An ascending University sums up 2021
Halmstad University has submitted its annual report for 2021 to the Government. Overall, it is a university on the rise, both in terms of operations and finances.
“I am convinced that the strategy will develop our research to become even more successful and profiled.”
Stephen Hwang, Vice-Chancellor
The University made a large financial surplus of almost SEK 68 million last year. The surplus is mainly due to temporarily increased direct government funding because of the pandemic, as well as an increased direct government funding for research. At the same time, the University has not been able to recruit staff at the same pace. The costs of travels and conferences were very low also in the year of 2021. The large surplus implies that the agency capital of the University increased to SEK 131 million, which is a little more than what is desirable.
“It is a problem not using all the funds that were at our disposal. At the same time, recruiting employees is a long-term investment that needs to take time to be as good as possible”, says Vice-Chancellor Stephen Hwang.
Future-oriented research strategy
“I am convinced that the strategy will develop our research to become even more successful and profiled. In this, the set-up of ten-year research programmes, where the focus areas (former profile areas) Health Innovation and Smart Cities and Communities, will be central”, says the Vice-Chancellor.
At the turn of the year, the ten-year Knowledge and Competence Center initiative was completed. This has been a significant factor in the University’s successful development of research and doctoral education, which the Knowledge Foundation’s evaluation of the program from 2020 showed.
“The evaluation shows that Halmstad University has performed very well, and we are very happy that the Knowledge Foundation has offered continued strategic cooperation with us”, says Stephen Hwang.
Attractive and socially important education
During 2021, the University’s educational programmes continued to attract many students. Since 2018, the University has invested in increased awareness of the education programmes and the number of first choice applicants during the autumn admission rounds has increased by 38 percent, compared with 16 percent nationally.
The proportion of education in programmes for so-called professions in shortage has increased during the last ten-year period, in particular educations for nurses, teachers and engineers, but also for social workers and in computer / IT. This is completely in line with the Government’s designated direction. During the year, the University also had an increased proportion of courses in lifelong learning and an increased range of programmes at the second level.
“The past years’ investments in new educational programmes have turned out well. Our range responds well to society’s needs and students’ demand. We are by far fulfilling our funding agreement targets at the same time as we have adapted production to the funding cap and overproduced only SEK 5 million last year, which is a clear decrease compared to the previous year”, says Vice-Chancellor Stephen Hwang.
Approved quality assurance system
Quality assurance work is a priority at the University and substantial work has been done, starting in 2015, to build up a quality assurance system. The big test came when Swedish Higher Education Authority (UKÄ) in 2021 carried out a review of the University’s quality assurance system for education.
Just before the University Governing Board was to approve the annual report, UKÄ announced the results of the review: The University’s quality assurance system was approved. This means that the University fulfils all of the assessment areas that UKÄ reviewed.
“The result is of course very gratifying! The review report describes the University’s work with quality assurance in very positive terms”, states the Vice-Chancellor.
Overall, the University is experiencing rapid growth and change, primarily linked to increased research funding and work on research strategies. The educational activities are stable and continue to be successful with many socially important and popular programmes.
Vice-Chancellor Stephen Hwang sends a big thank you to both students and partners as well as employees for support, good collaboration and great efforts during the past year, despite the limitations and problems that the pandemic entailed.
Text: Lena Lundén
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