Newsletter 07-12-2015


Dear colleagues,

We have now passed into the last month of the year, and Christmas is knocking at the door. So I think a small Christmas story should be fitting. I’ll get back to this at the end of the newsletter!

Local strategy development

In continuation of our restructuring of research groups, departments and administrative units, the coming months will be devoted to local strategy development. Therefore, I have asked our departments and administrative units to forward proposals for the measures they want to invest in and focus on in the coming years. I know that many are already working hard in this regard.

Our faculty strategy provides a common framework and direction for our efforts, but the individual units on the Faculty face very different opportunities and challenges. This is why everybody shouldn’t be doing the same thing; instead each of us should have the courage to focus on the measures that will allow us to make the biggest difference. And you know best, what these measures are. We should all work in the same direction, but not in the same way!

This requires that we have confidence in and respect for the fact that everyone is working hard, but in different ways, in order to achieve our common goals. It also requires that we coordinate and assist each other in order to avoid duplicating our work and instead reap the synergies across disciplines and geography. I, personally, will work hard for this to happen.

I’m already looking forward to seeing the proposals from the departments and administrative units; proposals that are both visionary and courageous – and which will help us realise our common strategy. Some of the proposals will probably need to be supported by strategic funds. In March 2016, the group of department heads, together with the Academic Council and the newly established Education Board, will review these proposals. Personally, I will give priority to proposals with impact. Proposals that are cross-cutting, innovative and makes us unique. We have so much to offer!

Remember the website

In addition to our local measures, we are fully engaged in the implementation of the cross-cutting measures. You can keep yourself updated on the progress at I’m really happy that our new Education Board is coming into place and soon will be ready to work with the development of our study programme portfolio. SDU ASC (our newly established Academy of Societal Change) is also off to a flying start and promises to be a unique initiative that will help to emphasise that we, here at BSS, can and will help to resolve the major societal challenges across disciplinary and geographical boundaries. I’m looking forward to following the process!

Finance Bill 2016 may result in new university cutbacks

Two weeks ago, our Vice-Chancellor laid out the expected consequences of Finance Bill 2016. Unfortunately, the universities will receive fewer funds in the coming years. Although we do not yet know the precise consequences, we here at SDU have already started a process that will prepare us for any future expenditure cuts. This is due diligence!

Of course, I’m in complete agreement with the Vice-Chancellor that it makes no sense to use the field chopper method. We must have the courage to make strategic choices. Only in this way can we preserve and enhance the quality and relevance of our study programmes and research.

So in the run-up to March 2016, BSS, the other faculties and the central administration are going to come up with suggestions regarding options to be selected or rejected. Unlike the other faculties, however, we have already conducted a thorough evaluation and strategy process, and this gives us a highly qualified basis on which to base our proposals. The other faculties, on the other hand, are somewhat busy … :-)

Our Heads of Department, Heads of Study and administrative managers are already working hard to develop BSS’s proposals. The Academic Council, the Liaison Committee and the Education Board will all be involved to qualify the proposals before they are forwarded to the Executive Board and the University Board.

We still do not know what the consequences will ultimately be for BSS, but the financial recovery plan we have just been through fortunately has provided a financial foundation, which makes it possible for us to phase in any expenditure cuts in a sensible and appropriate way.

In other words: We as a faculty are well prepared and equipped to meet the new challenges.

News about Heads of Department

Professor Niels Vestergaard starts as Head of Department at the Department of Environmental and Business Economics (IME) with effect from 1 January 2016.  I’m personally very happy for this. Niels is an experienced and very constructive player in our group of department heads, and he has been an exemplary acting head of department in Esbjerg since October 2014.

We also expect to have a new head for the Department of Business and Economics (IVØ) in place by Christmas. Unfortunately, we have not yet managed to find a new head for the Department of Law.

The SDU effect – a small Christmas story!

IVØ Analysis has compared our students with social science students from the other Danish universities. The focus has been on the students’ backgrounds and how they perform after graduation. The report paints a picture of our students that I think we can rightly be very proud of. We admit so-called mould breakers to a much higher degree than the other universities, and still our students perform every bit as well after graduation in terms of employment and income. In other words, we are helping to resolve a very important social issue by also giving less privileged young people an education boost without compromising on quality and relevance. This makes me both happy and proud of the efforts you put into this place every single day. Well done, everyone!

You can read more about the exciting analysis here: