In the coming years, Aarhus University will be able sustain its strategic initiatives by drawn on equity. And so it was with satisfaction that the board approved the university’s 2019-2022 budget on 13 December. Aarhus University’s equity currently amounts to 13.5 percent of its revenue, and it will be reduced over the next few years to approx. 10 percent of revenue, which is the University’s target for equity.
The final discussion of the plans for Campus 2.0 will take place at the board meeting on 21 February. This has been decided by the board, which supports the wish of the Rector’s Office to postpone the decision, in order to give the university plenty of time to calculate the expected future building costs. As this is a significant expansion of the University, the Rector’s Office wants time to prepare an even more solid and well-founded basis for the decision.
At the meeting, the board also discussed the many submissions from students and employees to the completed consultation process for the master plan, which has been in internal consultation at AU since the summer. Rector Brian Bech Nielsen stresses that there has been a lot of constructive and informed input – and that there has been great interest and support from students and employees generally.
At its recent meeting on 13 December, AU Board chair Connie Hedegaard informed the board that the appointment committee had unanimously voted in two new external board members: Caroline Søeborg Ahlefeldt, who is best known for her work within IT innovation and global entrepreneurship, and Jørgen Carlsen, who was principal of Testrup Folk High School for 30 years and is also known and respected as a cultural commentator.
The two new members will replace Peder Tuborgh, CEO of Arla Foods, who has been vice-chair of AU’s board, and Gitte Ørskou, curator of the KUNSTEN Museum of Modern Art Aalborg. Both have been external members of the board of the university since 2010 and have been involved in the major structural changes that the University has undergone from 2011 until today. Connie Hedegaard thanked them for their commitment, their great efforts to strengthen Aarhus University, and not least for their loyal support to the University when it really mattered.
This was the last board meeting attended by the two students Line Dam Westengaard and Michael Faldborg. They also received thanks from the chair, who highlighted the students’ enthusiasm and commitment to their involvement in the work of the board. She also praised the student body for electing able and committed student representatives year after year, who made an important mark on the board’s discussions and decisions.
Caroline Søeborg Ahlefeldt and Jørgen Carlsen will join the board on 1 February 2019 together with two new student representatives, Ditte Marie Thomsen and Karoline Poulsen.
As part of Aarhus University’s digitisation initiative, new funds have been earmarked for Educational IT (EDU-IT), which teaching staff at Aarhus University can apply for until 11 February. The funds are intended for projects on the use of digital learning technologies in teaching in 2019. The main purpose of the funding is to enable lecturers to rethink their teaching practice – and experiment with the use of different digital learning technologies in their own classes.
“We have seen some really good examples of how this type of funding has helped launch exciting projects that have raised the bar for digital learning technologies at AU. So I’m very much looking forward to finding the projects we will be supporting in 2019,” says pro-rector Berit Eika.
In the recently adopted budget, funding has been earmarked for a multi-year project that will enable eight Danish universities and the Ministry of Higher Education and Science to jointly choose a new studies administration system. This is because the universities’ current system, STADS, is technologically obsolete.
Staff and students at Aarhus University will be involved in the process.
A newly opened research centre at Aarhus University will investigate how modern life affects our health and sickness by bringing together expertise from three out of four faculties. The new centre is called BERTHA, and was officially opened on Monday 10 December in Roskilde.
The research centre will take the first steps towards answering some very serious questions: What is the relationship between our way of life, environment and activities on the one hand, and our health and quality of life on the other? Can we change our behaviour and thereby reduce illness and improve our quality of life?
The Big Data Centre for Environment and Health has been founded with a grant of DKK 60 million from the Novo Nordisk Fund, and will be coordinated by Professor Clive Sabel from the Department of Environmental Science at Aarhus University. He is an environmental geographer specialising in the analysis of spatial data at the individual level.
On Monday 10 December, AU researchers from rethinkIMPACTS 2017 published their research-based evaluation of Aarhus as European Capital of Culture. This took place at a conference attended by the Danish Minister for Culture Mette Bock, the Mayor of Aarhus Jacob Bundsgaard and a large number of representatives from the cultural and the business communities from all over Central Denmark Region.
RethinkIMPACTS 2017 is a strategic partnership between Aarhus University and Aarhus Municipality, and the study is the largest of its kind in Denmark. Among other things, the evaluation shows that Aarhus 2017 created and strengthened a large number of partnerships. Culture has come to play a more central role, especially on the political front. Although public consumption of culture was unchanged in 2017, people are still keen to welcome visitors to the city and the region after the year as Capital of Culture.
Aarhus University Hospital was yesterday named Denmark’s best hospital in the “University hospitals” category for the 11th year in a row. The newspaper Dagens Medicin made the award on the basis of a number of analyses of national data on the quality of care in the country’s major hospitals. Their assessment also included data from the National Danish Survey of Patient Experiences (LUP). Aarhus University Hospital came top in both quality of care and patient satisfaction.
Lise Wogensen Bach has been re-appointed as vice-dean for talent development and external relations at the Faculty of Health. The appointment is for a six-year period. Lise Wogensen Bach will focus particularly on strengthening career development for promising young people and on promoting international collaboration within Health. She will also continue our efforts to make PhD programmes even better and work to ensure that the PhD students can contribute even more to the development of the healthcare system in the future.
International students benefit Danish society. This is the background to the new partnership that Universities Denmark has entered into with the Confederation of Danish Industry, the Danish Chamber of Commerce and the National Union of Students in Denmark. They have therefore set themselves the goal of helping more people to gain a foothold in the Danish employment market.
The partnership will devise new ideas for how Denmark can retain more talented international students after graduation. This could be by identifying best practice, but also by focusing on legal barriers.
The parties will meet with the Minister for Higher Education and Science Tommy Ahlers in early 2019 and also plan to present specific recommendations to Denmark’s Political Festival on Bornholm in May.
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