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SDU set to strengthen its regional activities

This summer’s political agreement on education in Denmark stipulates that the admission of students in the nation’s four largest cities must be reduced by 2030. SDU stands a good chance of meeting the requirement thanks to the University’s multiple regional campuses. Towards the turn of the year, SDU is working on preparing a plan to strengthen the University’s regional activities and reduce the number of student places in Odense.

By Nicolai Lynge Drost, , 11/5/2021

SDU’s Executive Board are currently working on a plan that must be submitted to the Ministry of Higher Education and Science by the end of 2021. The plan stipulates how SDU intends to handle the requirement to reduce the admission of students in Odense by up to 10% by 2030, corresponding to 665 student places compared to the number of admissions in 2019.

The plan must comply with the political agreement ‘More and better educational opportunities throughout Denmark’, which the government and a large number of parties concluded on 25 June 2021. The political parties have agreed to cut admissions by 5-10% in the nation’s largest cities by 2030.

SDU will present arguments to the Ministry of Higher Education and Science that SDU wants to comply with a reduction target of 5% instead of 10% of the student places in Odense.

Opportunities at the campuses

SDU’s unique construction makes it the only Danish university with multiple campuses spread across a large geographical area. In fact, 20% of SDU’s students study at the campuses outside Odense, and thus SDU already meets the requirements for increased regionalisation in the education sector.

SDU’s campuses in Sønderborg, Esbjerg, Slagelse and Kolding give SDU a position of strength in its planning efforts, as SDU can relocate student places from Odense to the campus cities to meet the requirement for reductions in Odense. The opportunity to increase programme activities in the campus cities is part of SDU’s planning efforts.

Initially, SDU has submitted an application for the establishment of a MSc in Business degree programme in Slagelse and a Law degree programme in Esbjerg. At the same time, the Executive Board are working on creating clearer campus profiles for each campus, which can be used when discussing the special qualities and offerings of each campus with students, employers and companies.

The 5 faculties continue to be prioritised

For SDU’s Executive Board, it is important and crucial that the University maintains its profile as a multi-faculty university with strong faculties in the humanities, social sciences, natural sciences, health sciences and engineering. For society, employers, students and employees, it is a great strength that the University boasts strong core disciplines at all five faculties.

A reduction of student places in Odense must therefore take many considerations into account. The Board has decided that the three criteria unemployment, quality of education and strategic considerations must be used to assess where to make the reductions and/or set up new student places outside Odense.

SDU’s Executive Board are currently working on a two-stage plan for reductions in the number of admissions in Odense:

Stage 1: 2023-2025, where half of the final reduction requirement must be reached.

Stage 2: 2026-2030, where the reductions must be fully implemented at SDU.

The plan that SDU will submit to the Ministry of Higher Education and Science at the turn of the year will flesh out in detail how the University intends to reduce admissions in Odense and relocate student places to the campus cities during the first stage. Stage 2 of the plan will be described more generally. This will also give SDU time over the next few years to determine how to handle the period 2026-2030 in terms of reducing and relocating student places.

The future course

The Central Liaison Committee, the University Council and the student organisation De Studerende i Centrum have been given an overall status of the Executive Board’s planning efforts this week. These parties will be involved again later in the process before the plan is presented to the Board.

The Board is expected to make a decision on SDU’s institutional plan in December, and SDU’s Executive Board expects to be able to publish the specific plan no later than the beginning of January 2022.

The institutional plan is expected to be included in an overall sectoral plan for the eight universities, which will be submitted for approval to the Minister for Higher Education and Science and the political conciliation parties during the first quarter of 2022.

After the political approval in the middle of spring 2022, SDU will know the final institutional plan and sectoral plan until 2030.

Editing was completed: 05.11.2021