News from the senior management team no. 5/2017

Connie Hedegaard new chairman of the board of Aarhus University

On 1 February, Connie Hedegaard took up the position as new chairman of the board of Aarhus University. In a new portrait article, she talks about her leadership style and her ambitions for the university. 

The former EU Commissioner, who holds an MA in comparative literature and history, sees knowledge, enlightenment and self-development as key core values for the university. At the same time, she is calling on politicians to relax their micro-management, and to try to understand the universities’ need for long-term planning. 

Connie Hedegaard has been a member of the board of Aarhus University since 2014. She took over as chairman from Michael Christiansen.

More flexible study scheme for entrepreneurs at AU

A new scheme makes it easier for ambitious student entrepreneurs at Aarhus University to combine their studies with entrepreneurial activities.

The scheme comprises advice about study planning, help with note-taking and assistance with applying for exemptions during periods where the business requires special attention. The initiative is designed to help prevent situations where successful entrepreneurs are forced to quit their studies to have enough time to run their business.

The new scheme for entrepreneurs is inspired by Aarhus University’s successful dual-career concept, which for several years has allowed elite athletes greater flexibility in their studies.

Applicants will be evaluated on the basis of a special points system, which, among other things, emphasises market demand and the student’s own commitment. The scheme is administered by the new unit AU Entrepreneurs under AU Student Administration and Services.

Adjustment of education cap

Last week, Minister for Higher Education and Science Søren Pind presented an amendment to the recently passed act barring double degrees, the so-called degree programme cap. The new amendment is supported by a broad majority of MPs.

The new amendment means that it will be possible to do more than one degree programme at a lower, similar or higher level, provided that six years have elapsed since you completed your most recent degree. 

At Aarhus University, the education cap has resulted in a rise in the number of enquiries from students who want to find out whether they should drop out of their current degree programme so as to keep the door open to the degree of their dreams.

The amendment is not expected to solve the problem of students either dropping out or postponing the start of their degree programme.

Also, the change does not affect the rule exempting the degree programmes producing the most sought-after graduates, for example a number of engineering degree programmes, from time limitations. The senior management team would like to see this rule being extended so that it applies to all engineering degree programmes, and also for it to be possible for dental hygienists to do a degree in odontology.    

Finally, it is not yet clear what the consequences will be for new degree programmes which cannot present historical unemployment statistics.

Birgit Schiøtt to carry on as head of the Department of Chemistry

The Department of Chemistry has appointed Birgit Schiøtt department head from 1 February. She has been acting department head since December 2014.

Birgit Schiøtt holds an MSc degree in Chemistry and Physics (1990) and a PhD degree in Chemistry (1993) from Aarhus University.

AU professor is new chairman of the Danish Council for Independent Research, Natural Sciences

From 1 January 2017, Professor Lars Arge, Department of Computer Science, is new chairman of the Danish Council for Independent Research, Natural Sciences. He is taking over from Professor Lone Gram from the Technical University of Denmark (DTU). 

The Danish Council for Independent Research, Natural Sciences, funds specific research projects in the natural sciences, computer science and mathematics.

Lars Arge has been a member of the council since January 2013 and vice-chair since January 2015.


  • 20 February: Meeting of the regional Growth Forum
  • 23 February: Connie Hedegaard visits Department of Political Science
  • 24 February: Aarhus University board meeting
  • 27 February: Inauguration of the New University Hospital in Aarhus
  • 2 March: After-work meeting for the managements of 19 municipalities in Central Denmark Region
  • 3 March: Rector opens Festival of the Century

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