− We are delighted to have signed four ULF agreements with principals, and we hope to have another couple in the near future, announces Caroline Graeske and Ulrika Bergmark, ULF coordinators at Luleå University of Technology.
The agreements focus on collaboration between the university and various school activities, where they will primarily collaborate on degree projects, research and development projects but also start up a seminar series where experiences from research and development can be disseminated. The idea is to create structures for long-term collaboration.
− In the agreements, the principals undertake to set aside time for teachers, principals and administrative management to work with collaboration in different ways based on the activities of the respective agreements. Luleå University of Technology also sets aside time for researchers and teacher educators to collaborate, says Ulrika Bergmark.
ULF is a national research activity carried out on behalf of the government between 2017 and 2021. The research activities will develop and test sustainable collaboration models between academia and school in research, schooling and teacher education. The activities at Luleå University of Technology are aimed at schools in Norrbotten and Northern Västerbotten with the hope of strengthening the scientific foundation of teaching.
− This can be done by teachers and principals contributing knowledge from the practice into our teacher education and research. Another important point of departure is that our collaboration must be symmetrical and complementary, which means that both parties participate on the same terms, but that we contribute different competences that become important in collaboration, says Caroline Graeske.
An important starting point for collaborative work is that the process is based on the obstacles and challenges that schools face in their daily operations.
− We hope that this collaboration will identify common knowledge needs that we can then work on together. It is important that the research and development work that is done is based on the challenges of the business, both at the university and the respective school. Research and business development should not take place in parallel processes, but we need each other's skills to meet the societal challenges we face, not least the teacher shortage, says Caroline Graeske.
Already visible effects
Work on establishing contact areas and increased collaboration with the school's in the region is still in its infancy, but the researchers at Luleå University of Technology are already seeing that the ULF project is starting to create rings on the water.
− We see that it is starting to have effects in the form of new contacts with municipalities in connection with the signing of the agreement. We have also negotiated joint activities that we want to work on and this has meant that we have started to know each other's organizations and what challenges and opportunities exist to work together. An important work within the ULF has been to create a collaborative organization between universities and principals, which has resulted in the establishment of a regional collaboration council for teacher education and schools. This is where all the county's municipalities are represented as well as representatives from Luleå University of Technology, says Ulrika Bergmark.