News from the senior management team no. 10/2014

The rector visits departments and administrative divisions

The rector’s round of visits to the university's departments and administrative divisions has begun to take shape.

Brian Bech Nielsen toured the university and talked to staff in the various departments and in AU Administration before he took up his position, and has decided on another round of visits as rector.


Students and staff comment on study progress reform

The comprehensive study progress reform entails many challenges for both students and employees. In order to ensure a thorough process, Aarhus University has chosen to divide the work into several phases, so that all themes do not have to be reviewed at once.

The main academic areas (including the boards of studies), the student organisations, and the AU Forum for Education have initially had two topics for comment.

1) It has been suggested that the boards of studies should be able to delegate decisions to AU Administration in cases where the boards have a fixed procedure. This is because the requirements for automatic registration for exams are expected to lead to a large increase in exemption cases. To relieve the study boards' workload, it is therefore being proposed that they must be able to transfer cases to AU Studies Administration.

2) The reform's stricter requirements for the students may also mean that fewer will choose to study abroad or do internships. These bodies were therefore also asked to assess whether mobility windows should be introduced into on all study programmes, and whether there are also barriers in the academic regulations which make it more difficult for students to acquire credits for study abroad periods and internships.

All the comments will now be gathered by the Education Committee, before the senior management team makes a decision in April.


Joint WPA action plan supplements local follow-up 

The Main Occupational Health and Safety Committee and the Main Liaison Committee have approved a joint psychological workplace assessment (WPA) action plan for the university.

The plan concerns the initiatives which are designed to improve the psychological work environment for AU at organisational and management level. It is a supplement to the local follow-up work on the psychological WPA.

The action plan has been prepared by a WPA advisory group after input from all the main academic areas. The Main Occupational Health and Safety Committee and the Main Liaison Committee will meet once a year to discuss progress on the action plan.


Fewer quota 2 applicants

Four per cent fewer applicants than in 2013 have placed Aarhus University at the top of their quota 2 application.

In total, 4,269 applicants had AU as their first priority, 163 fewer than last year. All in all, three of the four main academic areas have received fewer first priority applications, while Health has received more.

Several of the traditionally most popular study programmes, such as medicine, law and anthropology, have received fewer applications than in 2013, while psychology and sport, for example, have received more.


Co-determination and involvement survey

The Ministry of Higher Education and Science is behind a comprehensive questionnaire survey of co-determination and involvement at Danish universities. The survey is a follow-up to the amendment of the University Act in 2011, which made the university boards responsible for ensuring that the employees and students were able to have a say in the most important decisions. 

Universities Denmark, the Danish Confederation of Professional Associations (Akademikerne) and the National Union of Students in Denmark (DSF) are participating together with the Danish Agency for Higher Education in a technical working group in connection with the work on co-determination and involvement.

The Ministry launched the survey early last week.


Danish Innovation Fund board now appointed

Last week, Danish Minister for Higher Education and Science Sofie Carsten Jensen appointed the nine members of the Board who will head the Danish Innovation Fund from 1 April.

Director of the School of Engineering Conni Simonsen and Professor Flemming Besenbacher have been appointed as members of the Board of the Danish Innovation Fund.

Until 31 December, the Chairman of the Board will be Jørgen Mads Clausen, who, as Chairman of the Danish National Advanced Technology Foundation, is involved in a transitional period to ensure continuity. For this same reason, Conni Simonsen is stepping down at New Year as she has been appointed in her capacity as Chairman of the Council for Technology and Innovation. The same applies for the Chairman of the Danish Council for Strategic Research Council, Peter Olesen.

Jens Maaløe, CEO of Terma, will take over the chairmanship as of 1 January 2015.


Danish researchers most highly cited in Scandinavia

A new survey of Nordic universities in the 2000-2012 period shows that researchers from Danish universities are the most frequently cited in the Nordic countries.

Among Danish universities, the citation rate is highest among researchers from DTU, Technical University of Denmark, while researchers from Aarhus University are the second most-cited. Measured solely according to the institutions' share of top 10% most cited articles, Aarhus University is also in second place after DTU.


Calendar

  • 22 April: Senior management team's monthly meeting at the Department of Physics and Astronomy
  • 24-26 April: Festival of Research
  • 30 April: Meeting of the University Board
  • 7-8 May: Management seminar
  • 9 May: The annual regatta

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 info.au.dk/medarbbreve, 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 Team, please go to info.au.dk/medarbbreve/index.asp. The English version of News from the Senior Management Team is available at http://www.au.dk/en/about/uni/seniormanagement/newsletter/. You can read previous editions of News from the Senior Management Team at www.au.dk/en/about/uni/seniormanagement/newsletter/2014.