News from the senior management team no. 5/2020

We can finally say goodbye to the degree programme cap 

This week, the degree programme cap was officially laid to rest when, as expected, a majority of the Danish Parliament decided to remove the cap that, since 2016, has restricted students' choice of degree programme. The decision comes into force with effect for all those applying for a higher education programme this year. 

Pro-rector Berit Eika is pleased that we can finally say farewell to the degree programme cap.

"The cap has helped exacerbate young people's fears of making the wrong choices. Constantly wondering whether you have ended up in the right place can ultimately impact both social and academic wellbeing," says the pro-rector, and she is pleased that termination of the cap will apply as soon as quota 2, with deadline on 15 March.

The degree programme cap was introduced in 2016 and it meant that it was no longer possible to take a second degree programme, at the same or lower level, paid by the state. As a result of fierce criticism, in 2017 a change was introduced such that the rule only applies for six years after graduation.

Board chair welcomes four new faces

The Board held its first meeting of the year on 20 February. The meeting also marked the debut for the four new members elected at the university elections in November last year. 

Chair of the Board Connie Hedegaard bid a warm welcome to Anne Skorkjær Binderkrantz, professor at the Department of Political Science, Peter Balling, professor with special assignments at the Department of Physics and Astronomy, Uffe Pilegård Larsen, buildings manager at the Department of Agroecology, and Hanna-Louise Schou Nielsen, seventh semester student and a member of the Student Council. 

Board recognises quality work on degree programmes

The year's education report has now been published, and the quality-assurance and development initiative for degree programmes at Aarhus University has been recognised by the Board, who reviewed the report at their meeting.

The report from the Education Committee describes the programme quality-assurance processes for the year, and these have included evaluations of 26 degree programmes and yearly status reviews of 204 programmes.

The education report also summarises central initiatives on the basis of the quality-assurance policy in the areas such as ‘recruitment and commencement of studies’, ‘development of degree programmes, teaching and the learning environment’, and ‘programme relations to the labour market’.

The upper secondary school strategy is one of the priority initiatives in the action plan in 2019. Overall, AU also considers internationalisation of degree programmes as an important quality criterion. The report also stresses that resizing admissions to English-language degree programmes in 2019 has been a particular challenge for internationalisation, and the faculties have made a major effort to promote this in other ways. For example, Arts has implemented new English-language internationalisation elective courses. Health has extended its English-language range of courses at AU Summer University, and the former ST has two new degree programmes in an international set-up under Erasmus Mundus and the Sino-Danish Center, respectively.

The education report also describes how, in 2020, there was special focus on students' voluntary work, development of the range of interdisciplinary courses, further development of learning technologies, and development of commencement of studies and first-year didactics, with a view to increased academic and social integration.

New recruitment campaign at AU to help better matching of expectations

The Education Committee welcomes AU's new recruitment campaign as part of efforts to enhance recruitment and ensure a good match between students and their choice of degree programme. The campaign describes the joys and the tribulations of student life, and it is intended to provide potential applicants with a more nuanced view of the academic and social ups and downs.  

New head of the Department of Agroecology

From 1 March 2020, Jørgen E. Olesen will officially take over as the department head at the Department of Agroecology. He has been the acting head of department since September 2019.

Two new chairmen of academic councils

Several of the academic councils at AU have held their initial meetings after the university elections in 2019.

  • At Health, Professor Tine Brink Henriksen has been appointed as the chair of the Academic Council. She replaces Professor Helle Prætorius Øhrwald, who has held the post since 2016.
  • The Academic Council at Arts has elected Associate Professor Niels Nørkjær Johannsen as the chair. He takes over from Associate Professor Merete Wiberg. Read the news story from Arts (in Danish).

In Aarhus BSS, Associate Professor Osman Skjold Kingo was re-elected as the chair.

Due to the faculty division, Natural Sciences and Technical Sciences have postponed the election of employee representatives to their academic councils. Elections will take place in autumn 2020, and until then, the Academic Council of Science and Technology will continue with Professor Marit-Solveig Seidenkrantz as the chair.

The senior management team would like to congratulate the newly elected chairs, and thank the resigning chairs for their great efforts and good collaboration over the years.

Congratulations to AUH for the 12th successive year 

Aarhus University Hospital has been lauded as Denmark’s best hospital in the ‘university hospitals’ category for the 12th consecutive year. According to the press release from AUH, the hospital has won for a combination of academic excellence at the highest level and strong collaboration across professional groups. 

The award is based on an analysis by the journal Dagens Medicin of all available national data on the quality of treatment provided by hospitals in Denmark. Their assessment also included data from the National Danish Survey of Patient Experiences (LUP).  

Sys Christina Vestergaard is the new head of press and communications

This week, a unanimous appointment committee appointed Sys Christina Vestergaard as the head of press and communications for Aarhus University, following a public call for applications. Sys Christina Vestergaard has been the acting head of press and communications since August 2019.

Meet AU researchers at the Festival of the Century for the years 1989-2020

The fall of the Berlin Wall. The internet. 9/11. The Arab Spring, War, Brexit, Trump, Harry Potter and Greta Thunberg. The Festival of the Century will soon be open, and this year, for the first time ever, it will be about our own times. About a period we all remember, as if it were yesterday – or do we? A large number of AU researchers will be part of the 123 events taking place from 28 February to 8 March. The Danish University Extension is behind the festival.