News from the senior management team no. 26/2017

Education debate 2017: Quality must be developed in collaboration with teaching staff and students

On Friday 8 September, relevant stakeholders met to discuss quality in the Danish educational system. The annual education debate is organised by VIA University College, and this year it took place in Nørre Nissum in western Jutland.

Pro-rector Berit Eika participated in the debate on excellence in education, and, among other things, stressed that quality must be developed together with teaching staff and students, who must be able to use the results of quality assessments to continuously develop their teaching.

Universities Denmark is opposed to centrally administered peer reviews of degree programmes

In a post on Altinget on Thursday 7 September, Danish Universities’ educational policy committee responded to the Accreditation Council’s proposal for more quality control with the universities. In addition to accreditation and the co-examiner system, the Accreditation Council is suggesting introducing a third leg: peer reviews of the degree programmes.

Like Universities Denmark, Aarhus University fails to understand the wish to introduce more control at a time when several universities – including AU – are busy working to obtain institutional accreditation. Especially as the original purpose of switching from degree programme accreditation to institutional accreditation was to give the universities more freedom to assume responsibility for quality-assuring their own degree programmes.

Aarhus University shares the concerns of the educational policy committee that the quality assurance will be swamped by extensive bureaucracy. In addition, the peer perspective is already incorporated, as external experts are involved in the degree programme evaluations which all programmes have to implement every five years.

AU behind new approach to help entrepreneurs become growth companies

In collaboration with the Danish Industry Foundation, Aarhus University has developed a method that will make it easier for entrepreneurs to become viable growth companies.

A new evaluation report shows that up to 46 per cent of student entrepreneurs who have participated in the project find that they have achieved increased growth in terms of both the number of employees and revenue. The method is called SPININ, and involves matching entrepreneurs with established enterprises in a structured collaboration.

Chemistry professor wins Carlsberg Foundation Research Prize

Professor Karl Anker Jørgensen from the Department of Chemistry is one of two researchers to be awarded the Carlsberg Foundation Research Prize 2017, which was presented by HRH Crown Princess Mary at a ceremony on 3 September. He has been awarded the prize for his ground-breaking research in the field of organic chemistry.

AU number 109 in Times Higher Education rankings

Aarhus University is now ranked number 109 in the Times Higher Education (THE) World University Rankings, which were published last Wednesday, 6 September.

Like most other universities, over the year Aarhus University has moved up and down the rankings. Last year was a record at number 98 on the list, but this year’s ranking is still one of the best since 2010.

The THE World University Rankings is one of several ranking lists, and distinguishes itself by measuring both research, teaching and knowledge transfer. Several international rankings also regularly publish rankings of universities according to subject areas.

A short while ago, Aarhus University could take pride in being ranked in the top 10 within the field of public administration (no. 6) and agricultural science (no. 8) on the Academic Ranking of World Universities (ARWU). 

10,000 visited this year’s Student Fair

Last week, around 10,000 visitors dropped by the three-day Student Fair event. Here, about 60 companies, organisations and NGOs had set up stalls in the Main Hall and the Ambulatory, while the Sun Courtyard was transformed into a lounge area. Aarhus City Mayor Jacob Bundsgaard and Rector Brian Bech Nielsen also visited the fair.

The Student Council organised the event, which this year was being held for the 29th time.

Time for SDDs 

During September, October and November, the annual staff development dialogues (SDD) will be held for all staff at AU. The staff development dialogues are an important tool for aligning expectations regarding results, task performance and any need for competency development among the university’s staff.  

Tickets now drawn for annual celebration

Last week, employees were sent emails announcing the result of the draw for tickets for the annual celebration.

Staff have shown a keen interest in participating in the annual celebration. More than 650 people wanted to attend the ceremony in the Main Hall, which has seating for approx. 500 people. And more than 2,300 people registered for the concert at Concert Hall Aarhus, which seats max. 1,500.

In the draw among employees, 260 have been allocated seats in the Main Hall, while 1,000 have a place at Concert Hall Aarhus – both figures include accompanying guests. The seats have been allocated in proportion to the number of employees at the four faculties and in the administration.

The intention is that as many people as possible can attend the events being organised to mark the annual celebration. Therefore, ticket holders who are unable to attend are asked to please contact KongresKompagniet by mail ( or phone (+45 8629 6960), with information about the seats (entrance, row, seat nos) in the main auditorium at Concert Hall Aarhus. The same applies to those with admission cards for the ceremony in the Main Hall so we can be sure that no admission cards go unused.


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