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Academic Council sends letter of concern about proposed program closures to Senior Management

(Photo by Anna Holte)

Before the rumors of a proposed closure of six CBS programs was confirmed, the Chairmanship of the Academic Council sent a letter of concern to the Senior Management, in which they worry that the process will be “very closed”, like the one leading to the approval of CBS’ strategy behind closed doors in the summer 2020.

News |   Updated: November 17th, 2021

Anne Thora Lykkegaard

Journalist

This week and next, Senior Management’s proposed study reduction plan, which includes closing six programs, will go into hearings with CBS’ internal bodies. And already, students, employees and representatives are expressing their concerns about the proposed plan.

In fact, when the proposal to close the six programs was still just a rumor, the Chairmanship of the Academic Council, Kristian Miltersen, Professor and Chair, and Bent Meier Sørensen, Professor and Vice Chair, sent a letter of concern to the Senior Management on Thursday November 11.

In the letter, which is in CBS WIRE’s possession, the Chairmanship raises concerns about the process revolving around the content and approval of the implementation plan.

“As potentially, the changes appear to radically shift the strategic direction that CBS has taken, we are concerned that Senior Management may not live up to its responsibility in regard to the Danish University Act,” the letter states.

The Chairmanship explains in the letter that the nature of the changes fall under section 15, sub-section 2 of the University Act, which states that “the Academic Council must give advice to the President on central strategic research and education areas and plans for knowledge exchange.”

“At the Academic Council’s recent seminar with Senior Management, you clearly and explicitly acknowledged your duty and intent to engage the Council as early as possible in this process, even if the data material was not sufficiently developed,” the letter goes on.

The content and worries raised in the letter draw parallels with the much-criticized process leading up to the approval of CBS’ new strategy in the summer of 2020, explains Kristian Miltersen in an email to CBS WIRE.

“We are worried that we will end up in the same situation as in the Summer of 2020, when, after a very closed process, the Board of Directors approved a much more elaborate and detailed strategy document than the one presented to the CBS organization – which then later, after a fair amount of fuss from the Academic Council, the General Consultation Committee and others, ended up not being the strategy document after all,” he writes and continues:

“Therefore, after some discussion among the members, we decided to show due diligence and raise our concerns even before Senior Management presented their proposal to the board.”

In the final paragraphs of the letter directed at Senior Management, the Chairmanship expresses the hope that the Senior Management will not ask for the Board’s informal approval of the plan.

“On the contrary, we hope that your discussions with the Board will leave a very large and flexible space that we may develop together.”

“We hope they will take our advice into account”

The Academic Council will meet with the Senior Management on Wednesday November 17 for the first hearing and, at the moment, “there are no changes in relation to what the Chairmanship wrote in the letter to Senior Management,“ Kristian Miltersen writes to CBS WIRE.

Therefore, for the meeting with Senior Management on Wednesday November 17, Academic Council wants the Senior Management to properly explain the basis for the decision.

“We need to make sure that, as far as possible, the consequences of the proposal are clear, and that we are certain that relevant alternative solutions have been properly investigated,” he continues.

Current and previous students from the affected programs have criticized the process for being “undemocratic” and “opaque”. Asked whether the initial process gives rise to any concerns, Kristian Miltersen answers:

“The Senior Management decides the order in which they would like to inform and consult the different ‘bodies’. You can argue that since the CBS Board ultimately has to make the final decision, it does make sense to present the proposal to the board first. Because if the board cannot even accept the Senior Management’s initial proposal, it would be pointless for senior management to ask for our input on the proposal. Our worry is so far based on what we experienced in the Summer of 2020,” he writes and continues:

“We hope that they will take our advice into account when our chance comes on Wednesday.”

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