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Copenhagen Business School

Independent University Newspaper

Copenhagen Business School

“I have difficulty seeing how we can educate transformative students in traditional classrooms”

girl smiling

(Photo: CBS Photography)

CBS Students’ retiring president, Sarah Diemar, will have a seat on CBS’ Board of Directors from February 1. She has a message for the board: hold your horses. What else is on her agenda?

News |   06. Jan 2021

Anne M. Lykkegaard

Journalist

Sarah Diemar has not finished being the voice of CBS’ students. She has only just ended her one-year term as the President of CBS Students, and will be occupying one of the two chairs for student representatives on CBS’ Board of Directors.

With her, she will have two years of experience from CBS Students. Experience that has made her “old and grumpy”, but more motivated to improve CBS for its students.

“I have always targeted positions where I can get things done. That’s why I was drawn to student politics in the first place,” says Sarah Diemar and mentions some of the experiences she draws from that have strengthened her resolve:

“During my presidency with CBS Students, we not only had to deal with coronavirus, we also had to develop a new strategy in CBS Students and be part of the strategy process at CBS. It was a tough year, we lost our biggest daughter-company, Spisestuerne, and had the most political year we’ve had for a long time. I’m thankful that I had already been Vice President for a year at that point, otherwise I would have run for the hills.”

In short, Sarah Diemar will have three main issues on her agenda when she joins the other student representative on the board, Tobias Munch.

  1. A more inclusive and social intro program
  2. Campus development with students in focus
  3. Room for innovation in and outside classrooms

These issues are all firmly rooted in the social environment.

“Intro and the social aspect of being a student have always been my biggest priority. The social environment is where we meet each other. At Nexus and via Intro. This is where I discuss exams, ideas, projects and build my career alongside my peers. That’s one of the main reasons why I chose CBS back then, because of the many interesting people I could meet. And sometimes I still get surprised by the ambition, work ethic, and creativity among my friends from CBS,” she says.

She wants to improve the social environment and help students to meet teachers – also physically.

“In two years’ time, I hope we will have reached agreement on intro. Not just intro, but the whole social environment, as support of the academic environment and not its opposite. And I hope we will have better guidelines on what is expected from our students, with a campus that supports the social environment,” she says and adds:

“To strengthen our ambition to have transformational students, we need to create spaces for innovation, both metaphorically as well as physically. Right now, I have difficulty seeing how we can educate transformative students in traditional classrooms.”

You are speeding along at 700 km/h while I’m doing 50

CBS is currently taking its first steps to implement the new strategy. A strategy and process that Sarah Diemar was deeply engaged in as the President of CBS Students in 2020. She will therefore keep a close eye on how the implementation process is panning out, as she was not too satisfied with the strategy-making process last year.

“No one will be surprised if I say that I think the strategy process went too fast. The organization cannot keep up with the changes. While I believe there are a lot of positive things in the strategy, I think the board is currently driving 700 kilometers an hour, while the organization is doing 50. That’s why I think we need more people within the board to remind them that we have to bring along more than 22,000 students and 500 employees,” she says and continues:

“This strategy will not succeed if we don’t have the organization with us. And you can’t make radical changes while people are not present at CBS, as people will feel ostracized.”

Let’s not move in a standardized direction, but stay unique

Sarah Diemar

Therefore, she will be the one asking questions when new changes are proposed.

“I’m afraid that in our eagerness to develop ourselves we risk moving too far away from our core values, and community building. We should not ask ourselves whether or not intro, Nexus, and Union celebrations are important for the student environment – ask our alumni why they feel connected to CBS, and you’ll have your answer,” she says and continues:

“We shouldn’t ask ourselves whether or not we have the right students, either. Students are the core of our university. If we see an unequal intake affecting society, we should ask ourselves how we’ll make sure that doesn’t happen instead of questioning the hardworking people who are already here. And most importantly, when we’re making changes, we should always make sure to ask ourselves why – and make sure that our internal experts are included in that decision.”

From her seat on the Board of Directors, Sarah Diemar wants to remind people why CBS is unique as it is and that CBS should not strive to lose what makes it special.

“Let’s not move in a standardized direction, but stay unique. I hear from students and alumni that CBS is unique because of connections. Between the professors and the program design, between the disciplines, and between the students and their programs. That’s both a result of the matrix structure and the interdisciplinary environment. If you, for example, study sociology your math professor is capable of explaining his calculations from a perspective of a sociologist, and that is special,” she says and continues:

We can undoubtedly improve CBS, and I hope to support that development through my new seat on the board. However, my main mission is to ensure we don’t forget our core in the process, so the next generation of students will also be able to say that CBS was one of the best choices they ever made.”

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