News from the senior management team no. 8/2017

Accreditation report submitted for consultation at AU

The accreditation panel has submitted its report about Aarhus University’s quality assurance system for consultation at the university. Among other things, the panel notes the fact that Aarhus University has ambitious quality goals for its degree programmes, and has a clear strategic focus on the teaching qualifications of its teaching staff. The panel has also noted the considerable sense of commitment among the university’s staff and students.

However, at the same time, the panel questions two aspects of the university’s quality assurance system: the monitoring of the extent to which degree programmes are based on research as well as the procedure for appointing external experts for programme evaluations. Therefore, the panel has decided to recommend AU for a conditional positive accreditation. The consultation period ends at the end of March, with the Accreditation Council making its final decision in June.

Danish PhD initiative bearing fruit

The Danish PhD degree programmes are of high quality, and many of PhD graduates find jobs in the private sector. These are two of the main conclusions of the PhD study which has just been published by the Ministry of Higher Education and Science. 

The study was undertaken in order to assess the Danish PhD initiative which, among other things, resulted in a doubling of PhD admissions in the period 2003-10. A survey among 4,100 international researchers shows that 76 per cent of them deem the quality of Danish PhD dissertations to be good or very good, which is a significant increase compared to a similar study in 1999. 

At the same time, 37 per cent of the PhD graduates are employed in the private sector, which is the highest proportion in the OECD, and, generally speaking, the assessment is that the PhD programmes are contribute to economic growth.

The study will be presented at a conference on 6 April.

AU students rate their lecturers’ qualifications highly 

Last week, the Minister for Higher Education and Science published a new national survey among students and new graduates from Danish post-secondary degree programmes.

The report focuses on the quality of the degree programmes. In line with the university’s own findings, the results show that Aarhus University ranks highly in terms of the academic skills and commitment of its lecturers as well as the academic environment in general. The same applies to the perceived relevance of the degree programmes, while the students are asking for more feedback.

New independent institute for constructive journalism at AU

The Constructive Institute (CI) is the name of a new and independent journalistic institution which is opening on 1 September 2017 in premises at Aarhus University. The department’s key task will be to provide continuing education for Danish and foreign journalists and editors in constructive journalism.

Each year, CI will offer journalism’s biggest talents fully financed fellowships. Aarhus University is not responsible for the curriculum or the teaching, but the institution’s fellows will be able to participate in relevant classes at the university. The initiative is a European counterpart to the American journalism fellowships at Stanford and Harvard. 

Aarhus University is looking forward to the collaboration and to exchanging knowledge with CI.

Dean of Arts: Examen philosophicum is too academically narrow

In an article published on Altinget on 2 March, Dean Johnny Laursen (Faculty of Arts) challenges the minister’s proposal to reintroducing examen philosophicum as a mandatory introductory course for all university students. He highlights the fact that the universities’ course catalogues already include general education courses. He also thinks that the idea of the examen philosophicum is too academically narrow, and not sufficiently rooted in the core academic content of the degree programmes. According to the dean, the universities have a broader social responsibility with regard to the knowledge which forms the foundation of our democracy.

Aarhus BSS establishes Dale T. Mortensen Centre

Three years after the death of Nobel Laureate Dale T. Mortensen, Aarhus BSS at Aarhus University is now establishing a new research centre that will continue to develop the theories of the renowned American economics professor.

Prestigious international research prize goes to Bo Barker Jørgensen

On Friday night, Professor Bo Barker Jørgensen, who heads the Center for Geomicrobiology at Aarhus University, was presented with the highly esteemed international research prize, the A.C. Redfield Lifetime Achievement Award, on Hawaii.  The award is given for groundbreaking research and long-term achievements within limnology and oceanography. 


  • 10 March: Celebration address for Professor Poul Nissen – recipient of the Novo Nordisk Prize 2017
  • 22 March: Meeting between the Rector’s Office and Studenterpolitisk Forum
  • 20–21 April: AU hosts meeting of the Guild of European Research-Intensive Universities
  • 19–24 April: Forum for Arctic Research
  • 27 April: Festival of Research

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