News from the Senior Management no. 9/12

Freedom of speech and problems with administrative systems

In relation to the current debates on issues such as freedom of speech and problems with the administrative systems at Aarhus University, the senior management team brought the Board up to date on the latest developments at the ordinary Board meeting last Wednesday.

The Board expressed its satisfaction with the briefing, making it clear that it was important to pursue the course which has been set in the academic development process. The Board also agreed with the senior management team that now is the time to make an extra effort to heed criticism and direct extra focus at the administrative problems.

The senior management team attaches considerable importance to visible management, and to administrative employees playing a more visible role in the main academic areas. At the same time, all employees and students are being urged to draw attention as quickly as possible to the problems they face on a daily basis so the university can take the necessary action.


Management to meet student wishes for more involvement

The senior management team is now taking the initiative to invite student and employee representatives to discuss how the university can strengthen its internal communication in future.

The step is being taken after Chairman of the Board Michael Christiansen and Rector Lauritz B. Holm-Nielsen received an open letter on 28 February from the three student organisations at Aarhus University: Frit Forum Århus, Studenterlauget and Studenterrådet (Student Council). In the letter, the three student organisations ask the university management to take up the issue of employee and student involvement, among other things by introducing an annual evaluation of student involvement and a more independent university newspaper.

It is very positive that the three organisations have contacted the senior management. The senior management team fully agrees that an open and critical discussion is important, and that this is a good opportunity to clarify what students need and how to intensify the internal dialogue. The senior management team will therefore very soon invite the student organisations and employee representatives to a general discussion on how to improve and develop internal dialogue at the university.

The senior management team has also for some time been considering how we can also improve dialogue at the university through the more extensive use of IT-based communication channels, where dialogue can take place quickly and very directly.

The senior management team also plans to discuss student involvement with the student organisations.

Towards a new development contract

At this week’s meeting, the Aarhus University Board approved the work with the development contract which has been conducted in recent weeks.

The consulting parties – the academic councils, the main liaison committee, the university-wide core activity forums and committees, the main academic areas as well as a number of student political organisations – made many excellent contributions in relation to measuring points as well as completely new targets. Several of the consulting parties’ contributions were incorporated in the first proposal which the Board received for consideration.

In the next phase, the targets and measuring points will be supplemented with specific target figures before the Aarhus University Board finally approves the proposal for the development contract at its next meeting on 25 April. The contract will then be negotiated between the university and the Danish Agency for Universities and Internationalisation.


Time-out for the A&B building project

The senior management team has decided to call time-out on the AU Arts & Business Building construction project at the intersection of Nordre Ringgade and Nørrebrogade. The Board agrees with the senior management team’s assessment that several important external factors must be finalised before the university can give the go-ahead for construction of the high-rise building.

It is vital to confirm the price of the A&B plot and to decide on the financing model for the building project in advance. Moreover, it has not yet been possible to clarify how the new buildings can tie in with the university’s wish to take over the land and buildings belonging to the former Aarhus Hospital (Århus Kommunehospital).

Aarhus University will need additional space within the near future, so an international architectural competition will be organised as soon as the framework conditions are finally decided.


Strengthened Danish-German collaboration

A new agreement creates new possibilities for collaboration between Danish and German universities. Among other things, the agreement provides a basis for financing joint conferences and workshops as well as exchange agreements for staff and students.

The collaboration was started by Aarhus University, the University of Southern Denmark and the University of Hamburg in 2011, but the University of Kiel has now joined the group.

The agreement runs until March 2014, and the universities are striving to distribute the funds between as many different academic areas as possible.


Danish Minister for Foreign Affairs Villy Søvndal presents new security policy concept at Aarhus University

On Thursday 15 March at 9.30-11.00, Danish Minister for Foreign Affairs Villy Søvndal is visiting Aarhus University.

Danish Minister for Foreign Affairs Villy Søvndal is presenting a new security policy for Denmark, after which Professor Georg Sørensen and Associate Professor Tonny Brems Knudsen (BSS) as the researcher panel will invite a debate on the concept. Themes such as the stabilisation of fragile states, Denmark’s military presence in Afghanistan and fighting piracy will be discussed.

The debate with Villy Søvndal will take place in the Main Hall on the Aarhus campus, and afterwards the university will host a reception in the Ambulatory. The the debate is in Danish.

The event is free, and everyone is welcome. However, you are advised to come early as the doors will be closed once the hall is full.


Young people address their future

This week and last weekthe Aarhus University campuses in Emdrup, Herning and Aarhus open their doors to young people who are considering a university education. The annual open day events give young people the chance to talk to supervisors and ask questions about the study programmes, speak with students and learn more about the academic content, teaching methods and the study environment.

In Aarhus, the open day event at the university is part of the ‘udays’, where all the city’s further education programmes join forces to show the possibilities that exist for studying in the city.

2,000 to participate at the DHL Relay Race again this year – or more?

From 27 February to 27 March, all employees can register for the DHL Relay Race in Aarhus, Odense or Copenhagen. This is the third successive year that Aarhus University is participating, with almost 2,000 runners and walkers on each occasion. This year, AU is participating in the walks in Odense on 16 August and Aarhus on 23 August, and in the run in Copenhagen on 30 August.

Everyone participating will receive a T-shirt for the race, and afterwards AU HR will serve chilli con carne, sausages and rolls and water.

Do ideas from the 1700s still hold water?

Together with the Danish University Extension, the university’s alumni magazine AUgustus is behind three events where researchers from Aarhus University debate key issues from the 1700s in a contemporary perspective.

The three themes are:

1. From Goethe to Google - stupidity and development in the Age of the Internet

2. Is God able to vote? - what is the role of religion in a modern society?

3. The battle for knowledge - when knowledge becomes a cultural conflict

The three debates will take place in Stakladen – attendance is free and everyone is welcome.

Aarhus University has also been involved in publishing a special piece of writing about the 1700s. It has been published in the run-up to the Festival of the Century and distributed to university employees.

The Festival of the Century takes place from 9-18 March.


  • 15 March: Debate meeting on foreign policy with Danish Minister for Foreign Affairs Villy Søvndal
  • 28-29 March: Management seminar
  • 2-3 April: Visit from the University of Helsinki
  • 18-20 April: EU 2012: Excellence conference
  • 19-21 April: Festival of Research
  • 25 April: Meeting of University Board
  • 3 May: Annual “boat” race event

Kind regards

The Senior Management Team

The Senior Management Team 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.

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