"To work with education is to work with constant change"
Marie Brorsson's great commitment has given her a long and eventful career at the university. She started off as library assistant in 1983 and now she is the acting manager of the office of student affairs with some 40 members of staff.
"I didn't plan my career, instead my tasks have been so absorbing it just turned out this way", Marie says.
To the uninitiated, Marie Brorsson's career cannot be seen as anything but straightforward. She started working as library assistant at Växjö University in 1983, and remained at the library until 1998 when she started working at Studentcentrum layouting degree certificates. When the person who was responsible for degree certificates was about to have a child, Marie was the one who stepped in. She was responsible for degree certificates until 2011.
"It came naturally somehow, I was well familiar with the tasks since I had worked with these things for a number of years", says Marie. "When one has extensive knowledge about something, is committed to the task, and has the ability to transfer this to others, the leap to becoming a leader can be short".
Marie has also been involved in union work at the university for quite some time, both as chairman and vice chairman of OFR, something that has taught her a lot about the university as an organisation.
"Had I not been involved in union work I would not have the knowledge I have today", she says. "I've been trusted with representing union members for several years, which has given me a lot of experience that has been very valuable to me since I took the step to becoming a leader".
In spring 2011, Marie was asked to take on another leader role – acting manager for the office of student affairs and the some 40 members of staff that work there. The office is responsible for, among other things, admission, degree certificates, study guidance, international studies, and student welfare.
"Working at the university means having excellent opportunities to switch jobs, you can find anything here", says Marie. "I am proud to work in the field of education. It is a field that is important to most people and I feel privileged to work with young adults. I am still touched by the fact that students put so much time and effort into their education".
"To live and work in this environment is not static. To work with education is to work with constant change. If one so wishes one can gain new competence all the time", says Marie. "What is more, I really enjoy being employed at a public authority. To me, it's a challenge to be trusted to economise with taxpayers' resources".
Marie Brorsson has participated in a lot of in-house training during the years, for instance, a course for mid-level managers. She has also participated on a number of union courses, as well as a UGL course (development of group and leader).
What her next step will be is nothing that her thoughts linger on.
"I'm comfortable doing what I do now and I still feel great commitment for what I do", she says. "The future will turn our just fine".
”It is my experience that the department truly values young teachers and researchers”
Andreas Svensson is senior lecturer in evolutionary ecology. His appointment largely consists of teaching. He teaches on, for instance, the biology programme and the health science programme. He has been working at Linnaeus University since January 2012.
To work at Linnaeus University has been even better than I expected, says Andreas. Working at a smaller department has many advantages. There is very little unnecessary prestige here; there is no secrecy between the different professors. At larger universities I have often experienced a counterproductive competition. Here at Linnaeus University, my experience is that there is less negative pressure which makes it possible to focus fully on your job instead. According to my experience, the department truly values young teachers and researchers. There is a good collegial collaboration; people are there for each other, even though everyone has their hands full. Also, in the lunch room, everyone talks to everyone, which is usually a good sign.
Andreas Svensson has studied and worked as a researcher at several different universities in a number of different countries, for instance in Norway and the US. He defended his doctoral thesis in 2006, in Norway. This was then followed by a postdoctoral appointment in Melbourne, Australia, where he was also teaching. After that, he went on to another postdoctoral appointment in Geelong, also in Australia, before being hired as a senior lecturer at Linnaeus University in Kalmar.
– It was an active decision to move back to Sweden, he says. There are many qualities here, for instance, in Sweden we look at higher education in a different way. In Sweden, university studies is a democracy issue – open to everyone and not just those with financial muscles.
– When I heard of this appointment it was a true dream job, partly because I come from Öland, but also because I like teaching. It is a thrill to see when students understand something they did not have a clue of before. For instance, when reading a lab report and realising that they have truly understood. I know it is a cliché, but one really does become a better researcher through teaching. You are forced to stay updated on much more than just your own narrow field.
Andreas Svensson has a couple of research projects running in Australia and devotes approximately two months a year to them.
– However, it is difficult to set aside enough time for research now that I still put a lot of time and effort into developing my teaching. I hope that soon I will have the time to carry out research more actively here at home as well.
A creative knowledge environment in the spirit of Linnaeus
Being a student or member of staff in the spirit of Linnaeus means wanting to learn more, to spur oneself, to find one's own paths and to achieve one's goals. We consider the whole picture during a person's study time and working life, in order for everyone to be able to develop as a human being.
Challenging education and prominent research are, together with societal driving force and global values, the corner stones of the creative knowledge environment at Linnaeus University.
An international environment
All members of staff and all students are to establish lasting international contacts in order to maintain diversity and contribute to a sustainable development. Our knowledge environment stimulates openness and promotes exchange of knowledge between different countries, cultures, ages and scientific disciplines.
An entrepreneurial university
The aim is to create an entrepreneurial culture with students, teachers and researchers who are motivated and capable of being active co-creators in a world in constant change. The objective is that all students on a degree programme, regardless of specialisation, should come into contact with and be inspired by the entrepreneurial approach during their studies.