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New management structure for increased transparency and sustainability at SCI School's departments

The new management has started the autumn with a kickoff, Photo: Marta Marko-Tisch
Published Sep 27, 2023

After careful planning and months of preparations, the management structure at SCI school's departments has undergone a significant restructuring. The aim was to create a more transparent and sustainable working environment while also clarifying the roles and responsibilities of the leadership functions.

Head of School Sandra Di Rocco has shed light on the background as well as the advantages of the new organization.

“The decision for a new management structure stemmed from the need for clearer and more transparent responsibilities within the departmental management. Specifically, it aimed to consolidate roles related to the work environment, faculty development, research development, course development, research impact, and infrastructure."

“The restructuring offers several advantages and allows for specialized focus in the above mentioned critical areas, enhancing expertise and outcomes. It also promotes transparency and accountability by defining clear roles and responsibilities, improving communication, and facilitating conflict resolution.”

Three vice heads for each department

The new management structure

The management structure at SCI school's departments is as follows:

  • Head of Department
  • Vice Head of Department with special responsibility for Faculty Renewal
  • Vice Head of Department with special responsibility for Research, Infrastructure and Postgraduate Courses
  • Vice Head of Department with special responsibility for First and Second Cycle Education

The new management structure introduces three vice heads at each department with a special area of responsibility. This will create an organization that reflects the leadership structure of the school management. 

“The division of the vice-heads’ responsibilities into three distinct areas: Education, Research and Faculty Renewal was crucial because these areas represent the core components of the academic work environment. While the head of department oversees the overall development of the department, having clear and specialized responsibilities for the vice heads is essential for several reasons:

  • Firstly, it provides a structured and organized approach to managing critical aspects of the academic environment. Each vice head of department can focus on their specific area, ensuring in-depth expertise and dedicated attention to faculty and student needs within that domain.
  • Secondly, it establishes clear reference points for faculty members. When responsibilities are well-defined, faculty members know exactly whom to approach for support, guidance, or assistance in their specific areas of concern. This clarity streamlines communication and enhances the overall faculty experience.”

Finding the right candidates

The process of selecting the new vice heads of departments was delegated entirely to the respective heads of departments, with a strong emphasis on encouraging transparency and collegiality throughout the process.

“Each department was given the autonomy to choose its own approach based on its unique culture and expectations. This approach allowed departments to tailor the selection process to their specific needs and values, ensuring that the chosen vice heads aligned with the department's goals.”

Newly appointed Vice Heads of Department

The new Vice Heads of Department at the Department of Engineering Mechanics will be appointed during the autumn.

Insights from the new Vice Heads

In September, the school's new management gathered at a kickoff event to begin their collaboration, plan for the future and to get to know each other.

Ulrich Vogt , Vice Head of Department for Education at the Department of Applied Physics, Josefin Larsson , Vice Head of Department for Research, Infrastructure and Postgraduate Courses at the Department of Physics and Anna-Karin Larsson , Vice Head of Department for Faculty Renewal at the Department of Mathematics have shared their thoughts on their new roles.

How does it feel to have been appointed Vice Head of Department?

Ulrich: I feel honoured to have the opportunity to contribute to the department and the school in this role. It presents an exciting and challenging opportunity that I am eager to explore.

Josefin: I have served as Vice Head of Department for several years, and it is great to receive renewed trust and support.

Anna-Karin: I am delighted to have been entrusted with such an important asssignment. 

How do you see your new assignment?

Ulrich: I previously held the position of Director of First and Second Cycle Education in the department. However, my new assignment offers me the chance to work more closely with the departmental head and other members of the departmental group. My responsibility is to contribute to the implementation of the department's and school's visions and strategies with teaching as a starting point.

Josefin: With the redefinition of roles, I now have additional duties concerning research, infrastructure, and impact. Familiarising myself with these new areas will be intriguing.

Anna-Karin: The faculty is the most important thing KTH has, and it is our excellent faculty that enables us to fulfil our tasks in teaching and research. Working with recruitment and also career development for existing staff is therefore very important. Since 2018, we at the Department of Mathematics have hired 20 new teachers, of which 8 are women (40%) and our recruitment has also been very international. This does not happen by itself, and we need to continue to be very active in our recruitment processes. 

What did you take away from the kick-off?

Ulrich: I took with me a sense of community and better understanding of the school's challenges. It was also an opportunity to discuss with the other new Vice Heads of Departments and the Vice Head of School for First and Second Cycle Education. I look forward to a continued dialogue on how we can develop the future of education in the school. 

Josefin: That there are many changes going on at KTH right now. It will be interesting to see where everything ends up.

Anna-Karin: That tough times are coming. However, it would be devastating if we cannot continue our recruitment efforts as the maths department is suffering from understaffing, especially in some areas.

In addition to being a deputy head of department, what else are you involved in?

Ulrich: "I lead a research group working on the development of new methods for X-ray microscopy and X-ray optics. We are using the Nano Lab at AlbaNova and conduct experiments at various synchrotron light sources such as MAX IV in Lund and Petra III in Hamburg. As a teacher, I have a course in X-ray physics and I am responsible for a large lab course in experimental physics.

Josefin: Research and teaching in astrophysics. In addition, I currently substitute as PA for the PhD programme in Physics. 

Anna-Karin: Research and teaching, a major external assignment is that I am a member of the NT Council at VR.