News from the senior management team no. 21/2014

Status of internal problem analysis and open meeting in August

Tuesday 1 July is the last opportunity to submit comments to the senior management team via All comments or suggestions for changes sent to this email address will be read by the senior management team, which will then consider them as part of its work to present proposals for improvements. Other input takes the form of all the analysis material from the expert group, the comments on the report from the analysis panel as well as other input which the senior management team has gathered this spring – for example from the monthly meetings which have been held at the university departments, or from the rector's visits to the departments. 

The senior management team's proposals for improvements will be presented at a new open meeting in Stakladen on Friday 15 August at 10-12. After the presentation, there will be a Q&A session. If you are unable to participate in person at the Stakladen meeting, it can be followed live online via livestream.

The senior management team would like to thank employees for all their hard work in connection with the internal problem analysis and, not least, the daily running of Aarhus University this spring, and would like to take this opportunity to wish everyone a good summer.

Job of university director to be readvertised

The University Board and the rector have decided to readvertise the position of university director at Aarhus University after the summer holidays in order to explore the market for more qualified applicants.

At the same time, the rector has decided to take on the job of university director in close cooperation with the deputy directors until a new university director has been appointed. The decision must be seen in the context of the internal problem analysis and the consultation phase which have now been implemented at the university, and which will continue after the summer holiday.

The current university director, Jørgen Jørgensen, is resigning after the summer holidays, but will make himself available to the senior management team until a new university director is in place.

DKK 8 million for internal research networks

Up until 29 August, AU's researchers can apply for funding for internal interdisciplinary research networks. The funds can be used to establish new networks or support existing networks.

The senior management team has allocated a total sum of DKK 8 million for developing networks between now and 2017 which can strengthen researchers' possibilities for competing for external grants which prioritise interdisciplinary research collaboration.

Each network can apply for up to DKK 200,000 a year up until 2017. The application deadline for this round is 29 August at 12 noon. It will be possible to apply for funding again in 2015.

New goals announced for development contract

The Minister for Higher Education and Science, Sofie Carsten Nielsen, has just announced the mandatory goals for the new development contract which takes effect on 1 January 2015.

They include: 

  • High-quality degree programmes
  • Greater relevance and increased transparency
  • Better coherence and cooperation
  • Increased internationalisation
  • Increased social mobility – more talents in action.

The goals must result in specific measuring points or indicators, but the department's own challenges, strategy and context serve as the starting point. Originally, the deadline for submitting the first draft for the development contract was 23 September 2014. The ministry subsequently announced that it will consider whether the deadline can be postponed 3-4 weeks. Once the final date is known, the university will decide on a process which provides the most possible scope for involvement.

No rush to register for annual celebration

This year, lots will be drawn among staff for seats at Concert Hall Aarhus instead of the previous arrangement whereby seats were allocated on a first-come, first-served basis. Previously, it was necessary to register within the first few minutes of registration opening to have a chance of attending. However, this has now been changed so that lots will be drawn from all the registrations which are received between 11 to 22 August, which means there is no rush to register for the event.

Lots for the draw are allocated according to the number of employees in the four main academic areas and AU Administration, so that everyone has an equal chance of getting a place. There will be space this year for all participating employees and external guests in the Great Hall at Concert Hall Aarhus.

All employees will receive an email invitation on 11 August.

Considerable interest in research at ESOF

Researchers at Aarhus University participated last week in the academic event ESOF, which brought together more than 4,000 researchers, decision-makers, students and journalists in Copenhagen. Several researchers disseminated their work to the general public in connection with Science in the City, a sister event to ESOF. Science in the City attracted families with children, school classes and people of all ages interested in scientific research.

In connection with ESOF2014, EuroScience held its general assembly. Here, Lauritz B. Holm-Nielsen was re-elected to the organisation's board and will continue as President of EuroScience. 

Study programmes to report hours

Next semester, 34 of Aarhus University's degree programmes must report how many teaching and supervision hours are offered to students

as part of a pilot project launched by the Danish Ministry of Higher Education and Science. In the long term, the project must produce uniform data, which will make it possible for potential students to compare the number of hours across all higher education programmes.

A key aspect of the project involves defining what can be counted as teaching and supervision activities. The ministry is collaborating with the institutions of higher education, and last week issued proposed definitions (in Danish) which AU is now able to comment on until August 8.

The pilot project is also focusing on ensuring that the figures are not presented in isolation, but in the right context to reflect the academic differences between the degree programmes. Members of academic staff from AU's main academic areas are involved in this work through the deans or heads of studies administration.

All four main academic areas are represented among the 34 AU degree programmes which the ministry is currently proposing to involve in the pilot project. The researcher-covered teaching is also included in the data which the ministry wishes to report from the programmes in question.

Throughout Denmark, a total of 283 higher education programmes are involved in the model for the pilot project, which has been proposed by the ministry.

Aarhus University has set up a project site (in Danish), which will be expanded with more information in the near future.

Universities Denmark publishes economic key figures

Last week, Universities Denmark published key figures for economic activity at Danish universities.

Universities Denmark has compiled statistics of the universities' degree programmes and economic activity since 2004, and publishes them every year in February and June, respectively.


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