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Associate Professor Kjeld Nielsen is running for the University Board

AAU Elections 2019: Five questions for candidate Kjeld Nielsen

Associate Professor Kjeld Nielsen is running for the University Board with a view to fostering greater openness and interdisciplinarity at AAU. In Kjeld Nielsen’s view it is time to bring an end to the silo mentality and the cumbersome hierarchical structure which prevents the university from realising its huge potential.

Name of the candidate, job title, place of employment at AAU:

Kjeld Nielsen, Associate Professor at the Department of Materials and Production.

Why are you running for the University Board?

I have two goals in running for the board: I want to bring about greater openness at AAU, because in my opinion its present way of thinking overlooks a great deal of knowledge. After all, we employ over 3,000 staff, all of whom are highly skilled in their particular fields, and I am certain that if we to listen more to these staff, we as an institution will reap the benefits. And this is why I am running for the board: I want to ensure that the voices of all university staff are heard.

My second goal is to ensure the university embraces an interdisciplinary approach. In my view the university’s current structure encourages a silo mentality, which makes it more difficult for us to meet the challenges of a future as shifting as the one we face. As an institution we possess a wealth of knowledge in-house, and I will play my part in ensuring that this knowledge can be applied as broadly as possible – and this is the other reason I am running for the board.

In your opinion, what is AAU's biggest challenge?

As I see it, AAU faces three major challenges, which I will bring into focus if I am elected to the board:

1) AAU is failing to support our efforts to work university-wide to help one another to devise new solutions and maintain a high level of knowledge-sharing.

2) At present, AAU as an institution is not nimble and agile enough to act and react to changes taking place in the world around us.

3) AAU’s hierarchical structure is too cumbersome: This renders dialogue across subject areas and across different levels of the university’s hierarchy difficult - and the lack of dialogue which this frequently results in limits our ability to exploit the university’s huge potential.

How can the identified challenge be addressed?

As I see it there are three things which need to be done in order to address the issues set out above:

1) We must bring about a greater level of interdisciplinarity, and our staff must to a greater extent be included in decision-making processes.

2) The university’s highly hierarchical structure must be reined in. We should seek to bring about a flatter management structure in which staff are not separated from the University Board by five levels of management.

3) We must cultivate an open dialogue surrounding the decisions we take - both decisions that only affect a small number of us, and those that affect many of us.

Why vote for you?

Put simply: vote for me because I will make a difference. I have already considered the role my colleagues will play in the election campaign and - if I am elected - during my term as a board member. I have therefore set up an Instagram profile (kjeldnielsen_aau) where my colleagues have the opportunity to write at any time of day, and I will have an open-door policy. With these two initiatives, I will ensure that all academic staff at AAU feel that their voice is represented through me.