News from the Senior Management Team no. 34/2012

AU opens new Arctic research centre

The official inauguration of Aarhus University’s new Arctic Research Centre (ARC) took place last week.

ARC will bring together up to 100 researchers and students from both the natural and health sciences to focus on the biological, geological and human consequences of global climate change in the Arctic.

In connection with establishing the centre, Aarhus University recently started collaborating closely with the University of Manitoba in Canada and The Greenland Institute of Natural Resources in Nuuk, which will strengthen international collaboration on the Arctic, create logistical advantages and develop new study programmes centred on Arctic issues.

ARC is one of five new interdisciplinary research centres launched by Aarhus University as part of its increased focus on strengthening interdisciplinary research.

Successful birthday

It was a wonderful occasion when Aarhus University marked its 84th anniversary with the traditional annual celebration. In the presence of HM Queen Margrethe,  Danish Minister for Science, Innovation and Higher Education Morten Østergaard, and t Danish Minister for European Affairs Nicolai Wammen, a range of honorary awards and scholarships were presented in the Main Hall, while the students braved the rain and held the Sports Day and Friday bar in the University Park.

At the evening event in Concert Hall Aarhus, artists such as Ida Corr, Anders Blichfeldt and Bobo Moreno entertained the audience under the expert direction of the actor Niels Olsen and conductors Peter Vuust and Per Christian Frost.

University Board discusses new strategy

Last week, the Aarhus University Board held its annual seminar day, at which the Board discussed the main outline of the university’s future strategy.

There was general agreement to focus on and intensify the university's current strategy and maintain the direction of the academic development process.

Moreover, the Board decided that the forthcoming strategy period should be extended to 2020 to strengthen the strategy's long-term perspective.

The senior management team will broaden the debate about Aarhus University's strategy to include AU staff through a consultation process to take place later in the year.

New rector to be appointed

At its recent meeting, the University Board initiated the process of appointing a new rector for Aarhus University.

The Board took the initiative to establish an appointment committee and an advisory group according to the rules for appointing rectors.

At the same time, a timetable was decided on to ensure that a new rector can be announced sufficiently well in advance of Rector Lauritz B. Holm-Nielsen’s stepping down in August 2013 after eight years in the position.

Digital exams sent out to tender

The 2½-year pilot project on the transition to digital submission and marking of written exam papers has just ended. Aarhus University has built up extensive and conclusive know-how in relation to coordinating and handling digital exams.  These experiences will now be gathered in a report and communicated to the entire university sector in Denmark.

A call for tenders will now be initiated in collaboration with the rest of the university sector to find a system to ensure that, during 2013, the universities are able to live up to the national digitisation strategy.

The work of drawing up a requirements specification for the future system will involve teaching and exam staff as well as representatives of the students, academic staff and external examiners.

Summer University gearing up for growth

AU Summer University is flourishing, and has become a popular choice for foreign students in particular who want to spend their summer vacation supplementing their education.

This year, more than 1,200 students and more than 30 international guest teachers participated in 62 courses within all four main academic areas. It is Aarhus University’s ambition that more Danish students will spend their summer earning ECTS points.

To date, AU Summer University has received 192 applications from international guests teachers for courses in 2013, and the growth looks set to continue. However, this growth must be supported by a stronger academic and administrative organisation behind the summer university.

A working group has therefore been appointed, which is primarily working towards a strengthened organisation of next year's summer university and, among other things, looking at the possibilities for setting up interdisciplinary courses. The group will also lay the foundation stones for far longer term development work under the auspices of the interdisciplinary education committee.

Qualified external input

The management at Health received important input for the forthcoming work to implement the new strategy when the main academic area's advisory board met for the first time on 13-14 September.

The agenda included the new strategy. The experts on Health's advisory board acknowledged the high level of ambition as being realistic, and advised that the strategy be exemplified and made far more concrete once the work to realise the ambitions starts.

Each main academic area obtains advice on the area's development and strategy from an advisory board made up of outside members. They represent the target group for the main academic area's research, education and knowledge dissemination as well as the research and educational world. An advisory board must include a significant proportion of members who have received their degrees from other institutions of higher learning and who have an international perspective on research, education and knowledge dissemination.

The Advisory Board for School of Business and Social Sciences met for the first time in spring 2012, while the boards are in the process of being formed at Arts and Science and Technology.


  • 24 September: Polar Research Day
  • 26 September: Meeting between the Minister for Science, Innovation and Higher Education Morten Østergaard, and the the National Union of Students in Denmark.
  • 31 October: University Board meeting


Kind regards,

 The Senior Management Team

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