Professor´s portrait: Anne Lillvist
Anne Lillvist, Professor of Education, Early Childhood Education. School of Education, Culture and Communication , Division of Early Childhood Education.
Please tell us briefly about your academic career – what decisions have brought you to where you are today?
I am a childcare worker at heart and then I started studying Behavioural Science at Mälardalen University. There I met inspiring teachers and researchers who challenged my notions about childhood, inclusion and health and who also showed me the importance that preschool and the early school years constitute in children's lives. I was subsequently accepted to the doctoral programme in Psychology at Örebro University but had my home at MDH and the CHILD (Children Health Intervention Learning & Development) interdisciplinary research team. After defending my doctoral thesis in 2011, I worked with research and teaching on the Preschool Teacher Programme until 2019 when I got a position at Örebro University. Since 1 August, I am employed as a Professor of Education specialising in preschool here at MDU.
In what area do you conduct research?
I conduct research in teaching and learning focusing on preschool activities. Preschool is a socially important institution that has a major impact in, and importance for, both children and their guardians' lives, in both the short-term and long-term. That preschool maintains a high quality and provides equal opportunities for children's development and learning is therefore an issue of common concern for the whole society.
How would you describe your research environment at MDU?
The Children and Young People in School and Society, (BUSS in Swedish) research environment operates as part of the Educational Sciences and Mathematics research base at the School of Education, Communication and Culture, (UKK). The research conducted in BUSS is based on a holistic perspective of children's and young people's encounters with preschool and school. We conduct research on how preschool and compulsory school support and challenge children with different prerequisites based on special educational needs and educational perspectives.
What is the driving force in your research?
The biggest driving force in my research is societal benefits; that the research can actually make a difference for children, guardians and preschool staff.
Which research domains are particularly important for you?
I am passionate about the mission of preschool which is to offer an equal education and a positive social context for all children. My particular interests lie in early intervention, inclusion, and positive transitions. Research ethics is another area which is interesting and to which I have recently devoted a great deal of research.
How do you feel about becoming a Professor given that MDU has recently become an official University?
I feel a great honour and excitement to be appointed Professor at Sweden's newest University and to be able to actively work for the joint vision that MDU stands for related to progressivity, sustainability and collaboration.
What's the best part about conducting research at MDU?
MDU is characterised by a positive research climate which entails close collaboration internally in the School, between the Schools themselves and with the surrounding community. There are good structures in place for research and this is used in the teaching that is conducted. Research is conducted collectively and I have competent, driven and pleasant colleagues at MDU with whom I cooperate regularly.