Newsletter 23-06-2015


Dear colleagues,

The strategy for the Faculty is now in place! The revised strategy was approved at yesterday’s meeting of the Heads of Department and can be found here. I think that together we have succeeded in creating a bold strategy, and I take this opportunity to thank you for all the constructive feedback that has contributed to making it even better.

Now we will turn the strategy into action!

However, we are far from being done. Now the strategy has to be turned into action – and this will take both time and effort. The changes set out in the strategy cannot not be implemented overnight. We must have quality and durability embedded in the solutions, and therefore they must be developed by you, as you possess the necessary knowledge and are the ones who will be affected by the solutions. Local ownership and professional competency will be decisive factors in the forthcoming implementation phase.

We at the Dean’s Office will have a strong focus on coordinating the process and, together with the Heads of Department and Heads of Studies, follow up on the actual implementation of the strategy. We will act as safeguards ensuring that the organization honours the high level of ambition that is set out in the strategy.

Fewer but stronger research groups

Part of the work has already been commenced. At the departments, you have come a long way towards forming new research groups across existing departmental boundaries, so that we will have fewer and stronger groups in the future and will avoid the undesired parallel structure that has characterised this Faculty. To give one example, the accounting environments in Kolding, Odense and Slagelse have launched discussions about a possible collaboration about study programmes and research in the future. Read also the interview with Mette Lund Kristensen, who talks about the establishment of a new joint research group between Slagelse and Odense. I would like to thank you all for engaging constructively in this difficult, but necessary, task!

When the design and organization of the new cross-departmental research groups is finalized after the summer holidays, the next step is to find out whether this gives rise to changes in the departmental structure. If so, this will involve the Liaison Committee and the Academic Council, and it will also require approval by the Board of SDU. Such an approval will at the earliest be available in continuation of the next meeting of the Board at the end of September. Therefore, for the time being everyone keeps their present departmental affiliation.

The financial situation

I know that among employees in the individual environments there is considerable concern about the consequences of the financial deficit at the Faculty. Throughout the process, I have insisted that we are not going to make random cutbacks and that the self-evaluation and the strategy therefore had to be in place first. They are in place now, and from this foundation we are now working at plan for the financial recovery of the Faculty, which at the same time will secure the Faculty’s strategic development in the years to come.

The final plan may involve various elements, including reductions in operating expenses, cancellation of planned job openings, voluntary retirements by employees covered by the Circular on Senior and Voluntary Severance Schemes, and actual dismissals. If the latter becomes a necessity, it will require the involvement of the Liaison Committee and other relevant parties, and it will also be subject to approval by the Board of SDU at their next meeting in September.

I am aware that I cannot remove potential worries by writing this, but you are entitled to receive communication that is as clear and open as possible, and since I know that our financial situation has given rise to considerable concern, I prefer to substitute rumours with concrete information about the further developments.

Despite these challenges, I am optimistic on behalf of our Faculty. I am absolutely convinced that with this strategy we have set the right course, even if it will be a long haul to act it out. I therefore hope that you will all contribute constructively and take part in in creating a stronger Faculty for all of us.

We will return with more newsletters after the holiday, but if you have questions or miss information, I encourage you to talk to your Head of Group, Head of Department or administrative manager.

I wish you all a very nice summer!