LEADERSHIP ASSIGNMENT. Gunnar Tobin, a professor of pharmacology and Excellent Teacher , has been appointed as the new vice dean for education affairs. He does not envision transformative changes but wants to administer the work started by his predecessors.
“My assignment as vice dean has come as a surprise not only for me but certainly also for many others,” Gunnar Tobin says. “When I was asked, it seemed like an interesting assignment with which to wrap up my career path, which is why I chose to accept.”
The coronavirus effect
Tobin believes the psychosocial study environment for students is a major issue for the Education Council (Utbildningsrådet) and that it is important for the whole organization to have zero tolerance for deviations from the rules when managing students. Another major challenge for the council is the way the pandemic has affected education.
“Teachers still often need to find urgent solutions to make teaching work under the prevailing circumstances, but later, once we come out of the tunnel, the pandemic also will have implications for how we work.”
Once the spread of infection ebbs away, we will see more digital forms of teaching and other examination formats than we had before, but Tobin does not, by definition, think that digitization is unilaterally good.
“We need to strike a good balance between digitization and in-person meetings, and I think that will be a big challenge. Digital teaching tools need to be developed in an optimal way, and that development needs to be done on a disciplinary foundation so that we know what is objectively best.”
A place for all programs
Tobin served as coordinator of the Pharmacology Program for a long time and as a member of the Education Council while Kerstin Nilsson was vice dean. As the new chair of the council, he hopes to continue the work done by his predecessor, Silvana Naredi.
“Silvana has been extremely committed in her role as vice dean. She has managed to unify the entire faculty in an exemplary way and has allowed all degree programs to have a seat at the table. She has also set in motion very good work, which stimulated educational development projects, for example. That is something I want to further advance.”
No major changes
As the new vice dean, he does not want to implement any transformative changes, but he still has some ideas that he wants to brainstorm with others in Faculty Management and in the educational organization. Among other things, he would like to explore whether individual degree programs can be supported to allow decisions relating to the program be made by those most directly involved as much as possible.
One issue Silvana Naredi diligently pursued is development and collaboration in clinical training. Gunnar Tobin notes that her clinical background as an anesthesia and intensive care physician has been an important resource for good collaboration regarding clinical training with the health and medical care system, and he is now considering the best way to address this issue. As one possible solution, he mentions asking another member of the council who has the clinical background he lacks to assume responsibility for clinical training.
The assignment as vice dean is not his first in the faculty executive group. In his role as international director, with responsibility for internationalization issues, he learned a great deal about how the work of various councils is conducted within the faculty.
“Programs are an essential part of our core mission, and internationalization is like icing on the cake. The coronavirus has brought mobility to a head, and in the wake of the pandemic, we may need to discuss the forms of internationalization within our educational activities.”
Lives on his boat
Gunnar Tobin is a trained dental practitioner, and for a number of years after graduation, he also worked clinically. He defended his doctoral thesis in physiology at Lund University and worked for a long time in the pharmaceutical industry and at Medical Products Agency Sweden. He is a professor of pharmacology at the University of Gothenburg and was named an Excellent Teacher at Sahlgrenska Academy in 2016.
In private life, Gunnar Tobin enjoys the sea and boating and has chosen to live on his sailboat. The boat is located at Vallda Sandö during the summer and in Hovås in the winter.
Gunnar Tobin’s three-year term of office starts on January 1, 2021.
TEXT: ELIN LINDSTRÖM
PHOTO: JOHAN WINGBORG