A silver thread running through my almost 30 years at LiU has been to deliver the courses in a good a manner as possible, and in different ways develop it to be even better.
The base is of course the teaching itself, the meetings with students, and the planning to make these teaching and learning activities as rewarding as possible. Since I started working at LiU in 1993 I have spent roughly 50 % of my time teaching and examining, as examiner for approximately 10 different courses at 60 occasions; as participating teacher in numerous other courses; and as supervisor for some 100 Master’s Thesis’ projects and 65 major projects at master level. The majority of our courses are offered to students who have chosen Logistics and Supply Chain Management as their specialization, or major, at master’s level. This makes the students highly motivated, which is inspiring for us teachers, but also leads to some pressure, since the students expect a top-notch education. Teaching at university comes with a lot of responsibility. The students invest some years of their lives to get a good education. As teachers, we have a responsibility to give as good a journey as possible.
Over the years, I have worked a lot developing teaching, assessment, curricula etc. in smaller and larger scale. Some projects have been driven by my own spirit, others initiated and supported by my home division, Logistics and Quality Management, or by other entities at LiU. I have also developed various educational materials, from lecture slides and teacher instructions to different teaching cases used in our courses. One of the teaching cases, together with supportive teacher instructions, has been sold to some other HEIs.
A guiding principle for these cases is that they should be challenging as well as realistic, in order to bring out student engagement. An important component is that multiple solutions are possible and that students are expected to present plausible arguments for their suggested solutions. Another is that the absence of some important information (to force students to make reasonable assumptions) as well as redundant information (forcing them to value which info is important).
Together with two colleagues, I have written a logistics textbook, which for several years have been the best-selling one in Sweden. The fifth edition was released in 2021.
During more than 15 years, I had the privilege to be appointed Director of Studies for the Logistics division, thereby responsible for administration and development of the logistics courses.
Administratively this means, among other things, to control the course budgets, to staff the courses wisely, and to communicate with different steering committees. An important part of the educational leadership is to stimulate and manage development activities in a desired direction. Equally (or more) important is to create a team spirit and a positive climate, encouraging cooperation and making everyone feel they develop.
There is a strong pedagogical engagement at our division. Among other things, there are regular meetings to discuss educational issues, including course content and pedagogical aspects. This has led to a united view concerning which knowledge and skills we want the students to learn, as well as which pedagogical forms to use. We deliberately use educational activities requiring the students to think, reflect and question things to a greater extent than they are used to from previous courses.
Over time I realised that most university teachers (myself included) have a limited knowledge about research within teaching, assessment, and learning. I became interested in finding out how logistics ‘really’ should be taught, something that is sparsely covered in research. My own research has therefore mainly been focused on this area, in conference papers as well as the Licentiate Thesis I presented in 2014.
My PhD Thesis from 2019 also deals with the interface between logistics and education, but focus is rather on how to make structured total cost analyses to achieve a solid basis for decision-making. This is something I continue exploring in an on-going project supported by the Swedish Retail and Wholesale Council.