News from the senior management no. 34/2018

Registration open for four star lectures for staff and students

Why do some people end up being more ill than others when exposed to infectious diseases? You can find out the answer to this question on 20 November, when Professor Trine Hyrup Mogensen from Health will be holding the first in our series of “star lectures” for staff and students. The senior management team invites everyone to attend a total of four “star lectures” on the occasion of Aarhus University’s 90th birthday. 

Registration for all four lectures is now open. The lectures are in Danish, free to attend, and the university will be providing refreshments during the breaks.

Thanks from the senior management team for input on Campus 2.0

The consultation on the overall development of Campus 2.0 has just been completed. The process was initiated following a public meeting held on 2 May 2018, where the university’s plans for development of the Aarhus campus were presented. Several hundred contributions will now be collated and presented to the senior management team and the board.  

I would like to thank the many staff and students who have provided input on how we can create the best possible framework for Campus 2.0. This input is very important, and I look forward to reading it all,” says Rector Brian Bech Nielsen.

The senior management team is now set to review the proposals submitted, and this will be followed by a discussion on the issue at the board meeting to be held on 13 December. At this meeting, the board will make a final decision on which elements are to be included in work on the future campus site.  

Aarhus University on the hunt for two external members for university board

Two new external members will join the Aarhus University Board on 1 February 2019. The nomination committee at Aarhus University is thus requesting nominations for new external board members. The two future members will replace Gitte Ørskou and current vice-chair Peder Tuborgh. Both have been members of the Aarhus University board for two terms, and are not eligible for a third term. 

American expert impressed by AU retention initiatives

American educational sociologist Vincent Tinto is impressed with the initiatives implemented by the degree programmes at Aarhus University with a view to reducing dropout rates. Tinto was the keynote speaker at the “Why don’t they stay?” conference held in the Main Hall last week. Pro-rector Berit Eika welcomed attendees and pointed out that many different factors can contribute to students’ decisions to drop out of a degree programme, and while a number of them are outside the power of educational institutions, the university must still try to improve. This is why intensifying efforts to retain students is a top priority for the Education Committee.

Aarhus University, like other universities, faces a clear challenge when it comes to retaining students, and the conference focused on specific initiatives to reduce dropout rates. For example, the Student Council held a workshop, and there was a poster session where a number of the university’s academic environments presented specific projects relating to retention of students. 

Public award for Aarhus Case Competition in the race for volunteers

Last week saw a close race when the Aarhus Case Competition won with more than 1,000 “think-about” declarations, hence winning the DKK 15,000 public award in the #AUfrivillig [#AUvoluntary] competition, which AU has been running in recent months, aimed at students’ associations. As Aarhus has been named Volunteering Capital, Pro-rector Berit Eika would like to raise awareness of the hard work done by the associations, and the voluntary associations were able to submit presentation videos of no more than 1 minute to the #AUfrivillig competition. 

Eleven fun, informative and engaging videosfrom various associations have been received by all four faculties. These were posted on the university’s Facebook page in October, and users had 24 hours in which to vote for their favourites. 

The public award, along with the judges’ special award, is being presented at the Ambulatory at 4pm on Tuesday, 6 November.

The Learning Questionnaire is here

4,000 AU students have a special opportunity over the coming month to assist with the development of their education. They have been invited to take part in what is known as the Learning Questionnaire – a nationwide survey from the Ministry of Higher Education and Science.

The Ministry has recently sent out the Learning Questionnaire to all students at Scandinavian Language and Literature, the Study of Religion, Economics, Law, Biology, Mechanical Engineering (diploma) and the Master’s degree programme in Health Science. Additionally, 1,500 randomly selected students from AU’s other degree programmes have also received the questionnaire. The survey contains questions about how the students experience the teaching, the collaboration between students and members of teaching staff, the daily life at the degree programme, the student’s own learning style and the teaching environment.  

This is the first time the Learning Questionnaire will be carried out. The survey is part of the upcoming subsidy system where 1.25 per cent of the funding for 2022 will be distributed based on the students’ responses.

New digital degree programme overview for students

A new degree programme timeline at will assist students in the planning of their studies. With the degree programme timeline, students can see which courses they have completed, which courses and exams they are registered for, and any courses they may have postponed.  

This project arose out of a desire to help students to navigate their way through the demands of Study Progress Reform 2, but it is also an important element in the objective to digitise education pursuant to AU’s digitisation strategy.In particular, there are links with the objectives regarding development of full digital support of all work processes for students and staff in the study area, as well as establishment of more coherent and targeted communication with students. 

The study timeline is a further development of the personalised study portal, which gives each student a comprehensive overview of “day-to-day” activities and their overall studies. 

Aarhus University new partner in major European food sector innovation network

Aarhus University is now a new partner in the European EIT Food Consortium. The University is an interesting partner for EIT Food thanks to its strong position in all elements of the value chain with regard to food. Academic environments at AU, such as the National Centre for Agriculture and Food, the Department of Food Science and the MAPP Centre, are very much looking forward to working with the members of the consortium. Klaus Grunert, director of MAPP, has been the prime driving force behind efforts to include AU in EIT Food. 

The EIT Food Consortium consists of more than 50 partners from 13 European countries, including leading international food companies, research centres and universities.

Three educational projects to receive funding from the Foundation for Entrepreneurship

Three entrepreneurship projects at Aarhus University are some of the projects selected to receive funds from the Foundation for Entrepreneurship in its latest round of awards.

This involves two Arts projects and a Science and Technology project, which are aiming in different ways to improve conditions for entrepreneurship in education.

Bioscience aims to integrate entrepreneurship more closely with academic skills in study programmes, while Digital Design and Information Studies will be developing a course that will provide academic support to students who choose to complete internships within companies of their own. The third project has been developed by the Centre for Teaching Development and Digital Media (CUDIM) in cooperation with Studentervæksthus Aarhus. There is a desire here to explore different ways of combining entrepreneurship with sustainability in order to see whether this could interest new groups of students in starting their own businesses.

Entrepreneurship is just one of the fields that Aarhus University wants to strengthen in years to come. Plans are afoot to establish a central entrepreneurial hub on the old municipal hospital site in University City; and most recently, the university’s business committee has launched a major initiative to reinforce entrepreneurial culture and create an attractive environment for the university’s many entrepreneurs.

Educational research: focus on mathematics in new PhD projects 

Last week the PhD Council for Educational Research awarded DKK 29 million to twelve new projects with a view to reinforcing primary and lower secondary education and teacher training, and PhD students from Aarhus University are responsible for four of them. They will focus in particular on supporting the work of teachers and enhancing primary school pupils’ learning outcomes from mathematics lessons.

All funded projects are taking place in cooperation between universities and university colleges in order to strengthen networks and cooperation in the sector. This is the eighth time the PhD Council for Educational Research has awarded funding.

Outsourcing requires thorough preparation and a fair process

To provide the university with a solid process for evaluating the pros and cons of outsourcing, AU has developed a strategy for the competitive tendering of business operations. At appropriate intervals, technical and administrative business operations at the university must be evaluated, and their market valuation assessed. One aspect of the strategy is that affected employees must be treated with respect and consideration.

“The university has adopted a new strategy for competitive tendering of operations with a view to ensuring an even more strategic approach to outsourcing at AU, and ensuring that the staff affected by possible future outsourcing measures are listened to and included in the process.” This was one of the things written by University Director Arnold Boon in his blog about competitive tendering/outsourcing.

Important to follow guidelines for emails containing personal data 

Last week University Director Arnold Boon sent out guidelines for employees by email on how to deal with emails containing personal data.

Emails containing further information were sent to all employees last week, and information can also be found here 

Dean’s Challenge projects devise ideas on how to reach world development targets

On Friday, 26 October, Dean Niels Chr. Nielsen at Science and Technology was able to name the winner of student association Nova’s case competition for the fourth time. The winning project came up with a convincing idea to use the extra space in the towers of wind turbines to produce clean drinking water. Students had just under a month to develop innovative solutions for three different cases aiming to help achieve three of the Global Development Goals.

New management at the Department of Clinical Medicine 

On 1 December, three new deputy heads of department for education, research and talent will start at the Department of Clinical Medicine. 


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