News from the Senior Management Group no. 21/2011

Status of preference clarification round: administrative staff members most affected by process have been offered new job responsibilities

All such staff members received an offer of a new position in the organisation last week, after the preference clarification task force had reviewed the prioritisation forms submitted by each employee. The prioritisation forms were matched to open positions, and all affected employees have either been contacted by their local former administration manager or their local HR manager.

The appointment process for a number of senior administrative positions is also drawing to a close. Last Thursday was the deadline for applications to the positions of vice-dean for research at health, head of the Department of Economics, and director of the Centre for Teaching Development and Digital Media. Last Friday was the deadline for applications to the positions of administration manager at Health and chief adviser at Arts.

Café meetings on new organisation at Arts

This week, Arts will hold café meetings at which all staff and students will have an opportunity to discuss the implementation of Tomorrow's AU at the faculty.

Discussion will centre on reports from four working groups which have submitted recommendations on centre taxonomy, research programmes, degree programme committees, and staff and student involvement in decision-making at the faculty. The meetings will take place from 14.00-16.00,  in Aarhus on 23 June, and  in Emdrup on 24 June.

The rector's summer speech

In this year's  summer speech, Rector Holm-Nielsen focused on the academic development process, the new study environment survey and the upcoming merger with the Aarhus School of Engineering (IHA). First, however, the rector chose to address a current media controversy on the role of university researchers in public political debate: 'Because there is some debate at the moment, I would like to emphasise that everyone at Aarhus University can say anything they want, and if they have the money for it, they can do research on anything they want. I'm saying this now, because apparently some Danish politicians don't believe that this freedom applies to all university researchers. But we stand by the principles of freedom.'

Debate on the state of the humanities in Denmark

In recent weeks, a debate on the status and function of the humanities has been taking place in major Danish newspapers. The debate was sparked by a critique of the academic level at the Department of Musicology at AU. This discussion has since widened to include all humanities disciplines. According to critics, humanities graduates from Danish universities possess such a superficial knowledge of core subjects that they have nothing to contribute to the Danish labour market. Dean Thunø has responded to critics in several media. For example, she has pointed out that over half of humanities graduates today find employment in the private sector, and employers are generally satisfied with graduates' academic level and professional competences.

  • Read the debate in Politiken søndag, 12 June (in Danish)

Broad coverage of study environment survey

Aarhus University's study environment survey has received widespread attention in the media. The primary focus has been on the fact that the quality of academics is the most important factor contributing to students' satisfaction with their degree programme.

The researchers responsible for the survey are Torben K. Jensen, director of the Centre for Learning and Education,  and Kim Jesper Hartmann, doctoral student at the centre. On Tuesday 14 June, they presented an analysis of the report: 'How to keep students engaged'.

There has also been a good deal of focus on the average amount of time students spend on their studies. There is a great deal of variation across study programmes. The senior management group intends to take measures to encourage students who ought to spend more time on their students to do so, either by participating in more classroom hours or activities outside of lectures.

The study environment study is a useful tool for improving AU's study environment, and the senior management group assigns this area high priority.

  • Read more (in Danish)


  • 20 June: Meeting with VIA University College
  • 21-22 June: SDC strategy seminar and SDC board meeting at Sandbjerg Manor
  • 23 June: Main Liaison Committee meeting
  • 23 August: Meeting of the University Board


Kind regards


The Senior Management Group

The Senior Management Group publishes a newsletter every week. This newsletter includes a brief description of current activities and discussions. You can sign up for the Danish version of the newsletter at, after which you will receive an e-mail whenever the newsletter is issued.

If you would like to subscribe to the English version of News from the Senior Management Group, please go to The English version of News from the Senior Management Group is available at You can read previous editions of News from the Senior Management Group at