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SDU has found its new pro-rector

From 1 August, Helle Waagepetersen will be the Pro-Rector for Education at the University of Southern Denmark. The 50-year-old professor comes from a position as Head of Department at the Department of Drug Design and Pharmacology at the University of Copenhagen, and she is very much looking forward to starting at SDU.

The University of Southern Denmark can today name its future pro-rector for education. Helle Waagepetersen will become part of the SDU management team from 1 August, and she will help to continue and develop SDU’s framework for student learning and development.

Helle Waagepetersen comes from a position as Head of Department at the Department of Drug Design and Pharmacology at the University of Copenhagen. She explains that she applied for the position at SDU because, in her view, the University has a strong foundation for moving towards a new era of education.

- I see great potential in what SDU does and what it can do. The relevance to society is very clear in SDU’s portfolio for both education and research, which I see as very important concerning aspects such as lifelong learning, education programmes throughout the country and cooperation with the business community, says Helle Waagepetersen.

Strong focus on leadership

Notwithstanding a background as a pharmacist and later professor of cellular neuropharmacology, management has been a major part of Helle Waagepetersen’s academic career, particularly since 2008.

- I was relatively young when I became Head of Studies. I’ve always found leadership exciting because it’s about creating good environments for working together towards common goals. I find that I can create more value as a leader, she explains.

This year marks Helle Waagepetersen’s 25th anniversary at the University of Copenhagen, and when she takes up her new position as Pro-Rector for Education at SDU it will be the first time she has worked anywhere else. Something she is very much looking forward to, despite many good years at KU.

- It will be so exciting, and it is with great respect and humility that I take on the task. I’m really looking forward to getting to know the academic environments and the management both personally and professionally, she says.

Jubilation at SDU

Rector Jens Ringsmose explains that Helle Waagepetersen was ultimately chosen from a very strong field of applicants, and he looks forward to working with the new Pro-Rector.

- Helle Waagepetersen is an experienced university manager who has an eye for both grand strategic objectives and the importance of the day-to-day functioning of an operation. In addition, she has an impressive track record as head of department. She also has a distinguished research career behind her, and she has some exciting visions for further developing SDU’s education portfolio, says Jens Ringsmose.

As Pro-Rector, Helle Waagepetersen will join the University’s management team of the Rector, the University Director and the five deans of the main faculties. She will be replacing Sebastian Mernild, who has taken up a position as Head of SDU’s new climate research initiative, SDU Climate Cluster.

Personal facts

  • Helle Waagepetersen is 50 years old and qualified pharmacist. Has two children and two bonus children
  • Professor of Cellular Neuropharmacology, Department of Drug Design and Pharmacology, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Copenhagen
  • Head of Department, Department of Drug Design and Pharmacology, ILF, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Copenhagen. Former Head of Studies, Master’s Programme in Pharmaceutical Sciences, University of Copenhagen.
Editing was completed: 17.06.2022