Draft institutional plan released for comment until 3 December

The senior management team's proposal to relocate and reduce student places has now been sent to a circle of internal reviewers. Read a statement from the rector and pro-rector about the draft institutional plan for AU.

[Translate to English:] AU skal skære og udflytte studiepladser inden 2030. Det første forslag er nu sendt til kommentering. Arkivfoto: Lars Kruse

Under the broad-based political agreement from June 2021 on “more and better educational opportunities throughout the country,” Aarhus University must draft a so-called ‘institutional plan’. In this plan, we must present a proposal to relocate degree programmes outside Denmark’s four largest cities or reduce the number of student places in these cities by up to ten per cent.

We have a strong university, and we supply highly qualified graduates to the entire country - geographically and in terms of our degree programme offerings. We have been set the task of coming up with proposals for how we can educate more students outside the major cities and fewer in them. But this is by no means an easy task.

The senior management team has approached this task constructively, and we have drawn up a draft version of a plan. In our discussions,we have adopted a holistic approach to the university’s overall portfolio of degree programmes, and we have placed a high priority on staying the course we set in the university’s Strategy 2025.

We believe that this draft plan lives up to the intentions of the political agreement. Our contribution to the coming political process has been designed with two phases. In a first phase, we propose, Aarhus University will relocate/reduce student places by 6 per cent. Relocation alone will not be sufficient. This is why it will also be necessary to reduce the number of student places on a variety of degree programmes. And in a few cases, we will have to close degree programmes.

Respect for local programmes

We are fully conscious of the fact that the proposal to relocate, scale back or even shut down programmes will hit some subjects hard.

For this reason, the senior management team found it important to inform local liaison committees at the programmes that may be affected by proposed relocations before the draft was released for comment at the university a short time ago.

The circle of reviewers commenting on the draft is comprised of students, staff and managers at: the academic councils; the liaison committees at university, faculty and university level; the administration’s management team; and student associations.

Next week, these reviewers will also receive a list of the programmes in regard to which closure or a reduction in student places are being proposed.

Here as well, we consider it important to accord the programmes affected by the proposed closures the respect of informing their local liaison committees before the list of proposed closures is released to the reviewers.

The process from here on

The deadline for the reviewers’ comments on the draft is 3 December. Together with the draft of the institutional plan, the comments received will be presented to the board on 6 December. After further discussion by the senior management team, the final institutional plan for Aarhus University will be presented to the board in mid-December.

Aarhus University’s plan must be submitted to the Ministry of Higher Education and Science by 31 December. We don’t yet know what will happen after that, or the degree to which the universities will be consulted after we and the other universities submit our institutional plans. 

As we mentioned above, Aarhus University is operating with a first phase which involves relocating/reducing six per cent of our student places. Demands for a second phase of additional cuts may arise. The senior management teams wishes to stress, however, that the political agreement explicitly states that special consideration must be shown for a number of subjects, and that in actual fact Aarhus University’s proposed first phase lives up to the requirements and intentions of the political agreement.