Newsletter from the rectorate July 2012 · 9. July 2012
Overview of the content in the newsletter
- University Regulations and Development Contract signed
- Vacancy on the Board
- New premises on the Aalborg harbour front
- Status on room capacity
- Re-introduction of group exams
- AAU makes agreements with the university colleges
- Grant from the Danish National Research Foundation
- DKK 3.5 million grant from Nordic Council of Ministers for cooperation with China
- New Upper Secondary School Secretariat
- Solution Hub
- New delegation instructions
- Accident insurance for students injured in laboratories
- Follow students from North Jutland Elite Sports at the summer Olympics in London
The University Regulations and Development Contract for 2012-15 have now been signed by the university chairperson and the Minister for Science, Innovation and Higher Education.
As regards the regulations, these include considerable co-management and participation on the part of elected staff and students at all levels (the Board, Academic Council, Department Councils, Study Councils and Study Boards), largely corresponding to the old Administration of the Institutions of Higher Education Act, except from the fact that the management is now appointed, not elected.
The development contract includes the targets and benchmarks we had proposed, with the exception that a new item relating to the student environment has replaced the benchmark regarding research time. In addition, the ministry requested that we increased university ambitions in a few areas.
A new AAU statute has been approved, changing the procedures for appointing external members of the Board. A new, external member must be appointed for the period 1 January 2013 to 31 December 2016. The Board has determined a set of qualificationcriteria, and everyone including employees and students may suggest candidates possessing the set qualifications – as long as the suggestions are accompanied with the candidates’ CV and contact information and submitted no later than 3 September 2012. The Board reviews all suggestions and nominates one candidate for the approval of the newly setup Appointment Committee (consisting of the Chair of the Board as well as two external members selected by ECIU and Kandidatnet respectively). Further information (only in danish).
The agreement to construct a new AAU building on the Aalborg harbour front was approved by the Finance Committee. This means that 20,000 square metres are now being built for our aesthetics and creativity programmes (Architecture & Design, Art & Technology and Humanistic Informatics), which are expected to be ready for the autumn semester 2014. The new premises are being built next to new youth housing facilities – and both buildings were designed by Henning Larsen Architects. This means that we will have a city university campus including the Utzon Center, the Utzon student halls, 6, Rendsburggade, the new premises and youth housing facilities, the future House of Music (housing our Music programme), Nordkraft powerhouse and Karolinelund gardens, which are now hosting Platform 4.
Since intake numbers have increased over the past three years, there is a great need for facilities to house the students. As Social Sciences will move into 11, Fibigerstræde and half of 13, Fibigerstræde, we are looking for suitable temporary facilities for the Department of Development and Planning, until they can move into new premises at Campus in Aalborg East.
Medialogy will also be in need of space, and a suitable temporary tenancy is also being looked for until the programme can move into the new premises on the harbour front.
In addition to this, we are still waiting to take over all our new tenancies in Sydhavnen, Copenhagen, which will be available when Nokia have finally moved out of all buildings. This means that the Danish Building and Research Institute will not be able to move in until the beginning of 2013, and they will therefore remain in Hørsholm throughout 2012.
The new Examination Order has just been issued, which means that will again be possible to conduct group exams at AAU.
Before we re-introduce group exams in the academic year 2013, the management and other central units will discuss the shape of group exams, and regulations and curricula also need to be brought up to date. In addition, support will be made available for the strengthening of teaching staff competences as regards the conduction of group exams.
Since 2008, Aalborg University has had a cooperation agreement with University College North Jutland (UCN) under which we have cooperated on creating cohesion between the study programme structures of the two institutions and on establishing combined courses. In concrete terms, this means that the institutions have cooperated on for instance the exchange of teaching services, joint teaching, continuing and further education, international cooperation and PhD programmes for teaching staff at University College.
After AAU had entered into an agreement on hiring the premises at Sydhavnen in Copenhagen, and because an increasing number of programmes are now being offered at AAU CPH, the university is experiencing an increasing interest in entering into similar concrete cooperation agreements with the educational institutions located in Copenhagen.
On 24 April, AAU and Metropolitan University College entered into a cooperation agreement which in many ways resembles our agreement with UCN. The next step is that AAU is in a dialogue with University College Capital (UCC) regarding an agreement very similar to that with Metropolitan. Subsequently we have agreed to establish a steering committee with participants from all three (AAU, Metropolitan and UCC).
Most recently, University College Zealand has also expressed an interest in entering into dialogue with AAU about a future agreement. This dialogue is expected to commence during the next few months.
Aalborg University has just received DKK 20 million in support from the Danish National Research Foundation for the establishment of a 5-year Niels Bohr professorship at the Department of Communication and Psychology. In connection with the professorship, both a master’s and a PhD study programme within cultural psychology will be launched, since the aim is to become an international knowledge centre within this field.
As part of their globalisation initiative within higher education and research, The Nordic Council of Ministers have granted DKK 3.5 million for innovation cooperation with China. This three-year grant is administered by the Nordic Centre, whose chairmanship and secretariat recently became located at AAU. It is now possible to apply for funding for the establishment of networks between Nordic universities and Chinese universities and institutions in the Shanghai region. The networks must follow and support the strategic development of the Nordic Centre and must therefore, as a minimum, consist of cooperation partners from three Nordic countries. Application deadline is expected to be 1 November 2012. Further information is available from the Nordic Centre secretariat at the Management Secretariat, Mette Grønbæk Olesen, email@example.com or Louise Bredgaard, firstname.lastname@example.org.
As part of our efforts to strengthen and further develop the cooperation initiative between Aalborg University and the upper secondary schools it has been decided to establish an upper secondary school secretariat, which will be located under the Study Administration.
The purpose of the secretariat will be to coordinate, organise and further develop university relations to the upper secondary sector in close cooperation with the decentralised environments at AAU. Most activities will be attached to AAU, Aalborg, but the intention is that the environments in Copenhagen and Esbjerg will be included through participation in the work of the steering committee, so that they can contribute to selecting and solving the tasks which make good sense in their immediate environments.
The upper secondary school secretariat will:
- Create a clear ‘access’ to AAU for headmasters, staff and pupils in the upper secondary sector
- Create an efficient overview of and highlight the university’s many decentralised activities
- Coordinate and systematise enquiries and activities
- Be investigative and implement new activities
- Be visible and attentive, build networks and create good relations to representatives from the upper secondary schools
- Plan and host meetings with the steering committee of the secretariat
In the autumn a new project called Solution Hub will be launched to revive an old idea at AAU: cross-disciplinary, distributed cooperation. By this we mean that we will establish temporary, cross-disciplinary development units where students from all faculties cooperate on common problem development and problem solution at a large scale. A so-called “hub”. The idea is that 50-75 students will work collectively on the development of an actual solution to an actual problem of one client.
Therefore, SolutionHub will be characterised by:
- Complex issues
- Cross-disciplinary interaction and distributed cooperation
- Focus on users, innovation and solutions
- A challenging learning environment for skilful and ambitious students, researchers and supervisors.
- To begin with, a pilot project will be launched which will create the framework of future hubs. University College North Jutland (UCN) is also involved in the project, together with Region North Jutland as an external cooperation partner.
Aalborg University has developed a homepage which describes the most important international ranking lists. The list shows the indicators which influence the different lists, including AAU’s ranking on the lists. The most decisive factors for ranking are publication in international journals and reputation. During the spring, QS and Times Higher have carried out reputation surveys among both university staff and employers. Out of approx. 17,500 universities we are ranked as No. 362 on QS, No. 349 on Times Higher and No. 281 in Webometric. On 31 May Times Higher published the ranking list of the world’s approx. 15,000 universities which are under 50 years old, and in this list AAU is ranked in the top 70.
Following a number of hearings, new delegation instructions have been established and included in AAU’s regulations. Previous instructions have been rewritten, a number of important changes have been made, and general guidelines for the further delegation of competences have been adopted. Competence conditions in connection with the signing of cooperation agreements on research and education have been described, and rules regarding the delegation of HR management have been specified. At the moment the further delegation from heads of department and heads of school is being scrutinised.
AAU has taken out a collective accident insurance for students; this became effective from 1 June 2012. The insurance covers injuries suffered in connection with laboratory experiments or other laboratory activities carried out as part of university studies. Students are still advised to take out liability insurance, as accident insurance does not in all cases exempt students causing injuries from liabilities in damages. The procedure for the claiming of damages is being prepared by the insurance company, and once this is ready, a homepage will be launched with all relevant information.
When the Olympic Games 2012 open in London on 27 July, athletes from North Jutland Elite Sports will be among the contestants. NJES is a scheme which helps athletes combine their sports careers with further education at AAU or UCN. At present, the selected Olympic contestants are badminton players Jan Ø. Jørgensen and Rodrigo Pacheco, who will represent Denmark and Peru, respectively. Jan Ø. Jørgensen is studying Humanistic Informatics in addition to his sports, whereas Rodrigo Pacheco is studying Sport Management at UCN. There is also a possibility that handball player Camilla Dalby, who is studying physiotherapy at UCN, will represent Denmark. North Jutland Elite Sports is expecting that more than 130 elite athletes will be studying under the scheme during the coming academic year.
We wish you all a wonderful summer!
Finn Kjærsdam and Inger Askehave