HoD News - 4 September 2020

2020.09.04 | Niels Haldrup

Head of Department Niels Haldrup

Dear colleagues,

A new semester

This week both staff and students have been returning to campus, and a new academic year has started under the restrictions of COVID-19. Everyone has worked hard to plan the autumn semester, but we know that there will be some issues to deal with along the way. In this first week of teaching, technical issues concerning the streaming of lectures have been on the agenda, and the sound quality in particular has not been optimal. We are in close contact with BSS IT to secure a better solution. More updates concerning matters related to COVID-19 have been communicated in a separate email.

The department is a safe workplace

Employees are now gradually returning to work after the university opening following the second close-down. The precautions that have been made, and paying attention to the general guidelines regarding behaviour on campus, the department is a safe workplace, and I would like to see you back on campus. Employees who feel insecure about coming to campus due to health conditions or other personal circumstances should contact their section head to discuss any concerns.

With appropriate distance measures, we can arrange seminars and other activities on campus. However, we should not yet invite external seminar speakers. Many seminars will continue to have a virtual or blended format, and you are encouraged to always plan for an online solution. Depending on the number of participants, and whether participants are internal or external, the rules and guidelines for meetings and events at AU still apply. Please contact your section secretary if you have any questions concerning seminars and other events.

Employees in non-tenured positions

At LSU and Departmental Forum meetings, I have been asked how the department will attend to employees in non-tenured positions who have faced particularly heavy challenges during the past months due to COVID-19. The answer to this question is that these cases are treated as any other situation where outside events or personal circumstances interfere with work; we will deal with such cases at an individual level. The BSS Graduate School has already informed PhD students about the policy following the influence of the COVID-19 close-down. Also, with respect to employees in assistant professor and post-doctoral positions, I would like to stress the general policy of the department that we are concerned with offering good work conditions for non-tenured faculty to achieve tenure qualification. So in this respect, COVID-19 is not seen as a situation that requires any new particular policy, but we will consider requests from case to case based on the circumstances.

Rector’s visit at ECON

On Thursday 1 October Brian Bech Nielsen, rector of Aarhus University, will visit the department, and I would like to invite all department members to this annual meeting.  You will receive an invitation via Outlook - please accept the invitation in Outlook. I encourage all department members to attend.

At the meeting, rector will give a short presentation, which will be followed by a dialogue with the department members. Please do not hesitate to ask questions at the meeting, and you may also communicate any relevant topics that you would like to discuss via your section head.

Due to the COVID-19 situation, the place of the meeting will be announced later.

Section councils

The past six months have been an exceptionally busy period. Many projects at the departmental level have been postponed due to the extraordinary situation, including the appointment of the section councils. As mentioned earlier, the main objective of the section councils is to provide a formal forum to support the section head in the management of the section, to ensure employee involvement in section and departmental matters as well as in ensuring continuity and consistency over time, e.g. in the mentoring and feedback to non-tenured faculty. Next week a document describing the organisation and main tasks of the section councils will be presented and the process of constituting the councils will begin.

I wish you all a nice weekend and look forward to seeing you on campus. 

Best regards,

Niels Haldrup

HoD News