Working groups review school organisation

Published Mar 23, 2017

Six of KTH Royal Institute of Technology’s schools may be merged to form two larger schools. This according to a decision made by the KTH President, for a planned integration of the schools. The aim is to strengthen the organisation and create closer collaboration between related subject areas, particularly in education. The planning work for the reorganisation has now started at the schools concerned.

The plan is for the current Schools of Biotechnology, Chemical Science and Engineering and Technology and Health to be integrated in the future organisation. There is also a plan for another new, larger school that will include Computer Science and Communication, Information and Communication Technology and Electrical Engineering.

Two working groups have been set up to prepare for reorganisation in each group of schools. Amelie Eriksson Karlström, Dean of the School of Biotechnology, chairs one working group, and Jens Zander, Dean of the School of Information and Communication Technology, chairs the other.

The conditions relating to the two groups of schools differ somewhat. For the three schools in his group, Jens Zander sees coordination on the educational side as the most important reason to create a joint school.

“ICT is a growing area that is subject to rapid change. We need close collaboration to create the degree programmes of the future. The programmes we offer today are fragmented and overlap in many respects. We also have many similar courses in different programmes,” he points out.

Better use of resources

Amelie Eriksson Karlström does not believe there is such a great need to coordinate the courses for the schools in her group. The Schools of Biotechnology and Chemical Science and Engineering already work together closely on the educational side, with a shared student office, among other things.

“We work closely together and complement each other. We actually only have a small number of degree programmes and my impression is that there are no major overlaps.”

Instead, Karlström sees an opportunity for better use of resources as the main advantage of a larger, joint school.

“A small organisation is very vulnerable,” she points out.

To be able to harness all the advantages of a new organisation, there is a need to manage the geographical distribution. The current schools have research, teaching and administration on several different campuses. In most cases, Karlström explains that there are also good reasons why the various activities are located where they are.

“One example is because of proximity to partners such as Karolinska Institutet and Karolinska University Hospital.”

Consequently, no major relocation of activities is on the cards. More departments within the two new large schools will probably have their activities spread over a variety of locations instead.

“We will need to find a good administrative solution to this. The important thing is for the departments to have a shared subject-related basis,” says Jens Zander.

Mapping the current situation

Both working groups recently held their first meetings. The next few weeks will be devoted to mapping the current situation, how the current schools manage various matters, and what differences and similarities exist.

In the next phase, an initial proposal for the organisation of the future schools will be prepared. It will be presented on 31 May, and the working groups will submit their final reports on 15 September.

“In the mapping phase in particular, the formal working groups appointed by the President will also be assisted by several sub-groups with specific tasks and a number of questions to be answered,” explains Jens Zander.

“Mapping is a big job and we need to be sensitive and receptive. In all units, there are things that work well and things that work less well. It’s important to learn from the wealth of experience available in the organisation, mix a cocktail of the good things and avoid the less good things.”

Text: Ursula Stigzelius

Facts: Changes to the school organisation

  • Following a decision by the President, plans are being made to integrate six of KTH’s schools. A proposal will be drafted for integrating the School of Information and Communication Technology (ICT), the School of Computer Science and Communication (CSC), and the School of Electrical Engineering (EES). A proposal will also be prepared for the integration of the School of Biotechnology (BIO), the School of Chemical Science and Engineering (CHE) and the School of Technology and Health (STH).
  • The President has appointed two formal working groups to draft a proposal for how integration can be implemented. One is chaired by Jens Zander, Dean of the School of Information and Communication Technology. The other is chaired by Amelie Eriksson Karlström, Dean of the School of Biotechnology. The working groups include representatives of teachers and researchers, administrative staff, students and trade unions.
  • The working groups will present an initial general proposal on 31 May, and their final reports will be ready on 15 September. The objective is for the new organisation to take effect on 1 January 2018.

Read more about the working groups

Read an interview with President Sigbritt Karlsson on the overhaul of the school organisation.

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