We must play the same piano

- It will cost too much if we all want our own piano, says Per Henriksen, future Chief Counsel at Business and Social Sciences. He sees great possibilities, but also many risks in the new administrative structure. The key word will be coordination in a structure where informal relations and cross referencing between several managerial levels will require flexibility and cooperativeness of all employees.

2011.03.17 | Signe Hvid Maribo

[Translate to English:] Per Henriksen og Steen Kjeldsen

Per Henriksen and Steen Kjeldsen will both take office on 1 April 2011; Per Henriksen as Chief Counsel and Steen Kjeldsen as Administration Manager at Business and Social Sciences. They are currently working hard on setting the framework for the new administration.

The primary focus of Per Henriksen’s new position will be strategic counsel. Since he will form part of the Dean’s executive team, he will also be one of the clients requesting services from the new administrative centre at Business and Social Sciences, which will be headed by Steen Kjeldsen.

In the former organizational structure, administrative staff at main academic area level reported to the management group at the main academic area in question. The new structure implies that administrative staff in future will report to one of the nine deputy directors who will each head one of the nine administrative pillars, which in combination constitute the entire AU Administration. This means that the staff of the administrative centre reports to different superiors.

- The new administrative structure is a rather complex construction, and many of the relations in the new structure will be informal. This implies that willingness to cooperate will be crucial to the success of the organization, says Per Henriksen.

Pillars must be kept close together

Steen Kjeldsen will be responsible for keeping the nine administrative pillars close together to ensure that no duties fall between the cracks. This will require a high level of coordination between deputy directors, administration manager and the functional managers of the administrative centre.

- It is my responsibility to ensure that the administrative centre can deliver the requested services. And the clients will be the Dean’s executive team, the departments and the interdisciplinary centres, says Steen Kjeldsen.

He emphasizes that the organization chart expresses a compromise between different considerations.

- On the one hand, we aim at a more coherent, professional and uniform administration. On the other hand, we have established four – very different – main academic areas, which all need their own administration to be able to cope with everyday challenges.

Access to expertise is crucial

The deputy directors will have highly specialized staff. This group of employees will not form part of the administrative centres, but will be included in the joint AU administration. Both Per Henriksen and Steen Kjeldsen emphasize the importance of ensuring access for clients – through the administrative centre – to the specialized services offered by the joint AU administration.

- If the specialists operate exclusively in the joint AU administration, the administrative centre may be unable to deliver the services that are requested by the clients. In that case, we may risk that the administrative centre will start to recruit their own administrative specialists from the academic environments, says Per Henriksen and continues:

- We are highly aware that particularly the Dean’s office must not grow. We all share the goal of making the piano play – and we know that it will cost too much if we all buy our own piano, says Per Henriksen.

Academic sustainability

At the moment, the management is working on finding premises for the administrative centre as close to the academic environments as possible. Since the academic departments already occupy Fuglesangs Allé and the north-eastern corner of campus, other locations nearby are currently being considered.

- It is not our intention to separate the administration from the academic environments. On the contrary, we may locate several units of the administrative centre among students and academic staff if this seems to be the best option. First of all, we aim at finding a solution in support of academic sustainability, emphasizes Steen Kjeldsen.

While the administrative staff at the level of main academic area in future will be employed under the deputy directors, some of the administrative staff at department level will remain employed at the individual departments.

- We will probably still have administrative staff providing management and faculty support to our departments, but we will also need staff in the administrative centre. These two groups will work closely together, but the two groups will in future belong to two different lines of the organizational chart, says Steen Kjeldsen.

It will take several months before we will see any changes in the new administrative organization. The first step of the process will be appointment of functional managers for the administrative centre. The section heads and the other administrative staff will be selected at a later stage.







Aarhus BSS, Tomorrow's Aarhus University
Tags: Administration, the Future Aarhus University