The last pieces of the puzzle

Dean Thunøs column

Dear staff and students


After many days of anticipation, the last pjece has found its place in the puzzle: Denmark’s new coalition government has been announced. I was particularly anxious to discover who will be responsible for our area, and I was pleased when it was announced that Morten Østergaard is the new minister for science, innovation and higher education. The new minister’s informal title is ‘Higher Education Minister’, as opposed to his predecessor, who was known as ‘the Minister of Science’, which we must take as an indication of a shift towards greater emphasis on our educational activities.


The new ministry has been given responsibility for higher and continuing education in general, including professional Bachelor’s degrees formerly overseen by the Ministry of Education. This may well turn out to be advantageous for AU. And the fact that the new minister is a fairly recent alum probably won’t work to our detriment.


We are still working on a puzzle of our own here at AU – and I’m sure that many of you are eager to find out how our own activities will be structured in the new departmental and administrative organization, and what this means for you. One of our goals is for geography to facilitate collaboration at Arts. We are already beginning to experience some of the advantages of having our administrative staff organised in the Administration Centre at Arts (ACA), with facilities at Nobelparken, Aarhus Campus and Emdrup Campus – although the administrative staff are of course sorely missed at their former departments, and there is still a good deal of confusion about who is responsible for specific administrative functions for particular departments.  I’m looking forward to everyone finally being able to settle into their new positions and responsibilities. Remember to consult the moving pages on the website if you are in doubt as to who is responsible for what administrative function for what department. You will also find information about the joint moving secretariat for Arts and Business and Social Sciences which has been established to coordinate the moving process.


The former Department of Language, Literature and Culture will be moving in to the building which used to house the VIA UC School of Social Work in the course of the autumn break. Later this year, the former Department of History and Area Studies will be moving from Nordre Ringgade to Nobelparken to make room for Business and Social Sciences. The moving process will also involve improvements to students’ study environment at the Nobel Library. We are also well on the way to realizing a new studies administration centre to serve our students. The centre will be temporarily housed in Nobelsalen, building 1451, Nobelparken, Aarhus Campus, and in Building A, Emdrup Campus.


At Emdrup Campus, the departmental management team is moving to Building D, and the deputy director for knowledge is moving in to Building A. The financial and project support service and the Danish Centre for Culture and Learning are moving into an interdisciplinary project support centre in Building B.


The moving plan for the Department of Culture and Society has not yet been finalised, as our move at Arts is part of  a much more general reorganization involving several main academic areas and administrative divisions. This means that we are not in a position to announce who will be moving where at present – but naturally, we will announce this as soon as the final details of the plan have been agreed on.


I appreciate the fact that so many of you have taken the time to get involved in discussing the organisation of the new departments in the midst of all the moving mess. All the responses received in the open consultation on the faculty management team’s proposal are now available in pdf (in Danish only) and will later be published on the Arts staff webpage. To judge on the basis of the responses, no matter what decision we take, someone at Arts will argue that the new structure is not optimal for their particular area. I ask you to give the  structure a chance, so that we can explore the new possibilities a less traditional structure opens up for our teaching and research activities. We will evaluate the new structure after a time and make improvements, if necessary. In other words, the structure we establish now will not be set in stone.


Internal communication is another important piece of the Arts puzzle. We are working intensively on such projects as implementing our new website and finding the right form for our newsletter. The form of this column will be changing as well: when the new departments are in place, I expect that they will be responsible for informing staff about decisions and developments of immediate relevance.  Much of this type of information will also be available on the Arts staff website. In future, I will be using my column to communicate with you at the beginning and end of each semester. This will allow me to share the latest news and reflections on university politics with you in a more concentrated form – which will mean fewer interruptions in your busy schedules.


Mette Thunø

Dean, Arts