Interview with Susann Boij and Felix Ryde
Interview with Susann Boij (chair) and Felix Ryde (vice chair), elected members of the school’s faculty assembly.
During the spring semester of 2020, school faculty assemblies were established at KTH’s five schools. We were in contact with Susann Boij and Felix Ryde, who are the chairperson and vice chairperson of our faculty assembly, to discuss about their experience as elected members of the first assembly.
You have been the chairpersons of our schools' faculty assembly since the spring semester of 2020. Could you briefly describe your role and share your experience?
The school’s faculty assembly was established in spring 2020 as an open forum for all the faculty at the school. A group of elected members (16 people from the school) is appointed, and the chair and vice chair is chosen among these people. We, as chair and vice chair, have planned the activities together with the elected members. We have been part of the school management council , and met regularly with the dean and vice dean of faculty, the faculty members of the university board and the chairs of the assemblies at the four other schools at KTH. Starting this up has been both challenging and rewarding and I think we have established some good practices. For us, it is important to bring up issues that engage the faculty and then to bring these perspectives into discussions at all levels at KTH.
How many meetings have taken place since the start of the school faculty of the school? Could you describe what happens in these meetings?
Since the school’s faculty assembly was initiated by the faculty council at KTH (Fakultetsrådet), we at the School of Engineering Sciences have had six open meetings where one or two themes are discussed, and the aim is to have two open meetings per semester, with themes that engage the faculty. The meetings are a combination of small group discussions and discussion in the large group, where the small group discussion is an opportunity to share experiences across the school, something which has a value in itself.
Was the objective of the assembly affected by Covid-19?
In a way, it was very timely that the assembly was established when all the aspects of Covid-19 affected our situation. It has been a platform to discuss the work situation and the rapid changes that we have had to handle. All meetings have been in zoom, and given the circumstances we think that has worked well.
Could you tell us about some of the discussions that took place or some achievements of the assembly in the past year?
After one and a half year, we have established the open meetings and the new opportunity this is to meet. The outcome has been summarized – Kollegialt yttrande - and sent to the school, the university board members and the dean and vice dean of faculty at KTH, and received very positive reactions, and this is a real achievement. We have focused on things brought up by the faculty, and during this year the rapid development related to Covid has been important which contributed to the “open meetings” organized by the school. Other things that have been discussed are digitalization, decision processes, interaction between the faculty and the management, academic membership and at the last meeting we discussed the criteria for the new president of KTH together with representatives from the nomination committee. Another achievement is the connection between the assembly and the leadership of the school, says Susann, where I and Felix as chair and vice chair are now members of the school management council to represent the faculty perspective and bring this to the agenda.
What advice would you give to the next person to hold this role?
Work together with the other elected members who will be very competent people! As chair, share the responsibilities with the vice chair and work as a team. The faculty of course encompass a variety of views, so a key is to make people participate in the discussion with an open mind, striving for a vivid discussion rather than consensus. In the future, develop the assembly in order for even more people to take the chance to make their voice heard!
What are your plans for the future? Are you interested in participating in the assembly that will be formed during this term?
This has been very inspiring and rewarding, and we would be very happy to continue. Regardless of the outcome of the election we will participate, as members or with more responsibility in the group of elected members of the assembly.