News from the senior management team no. 6/2016

AU researcher receives Elite Research Prize

One elite researcher and five research talents from Aarhus University were among the recipients of this year’s Elite Research prizes and travel grants which were awarded at a ceremony at the Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek in Copenhagen.

Associate Professor Liv Hornekær from the Department of Physics and Astronomy was awarded an Elite Research Prize for her work, while Alexander Holm Kiilerich (Department of Physics and Astronomy), Jean-Pierre Desforges and Rasmus Østergaard Pedersen (both from the Department of Bioscience), Marie Kirk (Department of Psychology and Behavioural Sciences) and Sigrun Schmidt (Department of Clinical Medicine) all received Elite Research travel grants.

Elite Research prizes are awarded every year to highlight elite research in Denmark and the important work being done by Danish researchers in the service of science.


University director answers questions from staff and students

University finances, the work environment and the administration’s role in the organisation are some of the topics covered by the questions which staff and students submitted to  University Director Arnold Boon.

At the end of January, Arnold Boon invited staff and students at the university to ask him questions about issues such as the work of the administrative areas and his views on the various challenges facing the organisation. Many people seized this opportunity, and the university director has now answered all the questions, either in a video or in writing. 


Psychological WPA questionnaire to be sent out in week 9

In the week commencing 29 February, all AU staff will receive an email with a link to the psychological WPA 2016 questionnaire survey. The questionnaire contains a series of general questions for AU staff as well as five to eight questions about more local issues.

The WPA will map employee well-being at AU and show where the work environment can be improved through AU-wide and local initiatives. 

The Main Occupational Health and Safety Committee (HAMU) and the Main Liaison Committee (HSU) have been involved in designing the survey, and this year have placed particular focus on further local follow-up through dialogues with staff.

The survey, which is anonymous, runs from 29 February until 18 March. The WPA reports will be published in week 20.


Joint system for teaching evaluations at AU

A joint digital system for teaching evaluations is ready to be rolled out at Aarhus University.

The system will ensure that student feedback is put to the best possible use in connection with the boards of studies’ efforts to develop the quality of the degree programmes. 

The evaluation system, which is integrated with Blackboard, must meet the external requirements with regard to documenting the university’s evaluation work as well as meeting the academic needs and wishes which have been identified by the preliminary work.

The digital evaluation system will be implemented as and when the individual faculties and courses are ready. 


Five initiatives to improve AU’s web solutions

Students need easier access to important degree programme-related information, while staff need new tools for file sharing and setting up project rooms with both internal and external partners.

These are two of the tasks which a number of working groups have identified as being key to improving the experience of the AU website by staff and students.

The working groups were asked to look at some of the communicative challenges identified by the problem analysis. Based on interviews and workshops with staff and students, the groups have compiled extensive data on user-specific challenges and needs.

According to the groups, Aarhus University should not invest in a password-protected intranet. A classic intranet is a big investment and would soon lose ground given the pace of technological development. Initially, the project has therefore focused on finding the tools needed to share files and know-how, and set up project spaces which can support cooperation between colleagues at the university and with external parties.

In the problem analysis, the search function at au.dk was the subject of considerable criticism, and this issue will now be addressed. Moving forward, the project work will include a new design template for the university’s external website, and more flexible profile websites for employees.


Calendar

  • 3–4 March: Seminar for the Academic Council at Sandbjerg Estate, which will also be attended by the senior management team
  • 14 March: Board of Studies Conference 2016
  • 26 April: Board meeting
  • 28–29 April: Minister for Higher Education and Science’s annual education summit: general education in higher education
  • 29 April: Festival of Research

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 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/2015.