Summer greetings from SDU’s Executive Board
With the advent of midsummer, many of us are about to enjoy the summer break.
Half of 2021 has passed and so far, COVID-19 has also been defining for university life at SDU this year. We all hope that things will be more normal after the summer holidays and for the remainder of 2021.
As employees and students, your tackling of the special situation that COVID-19 has put us in has been truly impressive. We as management are deeply grateful for that. It has been a bumpy road, but everyone has taken responsibility and been determined to make the most of the situation. Your efforts are commendable and we are proud to be at the helm of a university with that ability.
The ability for changeability
The first half of 2021 has seen the rollout of a new learning system (ItsLearning) for students and lecturers, a new HR system for staff members and the completion of the test-based admission. Unfortunately, these past six months have also seen an adjustment process resulting in staff reductions and the loss of assignments in three main areas: The Faculty of Engineering, the Faculty of Humanities and the Central Administration.
All organisations inevitably face change, but the ways in which organisations manage to cope with that lot differs widely. We are very fortunate that students and staff at SDU have the ability to accommodate changeability, and we owe all of you a big thank you for that.
New members of management
The University’s management has also seen changeability, as Rector Henrik Dam, after seven years in office, has chosen to say goodbye to SDU in favour of the position as Director of The Danish Organization of General Practitioners. Henrik Dam will be stepping down at the end of July.
The Board of SDU has initiated the hiring process of a new rector, who is expected to take office in the 4th quarter of 2021. The job posting will be published this week.
The Board has decided to appoint Ole Skøtt, Dean of the Faculty of Health Sciences, as Rector from 1 August 2021 until a new rector takes office. The Head of the Department of Molecular Medicine, Uffe Holmskov, is appointed interim Dean of the Faculty of Health Sciences during the period in which Ole Skøtt has been appointed interim Rector, and thus joins the Executive Board.
‘Stronger communities and 25 new courses of study outside the largest cities’ was the name of the government’s education policy initiative, which was presented on 27 May. After a month of negotiations, the government and a majority in the Danish Parliament reached a political agreement on 25 June. The agreement entails an objective to create more regional education offers and limit the admission of students in the largest cities until 2030: https://ufm.dk/aktuelt/pressemeddelelser/2021/bred-politisk-aftale-om-bedre-muligheder-for-uddannelse-i-hele-danmark
In addition, the government and the parliamentary parties also agreed on limiting state education grant (SU) expenditure on foreign students from the EU, which means a number of English-language student places will be closed: https://ufm.dk/aktuelt/pressemeddelelser/2021/ny-politisk-aftale-begraenser-su-udgifter-til-u.denlandske-studerende-fra-eu-1
We do not yet have a full overview of the consequences of the two political agreements for SDU. In the autumn of 2021, each higher education institution will prepare a plan for the development in the admission of students towards 2030. We will now enter into a dialogue with the Ministry of Higher Education and Science with a view to organising a process that will help to create clarity about the impact of the agreements on our university.
We will keep you posted as soon as more information becomes available.
Have a great summer break!
Please allow me to wish all of you a lovely summer break, full of wonderful experiences and time for relaxation and re-energising, allowing us to prepare for the autumn that awaits us.
Henrik Dam, Rector (until 31 July 2021)
Ole Skøtt, interim Rector (from 1 August 2021)
Sebastian Mernild, Pro-Rector
Thomas Buchvald Vind, University Director
Simon Torp, Dean, the Faculty of Humanities
Marianne Holmer, Dean, the Faculty of Science
Jens Ringsmose, Dean, the Faculty of Business and Social Sciences
Uffe Holmskov, interim Dean (from 1 August 2021), the Faculty of Health Sciences
Henrik Bindslev, Dean, the Faculty of Engineering