Dean of Arts Mette Thunø has many tasks in her position as head of the interdisciplinary priority area of education. However, one of the most important of these is defining what a good degree programme at Aarhus University actually is.
“We’ve already got good degree programmes, but if we want to do it even better, we need to first of all find out what quality means for ourselves precisely. Once we know that, we can improve the quality,” she says.
The work involved in defining the good degree programme will mainly take place in a new AU forum for education, with the participation of both the academic staff and students. However, Dean Thunø is inviting all staff and students to have their say in the future process.
“We need to ask the question throughout the entire organisation, because it’s the lecturers and students who know these things and can benefit from each other’s knowledge and experience,” she says.
The degree programmes at Aarhus University will not just be better. They will also be far more flexible than is the case today. This means that the students will be able to take subjects cutting across the main academic areas, and they will be more interdisciplinary. Here the boards of studies will play a key role, according to Dean Thunø. It is therefore crucial that the dean of education has good collaboration with precisely the boards of studies.
“If we’re to create both more flexibility and higher quality in the degree programmes, we need to do it in close collaboration with the boards of studies. Together with the boards of studies, we’ll find out how the studies can be made more flexible, for example. Flexible studies can only be carried out if the boards of studies agree on creating more opportunities such as free modules in the academic regulations,” says Dean Thunø.
“It’s an enormous task, and the new, quality-assured and flexible degree programmes are not lying just around the corner and waiting for 10 March,” says Dean Thunø. However, the staff will soon notice that education has become a special interdisciplinary focus area.
“One of the first steps will now be to decide on a common digital education platform for all the degree programmes at Aarhus University. We’re currently operating with different systems round and about, for example AULA and Blackboard. We need to have a common system at AU, where there are good opportunities for developing the degree programmes in joint new ways cutting right across the university,” says Dean Thunø.