Stockholm university

Klara Bolander LaksovProfessor

About me

As Director of the Centre for the Advancement of University teaching, I strive to support the university as an organisation to develop good conditions for learning, both for students and staff. This is done in collaboration with colleagues at the department of Education and distributed all over Stockholm University and in constant dialogue with the management of the university. I am also a researcher in higher education and medical education. Part of the time I am also the director of a research group on learning in clinical contexts at Karolinska Institutet.



Currently I teach at two of CeUL's courses; seminar series in educational leadership, and research supervision in theory and practice. Also, I regularly do workshops for university teachers on topics like: leading change in higher education; educational leadership; teaching and learning in higher education; team based learning; and research supervision.

An area that I have engaged in a lot is the scholarship of teaching and learning. The basic idea here is for university teachers to take on a systematic approach to their teaching, to explore what works better or worse for student learning, and share this with colleagues in different fora to continuously develop teaching and learning.



I am currently involved in several research projects. One project, in which I am the main investigator and which is funded by the County Council of Stockholm, explores the clinical learning environment as a learning organisation, looking into students’, clinical supervisors’ and managers’ experiences of an environment. The project is designed as a multiple case study, and so far four publications have come out of the project.

Another project explores more specifically the conditions for faculty development in both a university context and in the medical context, and how transformation of research based knowledge into practice is enabled.

A third project explores different systems of awarding teaching, such as 'Teacher of the Year' and the use of expert reviewers of teaching portfolios to better understand conditions around the status of teaching and how this is mediated and communicated in university organisations.

The most recent research project concerns the issue of academic leadership, what it is and how it may be developed through different ways of organising leadership programs/ courses.

For a list of my publications see DiVa:[[]]&aqe=[]&aq2=[[]]


Research projects


A selection from Stockholm University publication database

  • The Pedagogical Ambassadorship Programme as an approach to academic development

    2020. Klara Bolander Laksov. Högre Utbildning 10 (2), 16-20


    In this article, the design of the Pedagogical Ambassadorship Programme at Stockholm University is examined. The aim of the programme is to assist departments in developing their educational culture by appointing a colleague as a pedagogical ambassador for one year. The programme was evaluated in a web survey to all ambassadors between 2015–2018.

    Read more about The Pedagogical Ambassadorship Programme as an approach to academic development
  • Shifting to team-based faculty development

    2020. Klara Bolander Laksov (et al.). Higher Education Research and Development


    The value of traditional faculty development programmes has been questioned regarding its effectiveness in transforming clinical education. Rather than training faculty separately from their colleagues, the faculty development programme described in this paper presented an opportunity for teams of faculty to improve clinical education by developing tools grounded in medical education research. The five participating teams were interviewed in focus groups at the end of the programme and followed up with emails and phone calls three years after the end of the programme. The interview data were analysed according to conventional content analysis. Immediately after completion of the programme, all teams had managed to implement their tools, and three years later, four were still in use. The study demonstrates that critical success factors for faculty development to transform change in practice included a design focused on a stepwise, longitudinal programme; coaching of teams; management and peer engagement, and programme days that created space for reflection, development, and discussion.

    Read more about Shifting to team-based faculty development
  • Akademiskt lärarskap

    2020. Klara Bolander Laksov, Max Scheja.


    I den här texten introducerar vi idén om akademiskt lärarskap. Akademiskt lärarskap kan bäst beskrivas som ett förhållningssätt där lärare kontinuerligt och systematiskt reflekterar över, utforskar och utvecklar den egna pedagogiska praktiken och dess inverkan på studenters lärande. Vi utforskar de olika dimensioner som bidrar till att forma ramarna för ett fruktbart lärarskap. För det första undersöker vi den individuella dimensionen av akademiskt lärarskap, där den individuella lärarens reflektioner över personliga erfaren-heter av olika undervisningssammanhang är en viktig plattform för utveckling av den egna pedagogiska praktiken och identiteten som professionell lärare i högskolan. För det andra uppmärksammar vi den kollegiala dimensionen av det akademiska lärarskapet, som handlar om hur lärare i högskolan synliggör reflektioner och argument kring den egna pedagogiska praktiken i dialog med kolleger, och för det tredje utforskar vi den institutionella dimensionen av det akademiska lärarskapet. Det handlar då om de institutionella ramar som en avdelning, institution eller lärosäte skapar för att stimulera ett kontinuerligt och systematiskt utforskande av utbildningsverksamheter.

    Read more about Akademiskt lärarskap
  • Lessons learned

    2019. Klara Bolander Laksov. International journal for academic development 24 (4), 369-380


    In this paper, I describe an approach to the integration of theory and practice at the intrapersonal, interpersonal, and organizational levels. The results of the research projects in which I have been involved over the last ten years are used to illustrate how these three levels have facilitated the identification of three tensions. These tensions together create a framework that can help academic developers better understand how to approach the challenges of advocating for the integration of higher education theory with academic practice in their own institutional environments, and how this integration is linked to existing higher education literature.

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  • Collaborative knotworking - transforming clinical teaching practice through faculty development

    2020. Agnes Elmberger (et al.). BMC Medical Education 20 (1)


    Background: Faculty development is important for advancing teaching practice in health professions education. However, little is known regarding how faculty development outcomes are achieved and how change in practice may happen through these activities. In this study, we explored how clinical educators integrated educational innovations, developed within a faculty development programme, into their clinical workplaces. Thus, the study seeks to widen the understanding of how change following faculty development unfolds in clinical systems.

    Methods: The study was inspired by case study design and used a longitudinal faculty development programme as a case offering an opportunity to study how participants in faculty development work with change in practice. The study applied activity theory and its concept of activity systems in a thematic analysis of focus group interviews with 14 programme attendees. Participants represented two teaching hospitals, five clinical departments and five different health professions.

    Results: We present the activity systems involved in the integration process and the contradiction that arose between them as the innovations were introduced in the workplace. The findings depict how the faculty development participants and the clinicians teaching in the workplace interacted to overcome this contradiction through iterative processes of negotiating a mandate for change, reconceptualising the innovation in response to workplace reactions, and reconciliation as temporary equilibria between the systems.

    Conclusion: The study depicts the complexities of how educational change is brought about in the workplace after faculty development. Based on our findings and the activity theoretical concept of knotworking, we suggest that these complex processes may be understood as collaborative knotworking between faculty development participants and workplace staff through which both the output from faculty development and the workplace practices are transformed. Increasing our awareness of these intricate processes is important for enhancing our ability to make faculty development reach its full potential in bringing educational change in practice.

    Read more about Collaborative knotworking - transforming clinical teaching practice through faculty development
  • Contradictions in clinical teachers' engagement in educational development

    2019. Agnes Elmberger (et al.). Advances in Health Sciences Education 24 (1), 125-140


    Many medical universities offer educational development activities to support clinical teachers in their teaching role. Research has focused on the scope and effectiveness of such activities and on why individual teachers attend. However, systemic perspectives that go beyond a focus on individual participants are scarce in the existing literature. Employing activity theory, we explored how clinical teachers' engagement in educational development was affected by the systems they act within. Three focus groups were held with clinical teachers from different professions. A thematic analysis was used to map the contradictions between the systems that the participants were part of and the manifestations of these contradictions in the system of education. In our model, clinical teachers were part of three activity systems directed by the objects of patient care, research and education respectively. Contradictions arose between these systems as their objects were not aligned. This manifested through the enacted values of the academic hospital, difficulties establishing educational discussions in the clinical workplace, the transient nature of educational employments, and impediments to developing a teacher identity. These findings offer insights into the complexities of engaging in educational development as clinical teachers' priorities interact with the practices and values of the academic hospital, suggesting that attention needs to shift from individual teachers to developing the systems in which they work.

    Read more about Contradictions in clinical teachers' engagement in educational development
  • Navigating without a map

    2019. Matilda Liljedahl (et al.). Studies in Higher Education 44 (2), 275-286


    Through an exploration of the interdependence between workplace affordances and individual engagement, this study addressed how medical students interact with clinical learning environments (CLEs). Building on the workplace participatory practices approach outlined by Billett, CLEs can be viewed as constructed through a negotiation of meaning between the workplace and the student. Inspired by ethnography, an observational study using field observations and follow-up interviews was performed. Workplace affordances included being given a marginal status in the healthcare team which students adapted to through striving to fit into the workplace. Further, there were many potential activities available to students; however, students seemed selective in terms of what activities they elected to engage in. As such, interacting with CLEs entailed students navigating complexity without the immediate access to any explicit 'map' of workplace learning. This study indicates that workplaces increasingly need to invite and include students in the practice of workplaces.

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  • Att bedöma pedagogisk skicklighet – är det verkligen så svårt? – en studie av skillnader i bedömningar mellan vetenskapligt och pedagogiskt sakkunniga

    2018. Klara Bolander Laksov. Högre Utbildning 8 (2), 55-68


    Pedagogisk skicklighet ska enligt högskoleförordningen ägnas lika stor omsorg som vetenskaplig skicklighet i anställningsförfaranden vid svenska högskolor och universitet. Vilka förutsättningar som finns att visa omsorg om pedagogisk skicklighet och ägna den uppmärksamhet ter sig dock tämligen olika vid lärosätena. I denna fallstudie undersöks skillnader i de sätt på vilket pedagogisk skicklighet kommer till uttryck i utlåtanden från särskilt tillsatta pedagogiskt sakkunniga och vetenskapligt sakkunniga i anställnings- och befordringsärenden vid en fakultet vid ett svenskt lärosäte. Studien visar på flera skillnaderi utlåtandena där de pedagogiskt sakkunniga gör mer omfattande, mer kvalitativa och mer systematiska utlåtanden än de vetenskapligt sakkunniga redovisar. Dessutom diskuteras några återkommande utmaningar som formuleras i sakkunnigutlåtandena, och hur dessa utmaningar hanteras.

    Read more about Att bedöma pedagogisk skicklighet – är det verkligen så svårt? – en studie av skillnader i bedömningar mellan vetenskapligt och pedagogiskt sakkunniga
  • Exploring dimensions of change

    2017. Cormac McGrath (et al.). International journal for academic development 22 (3), 257-269


    This paper addresses a relatively new phenomenon in higher education, Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs), and explores conceptions around this new and emerging development from the perspective of a number of stakeholders in the university. A phenomenographic approach is adopted. The study explores how different stakeholders at a university perceive the MOOC phenomenon, and reflects on how the many conceptions stakeholders adhere to are made meaningful for academic developers in their role as 'partners in arms'. The conceptions run across a continuum from the local and narrow to the global and broad. The study identifies challenges to change agency in a higher education institution.

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  • Becoming an educational leader – exploring leadership in medical education

    2017. Klara Bolander Laksov, Tanja Tomson. International Journal of Leadership in Education 20 (4), 506-516


    Research on educational leadership emphasizes the importance of having institutional leaders heavily involved with advanced instructional programming. Best practices for developing educational leadership in higher education health care and medical faculties have to be better understood. Within the framework of a seminar series, researchers and practitioners were involved in a dialogical process of inquiry, coupled with an explicit activity-oriented approach emphasizing empowerment among educational leaders. In a reflective paper, 10 participants of the seminar series elaborated on what it meant to develop and to ‘take’ leadership in your professional role and which factors that were identified as adding value to the development of professional leadership expertise. Qualitative content analysis was conducted resulting in thirteen categories reported in relation to Wenger’s theory of communities of practice. The findings show that educational leadership involves processes on the levels of students, teachers as community and at the organizational level. The individuals created a place for backstage conversations at which they got opportunity to develop their thinking and inspiration to break new ideas into their own educational communities. In addition, a systemic approach is essential for the effective implementation of educational leadership to reach all levels via interaction and communication across an organization.

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  • Making theory explicit - An analysis of how medical education research(ers) describe how they connect to theory

    2017. Klara Bolander Laksov, Tim Dornan, Pim W. Teunissen. BMC Medical Education 17


    Background: As medical education develops into a varied and well-developed field of research, the issue of quality research anchored in or generating theory has gained increasing importance. Medical education researchers have been criticized of not connecting their work to relevant theory. This paper set out to analyse how researchers can connect to theory in medical education. The goal of this paper is to provide an accessible framework for those entering medical education research, regarding how theory may become an integral part of one's work. Methods: Fifteen purposefully selected researchers in medical education were asked to nominate papers they considered influential in medical education. Through this process 41 papers were identified and included in the study. Results: The papers were analysed with thematic content analysis, which resulted in three approaches to the use of theory: as close-up exploration; as a specific perspective; and as an overview. The approaches are exemplified by quotes from the papers included in our dataset and further illuminated by a metaphoric story. Conclusions: We conclude by pointing at the importance of making explicit how theory is used in medical education as a way to collaboratively take responsibility for the quality of medical education research.

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  • Academic leadership: management of groups or leadership of teams?

    2016. Teresa Söderhjelm (et al.). Studies in Higher Education


    Demands on academic leadership are increasing, which raises the need for leadership training. This article describes development and implementation of a group training intervention in academic leadership at a departmental level. Little systematic research has addressed the question of what forms of leadership training are associated with effectiveness of academic leadership teams. This study examined a comprehensive methodological approach including three different data collection methods. The content analysis of the intervention resulted in identification of vital components that are associated with team effectiveness. Here, the findings are considered in relation to the notion of functional role-taking, and their general implications are explored in relation to the possibility of systematically developing academic leadership.

    Read more about Academic leadership: management of groups or leadership of teams?
  • Identifying keys to success in clinical learning

    2015. Klara Bolander Laksov (et al.). Journal of Interprofessional Care 29 (2), 156-158


    The aim of this study was to study the intrinsic system behind interprofessional clinical learning environments. Two health care units were selected on the basis of having received a reward for best clinical learning organization. Interviews were carried out with health care staff/clinical supervisors from different professions. The interviews were transcribed and analysed according to qualitative content analysis, and categories and themes were identified. Analysis revealed two different systems of clinical learning environments. In one, the interplay between the structural aspects dominated, and in the other, the interplay between the cultural aspects dominated. An important similarity between the environments was that a defined role for students in the organization and interprofessional teamwork around supervision across professional borders was emphasized.

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Show all publications by Klara Bolander Laksov at Stockholm University