On Thursday last week, the Danish government presented a growth plan with 89 proposals as a follow-up to the recommendations of the Danish Productivity Commission.
Several of the proposals deal with research and higher education. The government proposes, among other things, fresh investment of DKK 3 billion in the Danish National Research Foundation.
In the field of education, there is a wish to include quality objectives in the development contracts and to introduce stricter rules for setting up new study programmes.
The government also wants to change the level of the intakes on the higher education degree programmes. Universities Denmark would like the responsibility to rest with the universities locally, and the ministry is working at the moment on a model for determining the size of the intakes in future.
Moreover, the government's strategy for attracting and retaining talented foreigners is also part of the growth package.
In her article in last Tuesday’s edition of the daily newspaper Jyllands-Posten, Dean Mette Thunø wrote that the universities can become better at integrating theory and practice for the benefit of tomorrow's labour market. She warns, however, against vocationalising the degree programmes and against making them shorter, as tomorrow's Danish labour market cannot be categorised into professions in the same way as industrial society.
She points out that more and more humanities graduates are being employed in new fields in the private sector, and questions whether salary should be the main yardstick by which a study programme's value for society is evaluated.
The rector is now visiting all the departments, administrative divisions and major centres. So far six visits have been made, all of them well-attended by employees who were keen to ask questions. Discussions have so far been centred on local challenges after the cutbacks, finances, external research grants, deciding the number of students on each study programme and, not least, the strategic development of Aarhus University. The rector regards the visits as extremely valuable, and hopes to see many employees meeting up to express their opinions at future visits.
"This is an opportunity for me to meet employees in an open and direct dialogue and to get an insight into local issues. It is also a perfect opportunity for me to discuss the university's future development with staff," says Brian Bech Nielsen.
The dates and times for the individual visits will be announced locally. The round of visits is expected to be completed by the beginning of September.
Aarhus University has appointed a new deputy director for finance. Niels Jørgen Rasmussen (41) comes from a position as head of finance at the Department for Children and Young People, City of Aarhus. Niels Jørgen Rasmussen takes up his position on 1 July.
In the coming months, many employees at Aarhus University will be given new email addresses. The email address must reflect where the member of staff is based at AU. No emails will be lost, as emails are automatically forwarded from former email addresses.
All employees must have an email address that reflects AU's organisation. Consequently, about 80% of AU's employees will have to switch to new email addresses. The senior management team has decided that the transition to new email addresses will take place in one area at a time.
As part of cost reductions at Aarhus University,the budget for the annual celebration will be reduced by DKK million. The savings will primarily be realised by revising the programme for the evening party at Concert Hall Aarhus, where the number of external guests will also be reduced. The number of employees will remain unchanged, but all guests will be gathered together in a single hall.
Three new scanners will bolster health care research and health programmes at Aarhus University and Aarhus University Hospital. The scanners were inaugurated by the Danish Minister for Higher Education and Science, Sofie Carsten Nielsen, early last week.
The new facilities are the only ones of their kind in Denmark, and they will make it possible to combine MRI, PET scanning and optical imaging.
In her speech, the minister said, among other things, that the scanners will help to strengthen the connection between biology and medicine and, ultimately, improve the treatment being offered to patients.
The new scanning equipment is funded jointly by the Danish Agency for Science, Technology and Innovation, the Velux Foundation, Aarhus University and Central Denmark Region.
Aarhus University is looking for a director to establish and build up the Danish Centre for Healthcare (DCH).
The centre must meet the health sector's growing demand for specialist knowledge and deliver research-based consultancy to both government agencies and institutions and private companies. The centre's tasks must be solved through drawing on the entire university's academic expertise.
DCH will have the status of a national centre on a par with Aarhus University's three other advisory centres:
Read more about the Danish Centre for Health, DCH (in Danish)
Health has advertised the position of vice-dean for education. The current vice-dean for education, Berit Eika, has appointed the university's new pro-rector and will assume her duties on 1 July.
Last Friday was a very special day at Aarhus University. Thanks to the annual Regatta, more than 20,000 cheerful students gathered in the University Park to attend an impressive show and thrilling contest on the water.
It is a great privilege for Aarhus University to have such an outstanding student event – organised by students for students.
Many congratulations to PF – the political scientists – on their win.
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If you would like to subscribe to the English version of News from the Senior Management Team, please go to http://info.au.dk/medarbbreve/index.asp?sprog=en. The English version of News from the Senior Management Team is available at http://www.au.dk/en/about/uni/seniormanagement/newsletter/. You can read previous editions of News from the Senior Management Team at http://www.au.dk/en/about/uni/seniormanagement/newsletter/2014.