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Humanities' dean: Finish your studies faster, or else

Dean sends out an 11-point action plan to all Humanities students with a warning: Complete studies an average of one whole year faster by 2020, or the government will cut funding

Responding to government pressure on the University of Copenhagen to cut completion times, the Faculty of Humanities has now announced that it will go one step further: While the University of Copenhagen will have to improve completion times for Master’s students by nearly eight months by 2020 to avoid financial penalties, the Faculty of Humanities students will have to complete their studies faster by a whole year.

The Faculty has the longest average completion times at the University, and contributes negatively towards raising the average, the Dean Ulf Hedetoft says in a news memo sent out to all humanities students.

And as humanities students are those that pull up the completion-time average, they will now have to reduce the most, saying that “the target is ambitious – an average reduction of a whole year by 2020.”

Huge task

“The main means of achieving the target will be to simplify processes, increase students’ workload during the stipulated period of study, and improve the study environment by supporting and encouraging closer contact and dialogue with the students,” Ulf Hedetoft writes.

Management has singled out 11 focus areas (here on, needs log-in, ed.) that will involve tightening up on activity requirements, simplifying rules and courses of study, launching new initiatives and offering students new opportunities.

Writing to all on the Humanities mailing list, he says that this is a huge task: “We will only succeed if everybody at the faculty – students, teachers, managers and administrative staff – contributes their share.”

Govt. threatens to cut funding

He asks for co-operation, as “if we do not succeed, the worst-case scenario will be a reduction of our government allocation of up to DKK 60 million – equivalent to one-fourth of the current funding of our teaching activities.”

According to UIf Hedetoft, a reduced completion-time will not result in lower quality programmes.

“There is no evidence to suggest that finishing a degree more quickly lowers the quality of the graduate programmes. A look at the rest of the world reveals that it is normal for the stipulated time frame to be the time it actually takes to complete study programmes – and that exceeding this time limit is the exception, not the rule.”

Most programmes run over time

“In Denmark, the opposite is still the case, even though we do already have some strong and intensive MA programmes that make good use of the students’ time and fully live up to the target for the future. However, these programmes are unfortunately in the minority,” he says.

See the 11 point plan here on (needs log-in)

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