It is both disappointing and surprising that the Danish government’s Finance Bill includes cuts to the grants given by the Danish Council for Independent Research and the Danish Council for Strategic Research, with savings on research amounting to DKK 1.4 billion, according to Rector Brian Bech Nielsen, who finds the bill extremely problematic.
After receiving a number of enquiries from upper secondary school heads in the Central Denmark Region in autumn 2014 asking that AU provide even more further and continuing education for upper secondary school teachers, the Committee on Education and the rectors have, in a working group headed by Pro-rector Berit Eika, taken a closer look at the existing cooperation between the upper secondary school sector and AU.
Aarhus University already offers various types of further and continuing education within a wide range of fields, with many disciplines organising special events and workshops for upper secondary school teachers. However, the evaluation has identified greater demand.
The university now wants to enter into even closer dialogue with the upper secondary schools on the need for and feasibility of tailoring the courses even more closely to the teachers’ specific requirements. The first step towards establishing a proper upper secondary school office at AU is a new coordinator function, which will guarantee the desired progress. Birgitte Højland has been designated for this role.
A strong academic organisation needs to be established at the university comprising representatives from all four faculties, who will at the same time be part of the steering committee along with upper secondary schools heads. The pro-rector and the vice-deans for education will take this idea further in the period up until the annual networking day for upper secondary school heads and AU.
The idea is for the special days for upper secondary school teachers to be a key element in the further and continuing education activities, and for this purpose the form, content and number of these days must be developed further.
The Danish daily Jyllands Posten has recently described how several researchers have been harassed or even threatened directly after publishing or arguing in favour of their research findings in the media. Most recently, the Minister for Higher Education and Science Esben Lunde Larsen, has drawn attention to the fact that this kind of harassment undermines democracy.
Rector Brian Bech Nielsen states: “I agree completely with the minister that this kind of victimisation and persecution is not only unacceptable. In fact, it is extremely harmful, because it has a negative impact on the researchers’ desire and motivation to become involved in the public debate.
It is vital that researchers have a free voice in a democracy, and as a university we are obliged to ensure that the latest research and know-how is made publicly available.”
Dean Johnny Laursen has made department head Niels Lehmann acting vice-dean for education at Arts. This new position was created after Johnny Larsen decided recently to reduce the number of vice-deans at the faculty from two to three.
In future, the faculty will have a vice-dean for education and a vice-dean for research, who will also be head of the faculty’s graduate school. Anne Marie Pahuus will carry on as vice-dean for research and head of the graduate school. Prior to appointing Niels Lehmann acting vice-dean for education, Johnny Laursen informed the faculty management team about his decision and received their full approval. The appointment takes effect from 1 October, and lasts until the position of vice-dean has been advertised and filled.
At the School of Communication and Culture, of which Niels Lehmann is head, Deputy Head of School Per Stounbjerg will be made acting head of school.
Claus Holm has been appointed head of the Danish School of Education.
Claus Holm has been acting head of the school since 1 November 2014, and was previously vice-dean for communication at the Danish School of Education before it became part of the Faculty of Arts. Claus Holm takes up his appointment as head of the school on 1 October 2015.
Agnete Gersing has been appointed new permanent secretary at the Ministry of Higher Education and Science, and will take up her position on 1 November 2015. Agnete Gersing comes from a position as director general of the Danish Competition and Consumer Authority, and also has broad experience from previous positions in the central administration, including the Danish Ministry of Finance and the Prime Minister’s Office. Aarhus University is looking forward to working with Agnete Gersing.
The Danish Agency for Science, Technology and Innovation has entered into a new cooperation agreement with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). Every year, the agreement will give up to ten Danish PhD students and postdocs within biology, biotechnology, chemistry and pharmaceutics’ the opportunity to spend either six or 12 months at MIT. MIT is one of the highest-ranking universities in the world, and researchers from Aarhus University will be able to apply for research stays on an equal footing with all other Danish universities.
This autumn, Aarhus University will be focusing strongly on exam cheating, in particular to try to prevent unintentional cheating while at the same time signalling that cheating is a very serious issue.
There have been several cases of exam cheating in recent years.
Dean Allan Flyvbjerg and University of Copenhagen dean Ulla Wewer wrote a joint article in Altinget last Friday, in which the two health deans again proposed a so-called clinic taximeter. The special taximeter for the dentistry degree programmes would cover the major expenses associated with running the hospital clinic which is crucial to ensuring a high degree of educational quality.
The expenses are not adequately covered today, and both Aarhus University and the University of Copenhagen have to spend research funds to plug the holes. The two deans are calling for political action to be taken.
The Senior Management Team
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