Rector wants to go back to research

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“I’d like to end my career the way it started.”  Ib Poulsen explains his decision to return to research and teaching when his current contract as RUC’s rector expires on 22 September 2014.

Rektor340Do you plan to study Danish at RUC?

If you do, you may well have the RUC’s current rector, Ib Poulsen, as one of your professors, because from September 2014, he will no longer be found in the Rector’s Office in Building 30, but at the Department of Culture and Identity, where he will be teaching in the new Danish Media programme and working as a researcher in media.

A few weeks ago, the head of our university informed RUC’s Board of Directors that he did not wish to extend his current five-year contract, which has run since 2009. Ib Poulsen explains that it has always been his plan to return to doing research at RUC:

“When I was appointed in 2009, I was offered a six-year contract. Instead, I asked for a five-year contract, because when it expires I will have turned 65.  I feel that would be a fitting time to resign so I would be able to return to the professorship I had before becoming rector.  That way, I would be able to end my career where it started.”

Perhaps because he used to be a researcher himself, Ib Poulsen has no qualms about becoming a colleague to the professors who he has been the boss of for the past five years.

“It will be a new situation, of course, but I’m looking forward to it. I truly hope that I still have something to contribute professionally and academically to both students and colleagues. Some of my future colleagues have actually told me they’re looking forward to having me back,” he explains.

Reforms and redundancies

Rector Poulsen can look back on a very eventful time at the helm of RUC. One of the major challenges he faced was implementing the educational reform, starting in 2010.

“I look forward to going back. I truly hope that I still have something to contribute professionally and academically to both students and colleagues. Some of my future colleagues have actually told me they’re looking forward to having me back.”

Among other things, the reform involves a new structure for RUC’s basic study programmes, away from the old system with two years of basic studies followed by electives and moving to the current system of 18 months of basic studies followed by electives. In addition, students in the graduate study programmes now have more choice in selecting and combining subjects.

“It’s been an exciting challenge to help the University implement the reforms,” says Ib Poulsen.

Another significant challenge he faced was to fulfil the requirements for administrative cutbacks.

“I can’t tell you how very difficult it was to say goodbye to some very dedicated employees that, as it turned out later, we actually needed. I could have done without that,” he says with a light sigh.

Despite the challenges and the difficult act of balancing between autonomy and requirements from higher up, Ib Poulsen does not regret accepting the five-year post as rector in 2009: “I wouldn’t have done without my five years as rector,” he says.

It is still unknown who will take over as head of RUC after Poulsen. He declines to venture a guess as to who his successor will be.

“It is entirely up to the Board of Directors to determine who will be the new rector. I have no say in the matter, which is the way it should be.”

Ib Poulsen‘s CV

[born 8 January 1949)

MA (Danish and psycholinguistics from the University of Copenhagen (1974)

(PhD in the humanities) – doctorate on communication in teaching Danish as a subject (1982)

Associate professor of languages and media research at the Department of Nordic (Philology) at the University of Copenhagen.

Professor of Danish and Linguistic Pedagogy at the Danish School of Education, 1999–2002.

Professor of Danish and Media Science at Roskilde University’s Department of Culture and Identity, 2002–2006.

Dr.phil.  (doctorate): Doctoral thesis was  “Radiomontagen og dens rødder” 2006

Head of the Department of Culture and Identity, Roskilde University, 2002–2006.

Rector of Roskilde University, 2009–

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