By Susanne Knudsen, HUM Dean’s Office. Translated by Pernille Budde Haensel, AAU Communication
In recent years, the interest in studying certain language programmes at the Faculty of Humanities has dropped. This year, only five new students were admitted to the bachelor programme in German and three to the master programme in German. If such a situation were to continue, it would give rise to numerous challenges for the programmes both in terms of maintaining the pedagogical approach of PBL and creating a socially and academically rewarding study environment.
In addition, the low student numbers mean that the programmes are underfinanced. Under the present conditions in the university sector, this situation is not sustainable. On this basis, the dean of the Faculty of Humanities, Henrik Halkier, has decided that the bachelor and master programmes in German, in International Business Communication, German, and International Business Communication, Spanish, will be closed for admission as of September 2020.
‘Unfortunately, the situation has developed in the wrong direction for several years, but I had hoped that it would have turned around at some point. But there’s no doubt that we’re seeing a structural problem in the educational sector when it comes to encouraging young people to choose a language programme - and especially German. It’s very unfortunate because I believe that in the future we’ll see a demand for hiring staff members with high-level language skills. However, I’ve been forced to acknowledge that we’ve not been able to attract sufficient students for these language programmes in Aalborg even though we’ve been committed to recruiting students and have made extraordinary efforts to boost student numbers with activities such as Tysk Tirsdag [German Tuesday] and Sprogcamp [language camp]. But I would like to stress that we are not dropping all language programmes. We’ll continue to educate students in the global languages such as English and Spanish,’ Henrik Halkier says.
STAFF AND STUDENT MEETINGS
The decision means that no new students will be admitted to the three bachelor programmes. In addition, AAU has applied the Danish Agency for Science and Higher Education to change the legal right of admission on the bachelor programmes in International Business Communication in German and Spanish from the current master programmes to the master programme in Culture, Communication and Globalization (CCG), but is still awaiting a decision. If the application is accepted, the master programme in International Business Communication in German and Spanish will also be closed as of September 2020. The legal right of admission to the master programme in German for the bachelor students in German will not change.
‘In this process, we’ll make sure that both staff and students are kept informed on an ongoing basis. We’ve already held meetings with the staff members and students who are directly affected, and next week we’ll hold information meetings for all staff at the Department of Culture and Learning and the Faculty. In addition, we’ll inform both staff and students about the legal right of admission as soon as possible,’ Henrik Halkier says.