The best solutions involve the academic environments
A higher degree of involvement in administrative projects on the part of researchers, teaching staff and students can strengthen our collaboration on the university’s core activities.
I am currently making a round of visits in the administration, and the employees of the different units are presenting five particularly successful projects. Although I haven’t finished my visits, I can already see a clear pattern: the most successful projects are carried out in close collaboration with academic staff and units. This may not come as a surprise to anyone. But nonetheless, it’s important that we continually keep this in mind.
It’s my impression that we have come a long way in creating good relationships to academic staff and units, and we have a lot of positive experiences to continue building on. To a high degree, this is thanks to your hard work. But I also hear that we don’t always hit the mark.
I think what this means is that we still have room for improvement in our collaboration with academic staff and units, across the board in the administration. It isn’t enough for the administration to provide high-quality solutions. We also have to continually ensure that our solutions actually meet the needs of the academic organisation.
And so when we organise our processes, we have to ensure that we involve the academic organisation in them from the very beginning. We have a tendency to wait to involve the academic organisation until the task has been defined and we have decided on a plan. I believe that our collaboration must begin even earlier to ensure that we develop a shared understanding of the nature of the problem we must work together to solve. And this consensus must be sustained throughout the process, so that we ensure at every step on the way that we are on the same track – and the right one.
Some of the projects the administrative employees have presented when I’ve visited their units have gotten researchers and students involved by inviting them to workshops or asking them to participate in working groups. Other administrative employees have invited themselves to visit the departments and schools. And still others have visited the university’s canteens to ask the students some brief questions. User involvement doesn’t have to be difficult or time-consuming. But it’s absolutely indispensible in our work.
These examples demonstrate the necessity and value of working together across the administration and the academic organisation. That we must seek each other out and involve each other in an equal partnership focussed on the university’s core activities. We need more of this in the future.