Astrid Söderbergh Widding

The strategies will guide the University’s work for the next four years. The University’s current work is based on the strategies that were adopted in 2015, and it is time for an update at the end of 2018. At the same time, Stockholm University is involved in an international project on core values called Living Values. In the context of the Magna Charta Observatory, twelve universities around the world will try out a new instrument for self-evaluation. The instrument will enable universities to review their values and evaluate if they are actually being implemented.

In addition to the fundamental values included in the Magna Charta Universitatum, such as academic freedom, there are values specific to Stockholm University. At present, the core values are “open, innovative and cross-boundary”. The forthcoming strategy work is not about changing course, but about testing the course that has been set. However, the Vice-Chancellor does not rule out that it may change based on what emerges throughout the year.

Exactly how the organisation will be involved in the work will be planned in the spring. It should be done within the framework of existing structures, but may also involve, for example, a survey. Much depends on how scientific areas and departments choose to work with the issue.

“My vision is that all staff will have the opportunity to provide input in some context during the year,” says Astrid Söderbergh Widding.

Values such as academic freedom may seem obvious to a university, but there are many threats that make this a current issue. There are several countries where the universities’ autonomy is being restricted, for example in Turkey. Examples of government control can also be found in Sweden, such as when Dalarna University was not allowed to decide on the location of its operations. 

“We are not always as autonomous as we think. The Magna Charta project is an opportunity to engage in an international comparison and dialogue with other universities,” says Astrid Söderbergh Widding.

In September, the work will be presented at a meeting in Salamanca, but the pilot project will be concluded when the strategies are adopted at the end of the year. 

“I do not want the strategy document to be a shelf warmer. The action plan constitutes the concrete work, but the strategies should express where we want to go. It is thus valuable for the management team to receive feedback. What do we want to be as a university; what do we stand for? This is an invitation to everyone to ask themselves that question,” says Astrid Söderbergh Widding.

About the strategies and values: 

Strategies for Stockholm University
The strategies define the fundamental values and objectives that will guide the University. They are complemented by a concrete action plan. The strategies are in effect for four years, and the action plan for two years. The strategies have been divided into four main areas: Research and education, recruitment and continuing professional development, national and international collaboration, and administration and operational support. The strategies for Stockholm University 2015-2018 can be found at www.su.se/om-oss/strategier.

Magna Charta Universitatum

Magna Charta Universitatum
A document signed by 388 heads of European universities in 1988, on the 900th anniversary of the University of Bologna. It contains principles of academic freedom and institutional autonomy. The document has now been signed by 816 universities from 86 countries around the world. Stockholm University is one of the original signatories.

Magna Charta Observatory
An organisation that, since 2000, oversees the Magna Charta Universitatum and works to promote academic freedom and institutional autonomy. The organisation should help the signatory universities live up to these values. Read more at www.magna-charta.org.