Professor's portrait: Eva Ärlemalm-Hagsér
Eva Ärlemalm-Hagsér, Professor of Education and 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?
Before I started at the School, I worked for over 20 years as a preschool teacher mainly in the Järfälla municipality. As a preschool teacher, I was active in the preschool's and the municipality's educational management and skills enhancement programme, which led me to develop an interest in research. A crucial factor for me ending up at MDU was when I met two university lecturers from Mälardalen University on a third-cycle research programme at the University of Gothenburg, who told me that MDH needed a substitute teacher.
I started working at Mälardalen University in 2004 and in 2007 was employed until further notice as a lecturer on the preschool teacher programme. Now I have broad teaching experience in higher education with teaching at doctoral, Master’s and Bachelor’s level and formal education in higher education pedagogy and research supervision. In addition, I have been assessed as a distinguished university teacher.
In 2008, I was admitted to the first graduate school for preschool teachers and I publicly defended my thesis in 2013 based on sustainable development in preschool.
In what area do you conduct research?
My research focuses on education for sustainability in preschool and preschool activities in general as well as higher education, with a specialisation on the preschool teacher programme. My focus on this area was primarily the great need for research in the area.
How would you describe your research environment at MDU?
The research which is conducted has a strong focus on education and teaching in preschool and compulsory school. The research conducted is interdisciplinary and practice based. Collaboration both nationally and internationally is paramount for the researchers belonging to the research team Barn och unga i skola och samhälle (BUSS) - (Children and Young people in School and Society). We aspire to also have a well-developed collaboration and co-production with local and regional parties. As a research director, it is my duty to support the research that is ongoing in the environment and create conditions to allow exchanges of information between doctoral students, between doctoral students and senior lecturers and between senior lecturers - from a local, national and international standpoint.
What is the driving force in your research?
The importance of developing new knowledge in the research area and that this research should support the development of preschool activities, both nationally and internationally.
Which research domains are particularly important for you?
Education for sustainability in preschool.
How do you feel about becoming a Professor given that MDU has recently become an official University?
It’s a very creative and evolving time which will hopefully provide a range of conditions for developing and bolstering research at MDU.
What's the best part about conducting research at MDU?
A constructive and stimulating environment with many competent colleagues.