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Meet the Proposed New Principal of KTH

Carl Housten - Authorcarl.housten@osqledaren.se

Anders Söderholm - Selfieosqledaren@ths.kth.se

It is time for a new principal to be elected at KTH - and the candidate that has been proposed is Anders Söderholm.

Anders Söderholm has previously been Dean at Umeå School of Business and Economics and Principal at the Mid Sweden University. Both schools he left as an honorary member of their respective student unions. A feat he is quite proud of!

He is currently the Director General at the Swedish Higher Education Authority (UKÄ), which means that he is effectively taking a step down when applying to be a principal.

Student representatives have been involved in the election process. We have been represented by Simon Edström (later replaced by Amanda Andrén) and Ävelin Pantigoso, all of whom are veterans in the student union. But to really make sure that students have their say in the election and for the purpose of establishing an early relationship with students, a hearing was held both in the largest aula on campus and outside of Nymble. The second of which, we’ll be covering selections of in this article. The full hearing is recorded if you’d like to listen to it, there is a link available on the event on Facebook. Some of the questions were asked in Swedish, and have been translated for continuity.

Promenadorquestern och med Baletten Paletten opened up the event as a crowd warmer! Much needed on this chilly day in May. They played all their greatest hits, such as Tiger Rag and Zambesi. When they were finished playing, the crowd was gathered and the event was ready to go!

The event was moderated by the current president of THS, Teo Elmfeldt, as well as his elected successor, Cornelia Haag. Questions were sent in from the audience.

“Hello everybody! You know — how proud I am standing here in front of the best students in the country. That is so rewarding!”, Anders says. He continues, “I really look forward to having an engagement in the student union, and the student community as well.”

Regarding the questions being sent in Teo stated: “We want a good mix of the serious, good, strategic questions and the fun and stupid questions - to give a proper sense of everything there is in the student community.”

Cornelia: Have you been to a gasque? If so, what is your favorite song?

Anders: I have not, so I look forward to that invitation!

C: It will come!

C: How do you think the future of the campus will be? Will there be a lot of physical activities or will it be online?

A: I think the future holds a lot of blended learning opportunities - where students choose to be either online or on campus. As we move on into the future I think this will be something that is also required or requested by future students, or maybe by you as well.

C: Nice. And one a bit controversial question in the past is our reception. So we’ve got a lot of questions [about that]. What’s your opinion on the reception?

A: And what is that?

C: The reception is when we welcome all the new students, so we have two weeks where only the new students are prioritized and we have a lot of different experiences, learning the campus, [getting to know] people and traditions.

A: And why would that be controversial?

This statement was followed by a brief but widespread applause.

C: I have a favorite question I saw earlier, which is quite typical of students. If you had to choose, would you rather fight against 100 horses the size of ducks or a single duck the size of a horse?

A: I’d pick the 100, you know it’s like herding cats. That would be impossible for them to coordinate.

C: Interesting answer! I think I would have chosen the opposite. Don’t know why.

C: What motivated your application to become the new principal of KTH?

A: I guess it’s a passion for university life. It’s a long lasting love that I have for universities. I’ve been at universities most of my professional life. When you come to one you can always smell the energy that is there. Being in this energetic, very vivid and lively environment is something that is sought for in my career. And I like to be in the university basically - I love it.

C: As you said previously, we all know that KTH is the best university. But everyone has flaws, so what do you want to change when you begin and how would you change that?

A: It’s a bit too early to give a line speech, to give sort of an agenda. But I know that there are a few things that are up in the air … and one is the ways we organize the influence of students on the educational programs or the departments. But also the collegial influence has been discussed and widely addressed during the hearings earlier today. Visibility of KTH and of the President of KTH is another thing that I think will be on the agenda early on.

C: What’s your opinion about anonymous grading?

A: I think that is a practice that has been introduced at many places. So I guess that is the new normal as well.

C: Would you prefer eating cake for the rest of your life, or never eating cake again?

A: Well again - never cake.

C: How?! I don’t think you and I are gonna get along, I can eat sweets all day!

A: We’ll have to have two dishes basically.

Cornelia: Maybe that’s good, I can have all the sweets and you can have everything else.

Anders: I’ll have the carrots.

Publicerad: 2022-06-10

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Ansvarig utgivare: Carl Housten
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