International collaboration for renewal of education

16 September 2020

Calie logotype

The Vinnova Calie Project explores how academic leadership should be designed to achieve the best potential for the renewal of higher education.

Uppsala University is involved in an international project aimed at improving renewal in education. The project will conclude in May 2021 with a research anthology.

As an organisation, Uppsala University is part of several international networks and collaborative projects. The more familiar networks might be Matariki and U4Society (formerly U4) and one of the less familiar is probably the Calie Project. Calie stands for "Sweden-USA Project for Collaboration, Academic Leadership and Innovation in Higher Education".

“This is actually not an internationalisation project, so it is a bit of an odd duck,” says Deputy Vice Chancellor Anders Malmberg, a member of the project steering committee. “The aim is to study what kind of academic leadership is required to drive renewal of education at a collegially managed higher education institution.”

Collaborative project among seven universities

Calie is a collaborative project among university management at the universities of Uppsala, Lund, Gothenburg and Stockholm and three North American universities, Stanford, UC Berkeley and the University of Washington.

The aim of the project is to explore academic leadership in the context of renewal or innovation in higher education. Funded by Vinnova, the project began in April 2019 and will end in August 2021. The idea is to strengthen the capacity of universities to respond to long-term social challenges and the need for renewal of education by developing tools and methods of leadership at the strategic level. Anders Malmberg puts the issues in more concrete terms:

“What challenges are the universities confronting and what do they mean for the organisation and academic leadership in relation to higher education? How should interdisciplinary renewal of education be pursued in a discipline-oriented university?”

Slowed by social distancing

Malmberg notes that the project has been affected by travel shutdowns and meeting restrictions due to the pandemic.

“We were able to get in one physical meeting last autumn, which turned out to be much more productive than I had dared hope. We are trying to keep working via digital meetings, but building new and trusting relationships and engaging in the most freewheeling discussions possible is much harder in virtual form, of course.”

Keep up with progress

The project website, calieproject.com, presents news, analyses, reports and case studies from the project, where you can also subscribe to project news.

The project will end in May 2021 and the plan is to publish a book that includes contributions from various researches at the higher education institutions involved ahead of the final conference.

“I believe the book will be relevant to everyone who is involved in these issues, especially leaders of every kind and at every level within the university.”