Taking over the role of Rector
Karin Fälth-Magnusson will assume the office of acting Rector for six months. After that, she will return to her position as provost.
“I will not seek the job of Rector. I’m too old; I’ll turn 62 this year, and we need a Rector who can serve for six years. So I’ll be the link between the old and the new,” she says with a smile.
It caused great astonishment when she was hand-picked for the position of provost a year and a half ago. She was a professor of paediatrics, with a career in health care behind her as a paediatrician with gradually more weighty tasks as a leader.
She herself was the most surprised.
“When Mille asked to speak with me, I actually wondered: ‘What did I do now?’ I was completely flabbergasted when he asked if I’d thought about becoming provost.”
After some time to think, she accepted.
“I thought, ‘Wow, how exciting,’ and I felt honoured and weak in the knees at the same time. It feels a little like that now!”
She knows quite well what she’s getting into. After three months of part-time ‘schooling’ in parallel with the former provost Inger Rosdahl, Fälth-Magnusson has worked full-time as provost for just over a year.
It has been an intense one. As provost, she has been part of the University board in office meetings and management councils. She has been chair of the Library board, the Disciplinary Committee, the working group on fees for students from outside Europe, and the steering committee for work with social media. She has visited all the institutions and conducted a dialogue on scientific publication and citation. She’s carried a heavy burden regarding LiU’s research assistant effort, the work on quality issues in education, the strategy group for equitable conditions, contact with the student unions and the new Emeritus Academy – and much more.
“I’ve also attended a good course for academic leaders. It’s helped me understand a great deal I didn’t know previously about this realm,” Fälth-Magnusson says.
She makes a secure impression, seems to know her strengths and weaknesses, and also has great confidence in the staff around her.
“There are so many capable people to ask if I need to!”
As provost, she has a bird’s-eye view of LiU’s operations and is pleased with how much good is being done in various directions.
“I learn new things all the time. Of course, I never would have taken a job like this if I didn’t think it was a good thing to have responsibility and to take part in managing development,” Fälth-Magnusson says.
With her background in the realm of the county council with its more hierarchic structure, she often bumps up against a great deal of inertia and ambiguity in the academic system.
“Take, for instance, the process around fees for international students. On the one hand, there was a delay before we were notified how much we’d get in stipends. Additionally, it was difficult internally to keep to the new conditions in force when market forces increasingly control the selection of master’s programmes we have. It’s led to a great deal of frustration.
Now, when she’s taking office as Rector, some partially new tasks await her – but there will be one issue of highest priority. She will see to it that what’s known as the Oracle project will reach its goal. It deals with how the service structure and the internal organisation of Linköping University will look from now on. Development work with many participants has been under way for many years in this project.
“The plan is that the University Board will reach a decision on this in June.”
The proposal for a new Rector will also be decided on at the same meeting.
“It will be a process run in parallel,” Fälth-Magnusson states.
But she herself is not a candidate to continue in the job of Rector.
“I have a commission as provost until the end of 2012. I’ll go back to it as soon as a new Rector is in place.”
Photo: David Einar Nygren
Last updated: 2011-02-09