News letter from the Dean

Dear all

As you know, the sector plan for the provision of more and better educational opportunities throughout Denmark (also known as the relocation agreement) was finalised in the spring. Before the summer holiday, the Faculty of Arts decided how we would implement this plan, for instance by cutting 315 student places. The changes were to be phased in gradually by 2030. We also announced an estimate of the expected loss in income and started adjusting our activities gradually to cope with the new situation.

Unfortunately, since the summer holiday we have registered a decline in the 2022 admissions. We are also concerned about the drop in student FTEs (full-time equivalents). Our student FTEs, which have increased each year until now, are showing signs of decline for the first time since 2014. We believe this is the result of an understandable reaction by the students following COVID-19. The rules relating to degree completion times may also have had an impact. So, we expect that this tendency may continue for some time. Demographic factors and increasing competition for a reduced student cohort form the backdrop to all these changes.

Consequently, we have been forced to adjust our financial estimates for the years ahead. The low admission numbers mean that the number of students will decline more quickly than expected, and that the financial impact will be felt more rapidly than predicted before the summer holiday. The sector plan states that by 2030 Arts must reduce admissions by 9 % compared to 2019. This will now be achieved more quickly than planned. It is difficult to adapt to such a large loss in income in such a short space of time.

The faculty may be forced to advance the adjustments announced before the summer holidays. The faculty’s units are working closely with the faculty management team to identify the necessary actions. The three schools’ starting positions are different. Before the summer holiday the Danish School of Education (DPU) began the process of addressing the need for cuts that DPU is facing, and last Friday it was announced that DPU is facing a drop of income of DKK 15 million by 2025. DPU has managed to find savings on infrastructure amounting to DKK 2 million. The rest of the savings will be sought by offering a voluntary resignation programme corresponding to 22 employees. The actual number will vary depending upon the specific employees who will apply for voluntary resignation. By November 1st we will know the budget for 2023 and the new and the draft budgets for the following four years. This will give us a more complete picture of the financial situation in the immediate future.

The faculty management team is maintaining close contact with the liaison committees and the Academic Council, with the results being reported in the faculty’s units.

The administration is also facing changes. The ACA management proposes for structural reasons to bring together all employees in ARTS studies at the Aarhus Campus to continue the development of work processes. All Arts Studies employees affected at Emdrup Campus will be offered employment in Aarhus.

Finally, it should me mentioned that there is a general sense of uncertainty in the global economy which will challenge the university’s financial situation: increasing energy prices, inflation, and an increasing number of technical tasks will lead to a rise in cost. As a result, and as announced by the senior management team, a partial freeze on recruitment as of 1 September 2022 is announced. This will of course be implied at the Faculty of Arts as one of the tools used to solve the current situation. 

Although this kind of change and uncertainty is difficult, let’s not forget that we have successfully overcome major challenges in the past. And we will overcome this challenge, too. We will be making the necessary decisions as soon as possible, enabling us to continue the task of academic development.

The bottom line is that we want the Faculty of Arts to continue its academic development and maintain high quality standards in terms of research and education.

Yours sincerely,

Johnny Laursen, Dean