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Where do PhD students have influence?

As a PhD student at ARTS you have the possibility to get influence in several organizational bodies. The following list consists of a summary of the most important bodies.

Liaison Committees (Cooperative Boards) / Samarbejdsudvalg

At Aarhus University, there are five different types or levels of Liaison Committees, some places called Cooperative Boards. The Main Committee (HSU) connects all the Committees of the university in one forum. The Administration Committee (ASU) are for the technical (TAP) and administrative (AC) employees. The Faculty Committee (FSU) are a forum at faculty level, and the Local Committees (LSU) are a forum at school level. At Arts, the LSU are divided into a Liaison Committee for each of the four schools. Normally, a PhD student is chosen to represent the PhD students at the LSU level, but this is not a general rule.

At all levels the Liaison Committees are a formal meeting place between the management and the employees at the university. Half of the members of the Liaison Committees are chosen by the employees and the other half is chosen by the management. The members that are employees, are chosen at a yearly election, while the members representing the management are chosen by the management. Normally, union representatives are born members of the Committees. In the Committees, the university management are obligated to inform the employees about budgets, restructurings, dismissals etc. It is also the Liaison Committees that order the workplace assessments (APV), evaluate it and takes steps to change the different departments’ working conditions. The members of the different Committees can ask for clarifications, but they cannot impose anything on the management.

School Forum (Departmental Forum) / Institutforum

The School Forum (also called the Departmental Forum) is a forum or council where representatives advise the Heads of Schools. There is one for each School at Arts (Communication & Culture, Culture & Society and DPU) and approximately 15-20 members participate in the meetings. Around half/a third of the representatives are from the research staff while the rest are from the administrative staff, students, the local management (i.e. the study leader) and around 2-4 seats for PhD students, depending on the electoral grouping, but usually not all seats are taken. Staff members are elected for a 4-year-period, while PhD students are elected each year. The forum meets approximately 3-5 meetings a year.

The representatives at the meetings advise the Head of School on the school’s strategy and things within the Head’s responsibilities such as the hiring policy, work environment and the organization of the school. The budget and economy are regular topics at the meetings. Some of the topics (e.g. economy) overlap with those in the faculty-wide Academic Council.

The PhD Committee / Ph.d.-udvalget

PhD students at Arts are represented in the PhD Committee, which is a committee advising the head of Graduate School Arts on the quality of the PhD education. The PhD Committee discuss matters such as rules and regulations for the PhD education, studies abroad, PhD courses, the well-being of PhD students, and the strategic development of the PhD area. Furthermore, the PhD Committee approve of the Assessment Committee suggested by the PhD program at submission of the PhD thesis. The Committee meet for 2 hours approximately 4 times per year, and additionally attend one or two seminars during the year.

There are 12 seats in the PhD Committee – 6 for PhD students and 6 for VIPs. These seats are further divided so that each school has two PhD representatives in the Committee. The PhD representatives are elected annually while the VIP representatives are elected every third year. The chair of the Committee is selected among the VIP representatives while the vice-chair is selected among the PhD representatives. The head of the graduate school and the team leader of the graduate school administration attend the meetings as observers.

AUPA (Aarhus University PhD Association)

AUPA is the coordinating body of all local PhD associations at Aarhus University, including Arts PhD Network. It aims to generate knowledge across the different local PhD associations and to create a forum for discussing matters of importance for all PhD students at Aarhus university.

AUPA mainly discusses political matters such as the PhD work environment, recruitment norms for researchers at AU, language policies in the different departments at AU, and the employment prospects after finishing the PhD education. Thus, all topics within the political sphere with relevance for PhD students at Aarhus University are raised in this forum.

The members of AUPA’s board are, in most cases, also members of the local PhD associations, i.e. from PHABUSS, PHAUST, Health and Arts PhD Network. Furthermore, AUPA tries to recruit both Danish as well as international board members in order to ensure that all students at Aarhus University are being represented and heard.

Academic Council / Akademisk Råd

The goal of the academic council is to ensure that academic conditions in general (e.g. internal distribution of funds, talent development and dissemination of knowledge) are decided on in a participatory manner. Therefore, the council is composed of 11 scientific personnel, where from two are PhD students. In addition to this, there are three members of the technical-administrative personnel and four students. 20 in all.

Among the topics discussed at the academic council in 2017 were the unexpected economic surplus at Arts and the consultation response to the norms for recruitment that emphasized the international profile of future scientific employees.

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Revised 05.11.2018