Is it the transformation of society as a whole, and the preparation for entirely new jobs and outlets - prepare everyone for a future of electrical power and environmental sustainability, perhaps? Or is it to mitigate critical labour shortages in society, in teaching, health care and the like – train new teachers by the day? The debate is not always very clear. What we as a school may contribute with is most likely the gradual upgrading of competencies and capabilities, to cultivate professional expertise in a wide variety of settings and adopt it to changing circumstances. LUSEM is therefore uniquely positioned to play a role in LLL. Our areas of expertise constitute a generic advantage in many sectors. If we are to achieve this, we need flexibility and agility to meet new student groups and novel ways of working, and to work over disciplinary boundaries in new combinations. Life-long learning may not be all that easy, but it can be support us in our aim to be an active part in society.“
10 March 2022
“In these troubled times, glad tidings are more necessary than ever. Three come to mind, there are many more I am sure.
One concerns the Jan Söderberg Family Prize in Economics and Management. Continue reading below.
This year’s prize winner, Linus Dahlander, has made significant contributions regarding the interface between technical change and entrepreneurship, and will provide valuable impetus into our work in that area. Congratulations, Linus, and very many thanks, Jan and Åsa Söderberg, for creating this opportunity to highlight significant work with repercussions within our school.
Our internal interaction will benefit from two initiatives taken very recently – one concerning the opportunity to meet and interact with colleagues in a friendly environment, over breakfast and for an enlightening talk. First out is Stefan Sveningsson, today, more to come. And may I take the opportunity to inform you that all your inputs for change – small and large – will now have an outlet open 24/7. A suggestion box* will be available - whenever you see something, come across something, miss something, long for something, just tune in and drop your suggestion! Let’s all work together to make the world a little bit better.“
*To reach the suggestion box, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
24 February 2022
“In the unstable era that we live in, where knowledge is abundant but where wisdom is more scarce, expertise is more important than ever. As citizens we seek an understanding of complex social, economic and political phenomena and processes. As a school, we must take the responsibility to meet these expectations, and confront the challenges of uncertainty. Continue reading below.
Knowledge is never the ultimate response to everything, but it certainly enables a degree of security and overview and contributes to a calm and cautious conversation on tricky issues.
Lots of efforts are being made to spread knowledge and expertise, and LUSEM of course also takes part and contributes its share. We do so in many ways, and we now open up another channel where LUSEM scholars comment upon evolving events, in real time so to speak. We call this Expert Comment. This will cover issues of great ramifications throughout society, and will show that what we do at LUSEM is both salient and reliable. Tune in and take part in conversations on relevant knowledge and expertise, and how they may contribute to making the world a better place. First out is Johan Anselmssson, and I can’t wait to learn from him how the world will look when the pandemic is over.“
10 February 2022
“While it is tempting to use the space here to say something on the post-pandemic state of affairs, I must take recourse to Zhou Enlai’s famous analysis of the impact of the French revolution, ’it is too early to say’. Continue reading below.
What is not too early to say is that the spring semester has begun, with a wonderful turnout at the spring semester staff meeting and with intense discussions within the management team and with heads of departments on the future ambitions and directions of the School.
We will take the opportunity to discuss and debate this in full with all members of staff in the spring, but let me just give you an indication of the direction that we aim to set. The overall direction will be to ascertain our position as a leading internationally recognized business school. This goal in turn will be decomposed into a focus on directionality, campus development, quality, recruitment, and governance. If we succeed – and your input will be central here – we will enhance our understanding of our destiny as a school, our physical environment, our conception of quality, ways of recruiting and promoting and rewarding faculty and staff, and how we are organized and funded.
Nothing of this can be said, and even less so done, without input from us all. Only then we can say, with some confidence, that we will remain a world leading business school. So stay tuned for a year of interaction – social of course, intellectual as well, but also strategic – Reaching for the stars!“
27 January 2022
”Welcome to the Dean’s corner!
And no, we have not changed Dean, but Mats has kindly let me use this space to inform of some things regarding my responsibility area, namely external engagement/external relations. Continue reading below.
As some of you may have seen (or you might even have met him), we have recruited Stefan Dahlin as responsible for external relations at the Faculty. Stefan is an alumni from LUSEM and has, among other things, a background as sales manager for Ernst & Young. In his role, Stefan is the new CEO of our Partnership and while a lot of his time will be spent dealing with the Partnership, he will also be engaged in external relations for LUSEM in general. Stefan started 1st of December last year and is still trying to ‘find his way’ around the School. But if he contacts you, I hope you will accept his invitation and meet with him.
One of the main areas that external engagements/external relations are involved in is trying to connect interesting organisations to LUSEM. And here we want your help; what would – from your perspective be interesting organizations’ to connect to LUSEM? Please note that the word ‘organisations’ is used deliberately, instead of ‘companies’ as we feel that it is necessary to reach out and establish collaboration also with organisations outside the traditional business sphere; municipalities, government agencies, Not-for profit organisations, NGOs etc etc. If you have suggestions here – and these are then organisations that we will aim to bring into both teaching and research at the School – please get in touch with me.
Building on the point above, do you have connections with organisations that you think could benefit LUSEM if more co-workers at the School were able to connect to these organisations? Let me take myself as an example, I have worked together with Ingka (the largest franchise take for the IKEA brand) for many years. At the moment we are discussing how we can broaden the collaboration so that more co-workers at LUSEM can work with Ingka. From Ingka's perspective this comes with a lot of advantages, as their interest is to have broad connections to LUSEM as their operations and future challenges cover a lot of areas (and not just my area of marketing). So, if you have connections where both LUSEM and your contact organization(s) could benefit from a broader connection, get in touch!
During 2021, Faculty of Engineering (LTH) has experimented with what is known as affliated competence. This means that organisations outside the university and key senior staff there are given the opportunity to spend shorter or longer (usually 6-12 months) time at the University, and then working with (for them) relevant researchers. This way of working is much simpler set up than other tools we have for connecting people on the outside to the University (co-opting/adjunct). The experiment at LTH has turned out really well with a lot of positive experiences, and a number of other faculties at LU now also want to try this out. LUSEM is one of them. We will start with approaching our Partnership companies and Alumni to get a sense for the level of interest. From that, we will try to match with research groups etc. at LUSEM (and then ask if they are interested in hosting people there). At the LTH, it has turned out to be a win-win situation, benefitting both the organisations outside sending people, and if you already know that this is something you (and your group) would like to be involved in, please get in touch. Also if you have contacts with organisation where you feel LUSEM could benefit
Last but not least, I also would like you to know that we are on the verge of starting LUSEM’s External Engagement Council. This will be a forum where initiatives from Lund University External Engagement Council will be discussed. The council will also identify, discuss, coordinate and develop external engagement initiatives at LUSEM, trying to create an overall approach that also aligns with our strategy. The council will be advisory to the Vice dean for external engagements. The tasks for the council will be broad, ranging initiating and developing collaboration and setting up collaboration agreements with external partners to create focus for these collaborations and also create relevant connections to teaching and research at the School. As lifelong learning (including commissioned education) is climbing up the agenda at the University and at LUSEM, this is sure to be a topic in the council. The previously mentioned affiliated competence will also be something that the council will work with. Vice dean for external engagements will be chair, head of external relations will be member as will representatives for all the 6 departments at LUSEM. The council also has the possibility to co-opt others to their work and meetings.
That was all from me, I hope to hear from as many of you as possible!”
Vice dean for external engagements
21 December 2021
”When the year is coming to an end, and cheerful hopes and sighs abound, some eternal questions remain. One concerns how we communicate. This is certainly none of my areas of specialization, so I took the opportunity to chat with Anna Löthman, our very own editor-in-chief of staff news, on the why’s and do’s and don’ts of communication. Continue reading below.
Somewhat impolitely, I begun by asking Anna about why we should engage with communication as a school – when there is so much communication going on anyway. She responds cooly but passionately. Without communication there would be no humankind, we are humans because we communicate. This holds also for schools and other organizations. An organization without communication would be a top-down dictatorship, where things just happen, so we must allow for open-ended yet curated interaction. We cannot have enough of transparency, Anna argues, as there are so many questions, worries and hopes that need to be articulated and met with careful communication and dialogue. As for the coming year, Anna muses on the possibilities and opportunities of even more personalized communication, to allow for even more nuanced interaction and learning. And, she says not without an ironic twist, she nurtures the hope that the faculty leadership will be more visible to faculty, students and staff, meeting them in person more often. Mark your words, Anna, this will be my new year’s promise as well. So, town hall meetings, dialogues at staff meetings and the odd breakfast invitation for all at the school, will all happen in 2022. With that, thank you all for your keen interest and engagement in my and my colleague’s thoughts and reflections at this corner and elsewhere. You are the salt of the earth.”
7 December 2021
”A key to success and impact in a professional organization like ours is internal interaction. At the core of this interaction lies our staff within departments and centers as well as within the Dean’s office. Continue reading below.
To enable students and faculty to maximize the impact of their efforts, professional support is crucial, saves time and efforts, and provides support in tricky issues. LUSEM benefits enormously from the dedicated work of our staff, porters, communication officers, study advisors, international advisors among many others. A very recent addition to this group is Stefan Dahlin, who will lead the dean’s office work with external engagement, and bring about even more intense and rewarding interaction between our partners in society and our scholars and students. You will hear more from and about Stefan soon, this is just to welcome him and attune you to his role and assignment with us.
We are a unique faculty with our feasible size and compact environment, where colleagues are close by, and help and support only a mail or a door away. This density is one of our greatest asset and we should make good use of it and nourish it.”
23 November 2021
”The Academy is a complex place where many different forces and motivations co-exist, not always easily. Continue reading below.
One is the painstaking patience that lie behind the achievements that are so seemingly smoothly crowned in completed courses, funded projects and other achievements. Speaking of which, this is the time of year when research funders announce their outcomes. LUSEM is unproportionality successful in national competition for funding, and our portfolio of external grants is both deep (with many large-scale grants along with project support) and broad, with a notable presence throughout the school’s portfolio. 2021 is no exception to this, as the observant reader of the staff pages will have noted. We take great pride in all the achievements that our researchers have had, in securing grants, showing the significance, novelty and impact of their research. To enable this, and to top up some of the achievements, the faculty can be supportive, and this is a role that we take very seriously – to enable and motivate the bottom-up initiatives that are the foundation for all we do. But without the efforts of our faculty no strategy or ambition would be possible. It is the foundation for faculty management and will continue to be so.”
10 November 2021
”What are brands for? LUSEM is some twenty years old as an independent faculty and business school in its own right within Lund University...Continue reading below.
...and it is of vital importance–necessity even–for us to consider what we communicate to the world, and to ourselves. If we do not consider what we communicate, we will be communicating anyway but perhaps not what we think we want to be identified with. A great opportunity to consider and reflect on our brand and our identity is forthcoming on Monday, when Mats Urde, from business administration and world-renowned for his work on corporate identity, affords his view on what LUSEM stands for in the world and to ourselves. A brand is of course not an island or something that can be conjured up to impress the world, it reflects what we do, how we do it, and with whom we do it. It should be trustworthy and resilient, and represent long-lasting values, virtues and convictions. If we do not take the issue of our brand seriously, others will. It is about taking charge of our own destiny and future, which is not an insignificant task, but something that a school of our standing should take on readily and intellectually honestly. So, tune in on Monday’s event and take part in shaping our identity and future directions.”
27 October 2021
”A recurrent theme in conversations with both faculty at LUSEM and with stakeholders beyond academia is collaboration, between subject areas, and between academicians and society at large. Continue reading below.
The motives behind this engagement is manifold: new scientific frontiers are often opened in-between fields rather than within them, and impulses from society are often intellectually enriching. (the opposite applies for both of course, but collaboration tends to sharpen minds and ambition). To further entice you as LUSEM members to venture into the collaborative mode, the faculty management has launched an initiative to form interdiscipinary groupsing centred around societal challenges. Take the opportunity to explore possible avenues for collaboration! And, while we are at it, take the oppportunity to address the strategic direction of the School. At the time of publishing, the first seminar on our strategic orientation, with Anna Jonsson, has already passed, but another opportunity is ensuing, when LUSEM and its position and identity in the world, with brand expert Mats Urde as presenter, is forthcoming in November. Let’s work together in making LUSEM a place of learning and change, for the betterment of humankind.”
12 October 2021
”It's that time of year when economics is in the air. As a school we are taken pride in shaping the understanding of pertinent issues in our respective fields, evidenced though the role that members of our faculty plays in the process of selecting Nobel laureates in economics. Continue reading below.
As is seen in this newsletter, this year's prizes stress the role that economic knowledge has in understanding effects of interventions in different fields - where economics really make a difference and where there is urgent need of evidence. It is also, which is also highlighted in this issue, the time of year when new professors are installed, and it is a testimony to the breadth of our school that the two new professors have made core contributions in understanding regional disparities in growth and employment and the role of pan-European regulation for economic development. There are two of the most pressing issues in our time, when the future of European integration and the consequences of social and economic inequality shape political agendas.
There is a lot of talk about grand challenges and how universities should contribute to the resolution of those. Some of this may appear vacuous. We on our side take great pride in being a change agent, in highlighting how economic knowledge actually can make a difference.”
28 September 2021
”External engagement is at the core of our school. This fall will see enhanced engagement in our external relations, in a variety of forms. Corporate connections have a special assignment with one of the School's institutes, the Institute for Innovation Management which is eloquently presented by Thomas Kalling in this staff news, and the activities therein will be even more profiled this semester and beyond. Continue reading below.
The other institutes also play significant roles in their respective areas, in engaging with the public sector and its challenges (INSPA) and opportunities and the regulation of environmental affairs on the market and in society more broadly for LISI. The institutes have just begun and will make their mark even more in coming months. The Partnership foundation (Partnerskapet) has historically been a major interface for companies to engage in our education and research, and for faculty to meet with and be supported by external partners. it will benefit from the ongoing recruitment of a director of external engagement, who will align the foundation with work done elsewhere in the dean's office. A variety of other activities are ongoing, I have for instance the privilege to serve as LUSEM's representative in the steering group of a so-called strategic partnership with Tetra Pak, and this will most likely yield opportunities for collaborations with one of the region's most important companies in both education and research. We never compromise with out integrity but we do not hesitate either to engage with stakeholders - for the benefit of them and ourselves. We are an outgoing school, this is our heritage and we should make every effort to retain and refine it. "
14 September 2021
"We live in a world of profiles and priorities to make an impact, and universities are not exempted from this. We can no longer reside in the comfort of doing 'everything, equally well'. We need to describe what we do particularly well, and how we do it. Continue reading below.
In the last research bill of the Swedish government, the issue came to the fore with the introduction of so called profile areas, where Swedish universities are expected to formulate areas where they are particularly strong, in research but also with adjacent excellence in education and outreach. Thus triggers the question: How should Lund University profile itself? And what does LUSEM do in this? The work on formulating profile areas begun already in the spring but is now taking another step, under the auspices of the university leadership but with all faculties engaged. For this we as LUSEM faculty and staff need to sharpen our understanding – who are we? Where do we excel? And with whom do we excel, as profile areas are expected to span faculty borders?
These and other issues are on the table as we speak, and we as faculty leadership welcome any inputs into the process. Another opportunity will arise in about a month’s time when all faculty and staff are welcome to a seminar on the future strategy of our school – an opportunity to discuss where we should be heading, with whom and in which way. Exciting times!"
31 August 2021
"Welcome back after this summer, with so many opportunities to reflect on our way of living and working, in the world, for the world... The fall promises to be an opportunity for reinvigoration, of our work modes, ways of interaction, ways of aligning with the world. Continue reading below.
You will hear lots from the management team and from all the activities in the school. Suffice to say that this semester will be like none in our history, with the return to campus which has already started (read more in the LUSEM Staff News on the students' return and start of the semester), new strategic directions for the school, an overhaul of our ways of recruiting and retaining staff, and lots more. The format of our communication will also be expanded, and we will move from the dean's corner to the deans' corner, a small but not insignificant change... Stay tuned.
And on a personal note, and as a reflection of the intersection between the private and the public: While everyone must make their own choice, vaccinations seem to be key to a more viable future. You can take it for free, during office hours. Please consider this opportunity.
Welcome back, again, let's make this a fall to remember!"
15 June 2021
"We live in interesting times. After a decade of more or less uninterrupted growth of university funding and remits, we are now at a watershed. The last year has seen a massive increase in short-term and earmarked programmes in teaching and in research, possibly to the detriment of long-term and stable funding at our own disposal. This serves as an indication that future funding and missions will reflect priorities and ambitions set outside the university to a far greater degree than before. Continue reading below.
Universities therefore need to be proactive, now more than ever, and formulate their own ambitions and goals to meet the increasing political propensity to intervene in how universities teach and do research. This holds true for Lund University and LUSEM as well. LUSEM is prepared to take part in such a profiling and in the formulation of the broad mission of a university. Breadth will always be Lund University’s premier identity, but this is sometimes forgotten when all the the talk about the University circles around large-scale facilities or research centres in fashionable areas. Important as they may be, they only cover parts of the experience and remit of Lund University. LUSEM brings to the table a unique proximity between students, teachers, administration and external partners, a true Lund learning experience. Such an experience must be part of the University’s offer to profile itself. And we will ensure that we will be central in future formulations of the university’s profile and missions. LUSEM has a good story to tell, both of our accomplishments so far and our future ambitions.
With that I wish you a relaxing summer, and very much look forward to welcoming you back – with the usual disclaimers – to campus in the fall, a fall that promises to be festive and fruitful!"
1 June 2021
"As summer slowly but surely announces its arrival with the promises of rest and rejuvenation, questions might arise regarding the season that inevitably will succeed it. How should we think about the fall? Continue reading below.
There is a flurry of announcements now, from the government, from the university and also from many other sources. As of now, the position is clear, we continue as before until late August in the predominantly digital and distanced mode. And a degree of caution is certainly called for as we still know only little of the dynamics of the pandemic and how it might play out in the coming months.
But one way or the other, the fall will be quite different from the spring and from last year. It will be tangible and in the presence, and this is an opportunity to reignite our interaction. Most likely, there is an urge and a longing for shared experiences in real life. One of the key ambitions of the faculty leadership is to facilitate collaboration, with external partners of course, but also internally. We will experiment with novel ways of interaction and sharing experiences between different parts and groups in the school. You will experience this in the form of public engagements and seminars, and in festivities where we cherish our environment. And mind you, there is reason to celebrate, not only because of the opening up but also in the fact that we as a faculty within Lund University turn 60 this year. The motives for the propelled interaction are not purely social but also intellectual: there is much to be gained from collaboration and for joining forces in matters large and small. We are a social school, and it is high time to think how we might channel that energy into new ways of meeting and learning from one another."
18 May 2021
”We get by with a little help from our friends. These eternal lines are valid not last for business schools like ours. As a school, we are fortunate to have an environment that is supportive and engaged in what we do, and willing to back up that interest with financial commitments, openness to collaboration, and engagement in teaching and research. Continue reading below...
A heated debate is currently ongoing concerning business schools and their dependence on external support, especially when it comes from companies, foundations and private benefactors. And it is indeed a balancing act to engage in fundraising, where interests must be disclosed – what does collaboration and donations entail? We on our side are fortunate to be largely publicly funded, which gives us the financial backbone to formulate our own goals and directions, and not be subjected to the vagaries of the market. However, external support is vital, sometimes even essential, to top up public funding. If managed well, it can be of great mutual reward. Again, we need to be clear about our values and expectations when we engage with external sponsors and benefactors.
Our work with our friends and supporters will be even further revitalized in the coming years. One example is the Partnership foundation, which gives us a network of collaborators and opportunities to tie students and teachers to companies, and vice versa. We are also exploring opportunities to refine collaboration in specific areas, for instance regarding economic sustainability and financial stability. This will enable us to explore new avenues of teaching and research, and form alliances with social interests in so doing. Such explorations could well be, to use another immortal line, the beginning of a beautiful friendship."
4 May 2021
”Our school is quite unique among Lund University’s nine faculties, by being compact and integrated. We sit in close proximity and our subjects intersect. We have a shared commitment and engagement in educating students in a broad yet delimited area. In our work, we all articulate with the economy in a wide sense. Continue reading below...
Nevertheless, proximity and mutual obligations are not in themselves sufficient to drive collaboration and exchange. For that, a culture and a practice of sharing and collaborating is needed, articulating and representing a 'we' that extends beyond individual ambition and identity.
As a school, we have a unique opportunity to propel that collaborative sentiment and practice when we return to campus in the fall, when interaction will take on physical forms again.
To prepare for this, the school management has already begun to take intiatives to profile us as one unit, and more will come. The three institutes that have been incepted aim to operate beyond boundaries, and profile LUSEM’s collective voice and ambition in a volatile environment. Our ways of utilizing digital forums for education, research and collaboration will be further refined, to prepare for a future where the physical and the digital will be blended.
We have also begun looking into how we may make our physical campus more coherent and supportive of meetings and interaction. Enhanced cross-disciplinary collaboration and topics-driven interaction, with stakeholders and representatives of different areas of the School, are also something that we will see more of in the future. Overall, we should be even better at engaging students, staff and faculty in setting joint goals and ambitions for the School.
It is all rather simple –LUSEM should be shaped by inclusion, diversity and engagement in everything we do. Only so can we live up to our goal: of making a difference."
20 April 2021
”What is the business of business schools? This is of critical importance for a school that teaches and researches on the efficacy and legitimacy of organizations. One central part is how we allocate resources that we get from the state, via the University centrally (sometimes called floor funding or institutional support). This amounts to about 200 million Swedish kronor annually for education and almost 90 million Swedish kronor for research. Continue reading below...
Currently, the model for education is rather straightforward, but some reallocations are made to cater for specific needs that pertain to our school: internationalization, programmes at advanced levels, and life-long learning are among those. For research, resource distribution is based on a combination of the number of professors, number of students, PhDs awarded, publication output, and external grants, to allow for both stability and dynamics.
It is essential that our own allocation system gives the right incentives and provides motivation for great efforts. Hence, the design and outcomes of the models are issues that must be monitored and discussed: do they stimulate recruitments, external grant seeking, the formation of strong networks and high-impact publications in research, and renewal and quality in education?
It is as important to expand our financial foundation, and to build on opportunities and networks that reside outside of the School. Tuition fee-paying students is one such category for education, as is commissioned education. For research, external grants form a core source of expansion of research and PhD training, and one of the key challenges for the School is widen and deepen our external support. Another resides in donations and external alliances of different sorts, an area in which business schools have been very active; ours included.
The business of business schools is therefore more multifaceted that one might surmise: to perform topical and trustworthy education, and do research that expand knowledge frontiers and that also aligns with broad tendencies in society. To be an eminent business school, we must therefore be prepared to do many things at the same time – and distribute resources in a way which enables that balancing act. Complex and challenging, indeed, but also rewarding, for a business school that wants to improve the world."
7 April 2021
”What’s in a word? The term 'institute' has many associations. At LUSEM, institutes are initiatives to mark the presence of LUSEM in areas of topicality and societal importance.
In 2021, three such institutes have been launched, funded from the dean’s designated budget, and decided on an annual basis. Continue reading below...
The aim is that this funding will be leveraged by external support and recognition, and that it will reinvigorate activities within the School. Internal and external added value are key deliverables, in the form of collaborative ventures with external stakeholders, of events and seminars, and in other activities of high visibility and impact.
The institutes also serve as an experiment in organizational variation. They may proliferate, may change, or be terminated. They do not supersede or collide with departments and research centres; they instead function as additional measures for swift and decisive responses to areas that span disciplinary and organizational boundaries.
The three institutes serve as a beginning. One covers public affairs, how common interests are articulated and managed by the state and public organizations. Another covers sustainability, and how business and economics affect, and are affected by, the adjustments and adaptations that the climate crisis brings with it. Yet another cover innovation, how economies change and transform, and how firms evolve and adapt in a transient economy.
Thus, LUSEM institutes shall serve as catalysts for our core activities. Their exact form will vary, and they will have different foci. They are all tokens of the overarching ambition of LUSEM to make a difference. For real."
22 March 2021
”It is sometimes said that culture eats strategy for breakfast. And indeed, lofty strategies often fall flat when they meet the realities of organizational life. That does not mean that strategies are necessarily mere distractions. At best, they set directions and provide instruments and conditions to meet them. Yet, devising a strategy is, as is well known in an expert environment like LUSEM, an intricate matter. To make sense, a strategy must align with current position, potential movement, available resources, and future ambitions. Continue reading below...
Lund University has a ten-year strategy (2017-2026), which emphasizes a number of critical elements: that education and research shall meet the highest standards and be intertwined, that societal challenges shall be addressed, that eminent study environments be provided, and that we shall achieve this through credible leadership and excellent working conditions. LUSEM is now in the process of revising its strategy, to align with Lund University’s broad ambitions and to articulate the School’s own directions. The faculty board will decide on the strategy in December this year, and many activities will be pursued to ensure that the strategy takes into account both internal and external conditions. One part of that is an internal audit that will be commenced soon, where Anna Jonsson (from Department of Business Administration) will conduct a series of conversations with a randomly selected number of LUSEM staff about our work environment, sense of identity and belonging, what the School means and does, as well as what we can learn from each other (both at a collegial level and between departments) to make better use of our organization. Such an audit will be salient in our efforts to ensure that LUSEM is a world-class school. I hope that you will take your time to share your ideas and thoughts on how we as a business school can further improve!"
9 March 2021
”It has been a little more than two months since I became dean of the School and took over faculty leadership together with Maria Stanfors, Anna Thomasson, Ulf Johansson and Alf Rosenbäck. It has been an exciting and slightly overwhelming time. Continue reading below...
First and foremost it has been a true source of joy to get to learn faculty, staff, students and stakeholders – in the midst of a pandemic that circumvents traditional ways of interacting. Second, it is daunting but also encouraging to begin forming a conception of the school, and how we might evolve into the future. Third it has been very rewarding in all senses of the word to be part in the accreditation visit of AACSB, where we, after almost seven years of preparations, finally had the chance to show what we are and what we can do. In all of this, I have been struck by the firm dedication of all the people of LUSEM, in all its variety, to share and to contribute, to be part of a learning environment, and to mobilize even more efforts and resources when the world has been turned upside down.
Spring will see the commencement of work to form a new strategy for LUSEM, a strategy that will reflect the realities and aims of the school and its staff and those engaged in what we do. The school has also launched a number of initiatives to highlight our engagement with important issues in society, and we will continue to uphold and raise ambitions in education, research and external engagement. A major issue will be to formulate the lessons of Covid and the enforced digitalization and what we should learn from them when we return. It is a sincere pleasure and source of pride to serve as the dean of such a vibrant and daring environment. It’s nothing if not lively at LUSEM – no pandemic can curve that. "