As you already know, the University of Gothenburg follows the Government’s recommendations and is now switching to remote education and work. Education and examinations will continue to the extent possible, as will research, collaboration and other activities.
Quickly transitioning to a digital way of working involves a major change and requires efforts beyond the ordinary. In some cases, distance learning and digital meetings may already be a natural part of the organisation, in other cases it is more difficult, perhaps not even fully possible to change working methods in such a short time.
As vice-Chancellor, I have a great understanding that the transition places great demand on all employees, while sacrifices of various kinds must also be made in once private life. I am therefore extremely impressed with all employees who have, in different ways supported colleagues and made sure that the organisational work can continue. Not least teachers, administrators and other staff members who have had to address various problems and situations that has arisen. Especially technicians and office cleaners go through great efforts ensuring that the daily operations can continue. The students also take great responsibility by helping each other out.
I am also aware that deans, head of departments and other supervisors have an immense amount of pressure to change the work, inform, and at the same time be extra accessible, patient and encouraging.
In times of crises the organisation is tested in different ways. As vice-chancellor, I am both grateful and moved by the undoubtedness with which staff and students stand up for each other, for the university, and thus also for society at large.
It is not only the various higher educational institutions, but also the Association of Swedish Higher Education Institutions (SUHF), who has had to reorganise and create a crisis organisation. Yesterday, 18 March, I participated in a digital meeting with SUHF’s General Assembly, and Matilda Ernkrans, Minister of Higher Education and Research. She told us that she feels confident in the certainty that the higher education institutions are following the Government’s recommendations on distance education to reduce the spread of infection. On various follow-up questions, about this and that, her answer was clear:
Be creative, we can all help out by taking social responsibility.
The Minister also pointed out that the higher education sector should be prepared for long term effects caused by the crisis. It is now important that we document what we do, such as; cancelled or postponed activities, what courses are conducted remotely, and how we do examinations. This is important for the University as a whole, but perhaps especially for the students. They should be able to move on to future work or education and get their study funding, based on a legal and correct management of their efforts. I am convinced that this task, like all other assignments, will be done excellently.
This post is also available in: Svenska