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Collegial influence at KTH

The Faculty Council’s task and goal of creating good conditions for collegial dialogue and exchange across disciplines and subjects are organised and implemented through the schools’ faculty assemblies and KTH’s collegial forums.

At its meeting on 11 December 2019, the Faculty Council established a memo regarding collegial influence. It is reproduced here in its entirety. Universities and colleges distinguish themselves in many ways from other government authorities and institutions; among these is the existence of collegial influence. For a long time, this influence has been regarded as a guarantee of quality in the knowledge organisations of universities and colleges, although this influence has been curtailed by the autonomy reform and has also undergone changes in the decades before that.

At KTH, collegial influence has also changed over time. While it is probably considered obvious that there are no longer any department boards, the schools have management teams, and the faculty board has been replaced by a faculty council. No mention of “collegial influence” is made in KTH’s development plan, and the operational plan only mentions it twice, in relation to review. However, Vision 2027 states that we are committed to “active collegial influence” and that KTH should be characterised by “a well-developed collegial leadership”.

In KTH’s rules of procedure, it is only in relation to the tasks of the Faculty Council that collegiality is mentioned. The Faculty Council “has overall responsibility for collegial dialogue and shall establish the appropriate structure or body to ensure this”. The Faculty Council shall also “create good conditions for collegial exchange across disciplines and subjects regarding both pedagogical and scientific development as well as fundamental academic values”.

There are thus two overarching goals for collegial influence at KTH with which the Faculty Council will work — both dialogue and exchange across disciplines and subjects. The following proposals are intended to address both of these ambitions.

School faculty assemblies

Faculty assemblies should be established at each school. A school’s faculty assembly should have elected members. To be eligible for election to the faculty assembly, one must be employed on at least a 50 percent basis

  •   as a professor, associate professor, lecturer, or researcher (permanent employee)
  •   as an assistant professor, or
  •   as a temporarily appointed teacher (two-year minimum) appointed on artistic grounds.

In this document, this group is referred to as “the colleagues”.

It is important that the elected members of the school’s faculty assembly are not too few, nor too many. If there are too many members, paradoxically, it may lessen their sense of responsibility. If there are too few, the assembly may lack critical mass. The mission of the members is to highlight, discuss and develop issues that are relevant to them as colleagues at KTH. Members are selected by election from among the members of the department. Prior to the elections, each colleague will be asked if he or she is willing to stand as an elected member. The number of elected members per department shall be two at the ABE, CBH and ITM Schools and four at the EECS and SCI Schools, respectively. Gender-equal representation is particularly important among elected members. Therefore, among the elected members, there should be as many men as women from each department, except in cases where only men or only women have received votes. The term of office of elected members is two years. However, the term of office for the first period will run through 2021.

Each school’s faculty assembly is led by a chairperson and a vice chairperson, both of whom must be permanent employees employed as a professor or associate professor. The vice chairperson may replace the chairperson. These two chairpersons are appointed from among the elected members by the Dean of Faculty and the Vice Dean of Faculty, in consultation with the elected members. The chairperson and vice chairperson should also be appointed with gender-equal representation. It is possible to be elected to both the school’s strategic council and the school’s faculty assembly, but it is important to realise that the two forums have different tasks. The duties of an elected member of the school’s faculty assembly are not compatible with the duties of Head of School, Deputy Head of School or Head of Department.

This is a forum that is separate from the decision-making line. It is desirable that the schools’ management teams, Heads of School and Heads of Department use the schools’ faculty assemblies as a means by which to achieve collegial influence. However, it should be stressed that the faculty assemblies do not work on behalf of either the Head of School or the Head of Department; rather, they are each a free academic and intellectual assembly.

The schools’ faculty assemblies meet at least twice a semester. The chairperson summons all elected members. The meetings are open to all of the school’s colleagues, regardless of their duties in the line organisation, who wish to contribute and participate in the discussions. This model ensures both continuity, with specially accountable and elected members, and transparency and participation. The faculty assembly’s agenda and memos shall therefore be sent out to all the school’s colleagues and meeting times shall be posted on the school’s website.

The language of the schools’ faculty assemblies should be Swedish, but it is possible to post in English. The chairperson of each school’s faculty assembly constitutes a collegial link between the teachers and researchers at the school, the Faculty Council and KTH’s management. The Dean of Faculty and Vice Dean of Faculty summon all the chairpersons to regular meetings. In these meetings, the chairpersons may pass on questions of importance to the faculty assemblies, and the Dean of Faculty and Vice Dean of Faculty can pose general and specific questions to the faculty assemblies.

There may also be issues that would benefit from a broader discussion. There are ongoing matters in the university sector that are of importance to KTH. Investigations, research proposals, new research findings, and books will affect the organisation’s daily work in one way or another. Such issues can be raised when the schools’ faculty assemblies meet with the Dean of Faculty and the Vice Dean of Faculty, but they can also arise from the Faculty Council’s own work and from the members of the Council. The schools’ faculty assemblies and the Faculty Council can invite the University Administration to present a current issue.

Each school’s doctoral student council should be summoned to its faculty assembly, and a representative from the The PhD student chapter (of the student union) has the right to be co-opted as a member of the faculty assembly.

KTH’s collegial forum

Independent of the schools’ faculty assemblies but with an agenda that can be affected by these; at least twice per semester the entire faculty is called to a meeting, KTH’s collegial forum, to discuss pressing issues related to research, teaching and collaboration, both nationally and internationally. These are open to all colleagues and are initiated by an invited guest who has something substantial to contribute and who is also the focus of the discussion. The Dean of Faculty and Vice Dean of Faculty are responsible for planning and conducting these meetings. The elected members of the schools’ faculty assemblies also have a special responsibility to involve themselves in KTH’s collegial forum.

The language of KTH’s collegial forum should be Swedish, but it is possible to post in English.

The meetings of KTH’s collegial forum are intended to provide a platform where teachers and researchers can interact across disciplines and subjects and discuss topics that interest them, but the nature of which may vary among different disciplines. KTH is a single-faculty university, but in fact, it encompasses a great many disciplines and is very heterogeneous. This is a strength that could be further developed if mutual knowledge were increased.

The schools’ doctoral student councils and The PhD student chapter (of the KTH student union) shall be summoned to KTH’s collegial forums, and a representative from each of these bodies has the right to be co-opted as a member at the meeting.

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Last changed: Jan 22, 2024