fredag 11 februari 2011

Report from Meeting with Dean of CSC at KTH on BodyandSoul

Here is a report from a meeting I had with the Dean of the School of Computer Science and Communication (CSC) at KTH, Jan Gulliksen (Gulan) concerning my educational program BodyandSoul supposed to serve as a basis for a new Bachelors program in Simulation Technology (ST) planned to start in the Fall 2011 under CSC:

CJ: I heard that CSC has stopped ST. Isn't that strange since ST was proposed by CSC? Why did CSC stop something put forward by itself? Isn't it very unfortunate that CSC missed a great opportunity to serve KTH and society, while advancing its own position in the fight for students?

Gulan: Maybe, but actually ST was not stopped by CSC but by the Department of Numerical Analysis NADA within CSC, which proposed the program and carried it through all the levels at KTH to acceptance by the Board of KTH, and which then decided to stop it. As the Dean of CSC I didn't do it. NADA did it.

CJ: Why did then NADA stop ST?

Gulan: Because there were no teachers to run the program.

CJ: So NADA proposed a program and then it showed that there were no teachers to run the program?

Gulan: Yes, the NADA group of teachers had a meeting led by the Prefect of NADA Björn Engquist, and it was decided that there were too few teachers to run the program.

CJ: Strange, because I know at least two teachers ready to give the four courses, the teachers who developed the program and carried it to acceptance by the Board of KTH. And what are the other 10 teachers at NADA supposed to do? Why can't they participate?

Gulan: I was told that there were no teachers.

CJ: But as a Dean don't you have a responsibility to check if the information you get is correct?

Gulan: No, I can't do that. If the Prefect of NADA says something, I have to consider it to be true. As a Dean I have to rely on my Prefects. That is the way it works at KTH and CSC.

CJ: Is there a report from the NADA teachers group meeting, where it was decided to not run ST, because there were no teachers?

Gulan: I guess not, to put to the records everything which is not being done would be overwhelming.

CJ: What is your responsibility for the missed opportunity?

Gulan: None really: The reason ST was stopped was that it was not sufficiently "anchored" in the organization. I can only decide what is "well anchored" and apparently ST was not.

CJ: But isn't what everyone can agree on, what is "well anchored", usually the zero-solution, to do nothing? Like in the present case, to not run ST rather than running it?

Gulan: Well actually, ST has not been stopped, only BodyandSoul as the basis of ST has been stopped. ST on a new basis is planned to start in 2012.

CJ: Oh, so BodyandSoul which took me 20 years to develop, will be replaced by new material?
Who will develop this new material?

Gulan: The NADA teachers, I guess.

CJ: But if there were no teachers at NADA to even run the ST program, with a basis already in place, how can there be teachers available to both develop a new basis of ST and then run the program?

Gulan: I am told by NADA that this is the plan, to start ST in 2012 with BodyandSoul replaced by a new basis developed by the teachers at NADA.

CJ: Is it realistic?

Gulan: It is not up to me to have an opinion. Maybe, or rather maybe not. This is a question for NADA and Björn Engquist. If he does not like BodyandSoul, there is nothing I can do about it. If he rather has no ST program than a program based on BodyandSoul, there is nothing I can do about it.

In any case, it was really an accomplishment by CSC to bring ST based on BodyandSoul to acceptance by the Board of KTH into a planned start in the Fall. In this perspective, the fact that the program will not actually be run, is just a minor set-back. And of course, not running
the program saves a lot of resources.

CJ: I understand. Thank you for the meeting.

1 kommentar:

  1. Amazing. I know nothing about the programme or the virtues of running it or not, but this interview reads like something out of a Monty Python episode.

    These people (the Dean) run universities???


    Baa Humbug