Mid Sweden University has evolved well during its years a full university. That is the opinion of Pia Sandvik, who was the Pro-Vice-Chancellor of the university between 2002 and 2005, and who later became the Vice-Chancellor of Luleå University of Technology.
Pia was one of the people who worked for the establishment of Mid Sweden University, and who got to experience it close at hand. She wants the university to be brave and to make its own path into the future.
Pia Sandvik foresees several future challenges for the university. She maintains that it is about finding the balance between contributing to the necessary competence maintenance of the region, and to provide national cutting-edge education, as well as research that supports the first-cycle courses and programmes, and at the same time have one or a few internationally strong research environments.
In order to maintain such a balance, the university needs to focus and profile its activities. Mid Sweden University needs to remain attractive to students and teachers/researchers, which in itself is a challenge in an increasing competition for both students and researchers. It is not possible to be attractive in all fields.
– Mid Sweden University will always be of great importance to the region. The regional development requires Mid Sweden University to provide a part of its competence maintenance and it needs to contribute by increasing the number of people with higher education. And a part of the research should be in support of the regionally important profiles, says Pia Sandvik.
All of this is assuming that Mid Sweden University develops into a good national, and in some cases, international university in its fields. Having a university in the region is a prerequisite for the regional development.
– Mid Sweden University also has a role to play as an actor for cooperation and collaboration, representing important and other perspectives in a region. A university contributes to creating diversity, both through its organization and through its researchers/teachers and students, says Pia Sandvik.
So what advice does she have for the future?
– Dare to be brave and to find your own path – such a young university as Mid Sweden University has the opportunity to find its own profile and thereby contribute to the development of the whole education and research system. It is an opportunity not to be wasted. Do not attempt to be a pale replica of the well-established universities, but try to find your own niche.