Name of the candidate, job title, place of employment at AAU:
Antje Gimmler, Professor of Applied Philosophy, Department of Culture and Learning
Why are you running for the University Board?
As an academic staff member, I think that it is crucial that we avail ourselves of every opportunity for co-determination and involvement in the decision-making process to which we are entitled pursuant to the University Act (Part 3, section 10(6)). As I see it, this entails that we foster a dialogue between the management and staff and identify ways of communicating which are conducive to the greatest degree of co-determination and involvement. My primary motivation is to promote the interests, value and presence of the social sciences and the humanities within the university as a whole.
In your opinion, what is AAU's biggest challenge?
Reading the news, one gets the impression that the social sciences and the humanities are constantly being forced to defend themselves. They are constantly asked to prove their worth. In my view it is a challenging task to bring about a change in this discourse; instead of always being on the defensive, to make clear that AAU will not survive without strong social science and humanities faculties. As such I am in favour of AAU as a holistic university in balance with itself.
How can the identified challenge be addressed?
This will almost certainly mean that the university – including the management – will have to accept the costs of this, including in connection with reallocation of funding, something AAU has previously been through when establishing its health and medical sciences faculty. At the same time, press releases put out by AAU, as well as news articles about the university, etc., must place a greater emphasis on the results achieved by the research and teaching within the social sciences and the humanities.
Why vote for you?
Firstly, as an applied philosopher I have experience of working as an academic staff member at the Faculty of Social Sciences and the Faculty of Humanities. Furthermore, I can draw on my experience as a member of the board of studies, the departmental councils of both the humanities and social sciences faculties and the Academic Council of the Faculty of Social Sciences. As such I have a good insight into both faculties’ work and special challenges and am qualified to serve as a representative for both. Secondly, I have an interdisciplinary focus in my research and teaching activities, and through my close collaboration with other subject areas, including technical subjects, I have developed a good knowledge and deep understanding of these subject areas. Thirdly, it must be considered an advantage that I also have experience from a completely different university system. I sometimes say to people that I have two perspectives: from the inside, and from the outside. I am originally from Germany and was educated and have worked within the German university system prior to being appointed as an associate professor at the Department of Sociology and Social Work in 2002. To my mind, AAU – in spite of all of its challenges and problems – remains a fantastic university, and I would like to play my part in its ongoing development.
What is your key issue?
I have already outlined the challenges I consider to be the most pressing for the social sciences and the humanities. It is crucial for AAU as a whole to continue to develop the social sciences and the humanities, even in times of economic downturn. Accordingly, I would encourage the university to review the new budget model and consider its potential repercussions. There are two other areas which I believe will play a decisive role in determining the future of the university, and which I will work to promote: one is equal opportunities and diversity, and the other is academic freedom. How can we ensure that everybody, in practice, has the same opportunities? And how do we safeguard academic freedom at a time when the external financing of projects plays such a major role and has the potential to undermine freedom of research?