Starting the autumn in good shape

Dean Thunø's column

Let me start by welcoming you back from a well-deserved holiday which I hope has given you all the possibility to recharge your batteries before the work ahead of us this autumn.


Some of you are already well underway – I’m referring in particular to all the staff and students who are hard at work welcoming the new students in the best way possible.


The pressure is on now not least because of the happy fact that we have once again had a record number of applicants for our degree programmes. At the Faculty of Arts it is noteworthy that disciplines such as anthropology, theology, linguistics and many languages have experienced a significant increase in the number of applicants. I see this as a clear indication that young people are highly conscious of the fact that knowledge of languages and cultural awareness are essential in an increasingly more globalized world, and this in turn underlines the importance of our disciplines in the development of society.


Now that we have had such a large intake of students and welcomed them, the next step is to ensure that they also feel comfortable with us. The study environment survey from last spring has shown us areas where there is room for improvement, and AU has earmarked resources for these areas this autumn. Many exciting proposals have been submitted for projects aimed at improving Arts study environments, and we are having a good dialogue with study boards and the various programme councils about how the funding can best be used.


On the research front, one of the most important tasks has been to identify the projects for which MSO professorships will be created further to the spring call for proposals. We have come so far that five projects have been selected for review according to the criteria stated in the call for applications and on the basis of recommendations from members of the three Academic Councils, the three new heads of department and the vice-deans. Among the proposals were many important research projects, and unfortunately there are many that will not have the opportunity to proceed this time around. The situation reflects a clear need for a comprehensive professorship policy at the Faculty of Arts, and this will be one of the topics to be discussed at both the department and faculty levels, with the involvement of the new Academic Council and the faculty’s new research committee.


While the faculty leadership is focusing on research and education, we are still building the organization. We have hired a chief advisor to the Dean’s Office: Lone Ploughmann Iversen, who will be joining us on 1 September. Earlier this summer it was also announced that Arne Kjær will take over as director of the Centre for Teaching Development and Digital Media. With this appointment, the leadership of the Faculty of Arts is in place, and we are fully prepared to embark on an exciting and significant autumn.


Fortunately, we are starting the autumn at Arts in good shape. The list of all the AU staff who will be participating in the DHL Relay Race testifies to this. I think it’s wonderful that so many people are supporting this event, and I wish you a nice day and a good race!



Mette Thunø