Aarhus University Seal / Aarhus Universitets segl

New chair for the Academic Council

The Academic Council at Health has just held its constituent meeting and elected Professor Helle Prætorius from the Department of Biomedicine as chair. Read more about Helle's goals and ambitions for the council in this interview.

2016.02.22 | Sabina Bjerre Hansen

[Translate to English:] De næste fire år står professor Helle Prætorius Øhrwald i spidsen for Akademisk Råd på Health.

[Translate to English:] De næste fire år står professor Helle Prætorius Øhrwald i spidsen for Akademisk Råd på Health.

On Thursday 28 January 2016, the Academic Council at Health held its constituent meeting. Professor Helle Prætorius Øhrwald was elected chair of the council at the meeting. She is now ready to take over the position from Jens Christian Hedemann Sørensen, who is professor, centre chair at the Department of Clinical Medicine.

We talked to the new chair about her role, ambitions and goals.

How do you see your role as chair of the council?

"I believe that my role as chair is to act as a catalyst so that our dean can receive the best possible support and advice from his academic staff. Via the Academic Council, employees and students at Health have an important means of commenting on key decisions that are underway at faculty and university level. We must utilise this. It is therefore important that we in the council discuss the current political and economic challenges facing the university, as well as the issues that these challenges can lead to for the employees in their daily work."

What are your goals and ambitions for the new Academic Council that you are now heading?

"The goal I have is that Aarhus University's management team should feel they are well informed about the issues facing their employees. In addition, they should be fully informed of potential consequences of given scenarios before important decisions are taken. I have an ambition for us in the Academic Council to give equal weight to our two central areas - that is research and teaching - and to, as far as possible, incorporate both aspects in our advisory work."

Are there any special tasks or areas that you will focus on in your coming work?

"It's important for me that we continuously work on strategies for research and education in the current context of Aarhus University. At the constituent meeting we aready identified a number of topics that the council considers ripe for clarification and discussion. For example, educational challenges in connection with the institutional accreditation and what influence the concentration of specialist medical areas at Rigshospitalet in Copenhagen will have on medical reasearch at AU. For me it is very important that the individual council members can influence the agenda that we set. It is also important that we continually ensure there is space to be able to take up issues that are acutely relevant. Especially in situations where the dean needs to hear our voice. Having said this, it is important for me personally to focus on the quality of the university's key functions and the basic academic conditions in connection with the university's current and future financial frameworks."

Helle Prætorius Øhrwald took up the position of chair of the council at its constituent meeting and is elected for a four-year term.

The Academic Council has 20 members, of which the majority are new after the elections in November 2015. Dean Allan Flyvbjerg sits at the head of the table and the council meets 4-5 times a year.


What is the Academic Council?

The Academic Council is the faculty’s senior advisory body. It prepares statements and recommendations to the dean and the rector. The Council’s role is:

  • to issue opinions to the rector on the internal distribution of appropriations,
  • to issue opinions to the rector on key strategic research questions and educational issues and plans for knowledge exchange,
  • to make recommendations to the rector on the composition of expert committees appointed to assess applicants for academic positions,
  • to award PhD and higher doctoral degrees.

Find out more about the Academic Council

Visit Health's website to find out more about the work of the Academic Council, find minutes from its meetings and see a list of members.

Administrative, Administration (Academic), Health, Department of Biomedicine, Research, Research, Research year student, Policy and strategy, PhD students, Technical / administrative staff