COLUMN. We should be proud of the high-quality education we have provided to this point, but if the restrictions continue, we need to accept the challenge of maintaining the level of quality. These are some of the thoughts from Dean Agneta Holmäng’s column, where she also expresses her sympathy with the many employees who still do not have access to emails after the server crash.
In recent weeks, the server crash and the subsequent problems with our email system have been the most pressing issue for both faculty management and university management. We have had regular meetings with the Vice-Chancellor and university management about efforts to restore both calendar and email functionality. Both internal and external investigations are ongoing, which will hopefully clarify exactly what has happened and what the University can do to minimize the risk of something similar happening again.
The wide-spread and protracted problems with university email have really made it apparent just how important email is for our communication with the outside world. Although I was one of the individuals who regained access to my email relatively quickly, I also experienced how extremely frustrating a week is without both email and calendars. I have great sympathy for everyone who still does not have working email and calendars and understand the stress that the situation is creating, but intensive work is ongoing to restore all accounts. It is also very unfortunate for this to happen right now when we are particularly dependent on our digital tools and where email is our most important communication tool, not least with our external partners.
This week, we are also beginning discussions in the University Management Council about the University’s policy decision on how to contribute to reducing the spread of COVID-19. The pandemic has not subsided as much as we had hoped and the Public Health Agency of Sweden continues to consider the situation serious. It is reasonable to assume that distance teaching and distance work may continue into next semester. The Vice-Chancellor intends to provide information on this soon to give us all the opportunity to prepare for next semester as early as possible.
To this point, the teaching staff have done a fantastic job, and I am very proud of how our teachers have handled the transition from campus teaching to online teaching. Now, we must persevere and continue our efforts to provide students with high quality teaching. It is also a difficult time for many students, and it is important that they have settled into the situation. At this point, distance teaching has become the new normal, which also increases demands for developing our approach. If the decision is made that we will continue most of our teaching online this spring, it will be challenging to meet the increased expectations of students. It will also be a challenge for research to maintain the quality and the scientific environments that also depend on physical meetings.
As we have read in Akademiliv, several of our researchers recently received large external research grants. We would like to congratulate them on this great achievement. I am also very pleased to see the success of our young researchers in national competition for external funding, including from the Swedish Society for Medical Research (SSMF) and AFA. It will also be exciting to read about the results for Sahlgrenska Academy from the Swedish Research Council’s major call for grant proposals within medicine and health, where the grant decisions will be published in about two weeks.
Maintain social distance and persevere!