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Government initiative affects the academic development at Arts

We knew that the government’s resizing initiative was going to have an effect on degree programmes taught in English. And we knew that funding for programmes which only have a few students was also going to be affected. But until now we did not know exactly how much impact these two measures would have on the academic development of the Faculty of Arts.

2018.11.19 | Arts Kommunikation

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Consequences of the degree programme resizing

Too many international students decide to leave Denmark after completing their degree programme. Therefore, the aim of the government has been to reduce the number of student places on diploma degree programmes in engineering and university degree programmes taught in English.

The Faculty of Arts has a large number of Master’s degree programmes and tracks taught in English, in many of which international students are enrolled. This means that the decision will have far-reaching consequences for a lot of Master’s degree programmes and tracks. The primary changes are that English-language programmes will instead be taught in Danish, and Danish language skills will be introduced as an admission requirement. So this has an impact on the degree programmes at the Faculty of Arts, and therefore, a plan has been drawn up for how to implement the requirement to reduce the intake of students on degree programmes taught in English at the faculty.

At the School of Culture and Society, the degree programmes International Studies and Religious Roots of Europe as well as the English-language tracks on the degree programmes in philosophy, history and anthropology will be affected. At the School of Communication and Culture, the Cognitive Semiotics programme and the English-language track Digital Living will be affected. Finally, the Anthropology of Education and Globalisation programme at the Danish School of Education will not continue in its current form.

Since the announcement of the results of the negotiations on the resizing of degree programmes taught in English, discussions have taken place with the heads of the affected degree programmes on how to find proper solutions.

“It’s highly regrettable that we have ended up in this situation,” says Vice-Dean for Education, Niels Lehmann, and continues: “This is a step backwards in our efforts to internationalise our degree programmes. The international students, who we won’t be able to take in in the future, have contributed significantly to the internationalisation of our degree programmes. It’s very paradoxical that the requirements placed on us imply that the resizing of degree programmes taught in English most heavily affects the programmes that have pioneered the internationalisation”.

The conditions that the affected programmes and tracks are subject to vary greatly, for example in relation to the possibilities of attracting Danish applicants, and the need to take into account the collaboration with external partners. This means that different solutions need to be found in each case. “Therefore, the special conditions that apply to the affected programmes were thoroughly discussed last week with the heads of the degree programmes involved”, says Lehmann.

Decent outcome of the discussions on funding for degree programmes with only a few students

In connection with the introduction of the national language strategy, it was decided to establish a committee for degree programmes which only have a few students, tasked with deciding which degree programmes are to receive funding in future. In addition to ministry officials, the members of the committee have included representatives of the Confederation of Danish Industry and the Danish Chamber of Commerce well as representatives from the institutions involved, including the Dean of the Faculty of Arts, Johnny Laursen.

“We have had some good, fact-based discussions in the committee, and everyone has formed a general view of the special conditions and content of the degree programmes involved”. It’s been clear from the beginning that it would be difficult to meet every wish from the institutions, and in this light, it’s satisfactory that we, more or less at least, have been able to maintain the majority of the funding for degree programmes with only a few students as well as adding the conference interpreting programme to our portfolio”, says Laursen.

The overall consequences and the further process

“There’s no denying the academic loss, and the feeling is shared by the entire faculty management team and staff and students alike. My preliminary assessment is that there will be no significant consequences for the 2019 budget, and therefore, I stand by the announcement to the faculty liaison committee and the academic council,” Laursen emphasises, referring to the announcement regarding the financial situation, which can be found using the following link:

 https://medarbejdere.au.dk/fileadmin/www.medarbejdere.au.dk/hovedomraader/Arts/Dagsordner_og_moedereferater/Akademiske_raadsmoeder/Referat_faellesmoede_FSU-FAMU__og_AR_02-05-18.pdf (in Danish).

The two measures do have some implications, however. In connection with the resizing of degree programmes taught in English and the discussions in the committee for degree programmes with only a few students, the faculty management team has to consider the consequences of the recent developments for some of the most affected programmes in our degree programme portfolio.

Finally, it should be noted that the work to realise the necessary restructuring will continue to be discussed by the head of school, the relevant heads of section and heads of degree programme. However, time is limited and we need to make the necessary decisions, including on the conditions for the next intake in autumn 2019.

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