Maria Knutson Wedel - Vice President

Chalmers is by far the best when it comes to technical education

Chalmers is by a wide margin the best in Sweden in technical education. Maria Knutson Wedel, Vice President responsible for education, is happy about this success.

How does Chalmers fare in the area of education?

– We are doing very well right now. In the national government evaluation, we rank number one in Sweden in technical education, far ahead of number two. Even the analysis of why we are ranked so high is pleasing - it shows our programmes are of an exceptionally even and high quality.
We are also highly valued among international students. The International Student Barometer survey places us at number one in Europe and third in the world in the area of Learning”.
First place in the government evaluation has resulted in extra funding for education for Chalmers. What does that mean?
- We have received about 40 million SEK extra this year, in what is termed quality funding, compared with the entire amount allocated for education of approximately 800 million SEK. We will use the money to push quality still higher. It can be used for extra support for students, new equipment or further development of courses. For example, we have purchased a new simulator for maritime education.
Is there anything new going on in regards to education at Chalmers?
- After the New Year, Chalmers will start its first open online classes. The first two being Graphene Science and Technology and Sustainability in Everyday Life. They are free and available for everyone. They don’t earn you any credit hours, but you get a certificate of completion.
How important are alumni to Chalmers reputation?
- Alumni are very important to the recruitment of new students, just by telling about what it’s like at Chalmers and what they have learned here. Our alumni are special - they have a strong sense of unity and are active. We are very lucky to have thousands of alumni as ambassadors out there in the world.
Do alumni have any other impact on Chalmers education?
- Some alumni are on Programme Boards and participate in developing the programmes; others come here as visiting lecturers. Many alumni have a Chalmers MasterCard which generates a small amount of money every time they use it, without any cost to them. Others are donating money through Friends of Chalmers. Among other benefits, the money helps us offer scholarships to non-European students.
Why are non-European students important?
- They help to increase quality. Basically all engineers in Sweden will, in their professional lives, come into contact with other countries. It’s very useful to be able to write reports in English and learn how to deal with cultural differences, while still at university. And building up an international network is a great asset.
You say you enjoy meeting alumni and discussing education. What do you gain from this?
- It’s one of the most enjoyable things I do! Alumni stories about what it was like when they studied at Chalmers gives me valuable insight into our history. It makes it easier look ahead and make sound strategic decisions for the future.

Published: Thu 23 Oct 2014. Modified: Mon 08 Feb 2016