Happy New Year!
Most of us have returned to our daily routines after the summer holidays now, and I hope that all of you have enjoyed your time off. You may find it a bit odd that I’m wishing you a happy New Year in the middle of a late summer heatwave. But in many ways, this is a new year we’re embarking on together, with new students, a new annual planning cycle and new initiatives. It’s an exciting time when the tasks and projects that have been waiting for you on the other side of the summer holiday finally begin to take form.
One important task will be defining what splitting up ST will mean for the administration. First and foremost at ST, of course, but also in relation to other parts of the administration at AU. The faculty will now set up analysis groups for the various administrative functions whose job will be to recommend how administrative support for the two coming faculties should be organised. I’m looking forward to this process, which will focus on reliable operations and preparing the transition to the new organisation.
We also need to take the implementation of the digitalisation strategy further. I’m conscious of the fact that I have a role to play in defining the meaning of what this transformation will mean more concretely. This is one of my personal tasks I’m looking forward to getting to work on this autumn. The organisation will be seeing a number of new initiatives, including a new timetabling system for the degree programmes. In this regard, there is a close collaboration between the administration and the degree programmes on developing a more uniform way of planning courses and exams at AU that has the best possible support from a modern IT system.
We have to ensure that we are building for the needs of the future –and not just for the here and now. Literally. In several areas, we will be carrying out analyses in order to clarify our needs in relation to what physical facilities should be in place when AU moves into the University City (the former municipal hospital property on Nørrebrogade). To take one example, Aarhus BSS has just completed an excellent analysis, and other faculties are also making good progress on theirs. It’s beginning to be more concrete, and although we haven’t gotten to deciding where the electrical outlets will be yet, we’re well on the way to clarifying our needs and expectations.
Finally, we have a big job in front of us: drafting a sustainability strategy for AU. The strategy will chart a course for what AU as an institution can do to reduce our climate footprint. Some of the steps we can take include reducing the energy consumption in our buildings, choosing more climate-friendly forms of transportation, making ‘green’ procurement decisions, and doing an even better job of sorting our waste. We are also going to develop a carbon balance sheet for AU so that we can monitor our progress in reducing the university’s carbon emissions.
So we have plenty to look forward to in the New (academic) Year. Not least, I encourage you to remember that Aarhus University is also in the process of welcoming 7,139 new Bachelor’s students right now, all of whom are enjoying introduction week and getting a good start on their new lives as university students. The administration also plays an important role in making sure the students get off to a good start. I’d like to wish each and every one of the new students the best of luck. Welcome to Aarhus University! We are looking forward to helping you get the best out of your time here.
Happy New Year here at AU, everyone!