Jan Tønnesvang takes up the position as head of department at the Department of Psychology and Behavioural Sciences

When Carsten Rene Jørgensen took up the position as head of department on 1 June 2014, it was in collaboration with Jan Tønnesvang, who became deputy head of department. Back then, the two agreed to swap places when they were halfway through the period. And they are now. This means that as of 1 December 2015, Jan Tønnesvang has taken over the position as head of department.

2015.12.04 | Tine Bagger Christiansen

Jan Tønnesvang. Photo: Tine Bagger

How has sharing the leadership between the two of you been so far?
Being two leaders has been a positive experience because we inspire and support each other. It has gone really well, so I would recommend it.

Do you have any goals or have you given your leadership any thoughts?
Right from the start, the point of being two leaders was to try to focus on the relationship between the department as a whole and the individual people or units in the department - and to make this relationship as harmonious as possible. As an employee, you are a team player for the department, but you are also an individualist with individual interests. I want to continue working on developing this relationship as a kind of strategic coordination which focuses on creating coherence between the many highly qualified potentials at the department and our shared and overall tasks.

What important tasks is the department facing at the moment?
Currently, we are not as challenged financially as we were when Carsten Rene took up the position as head of department. However, now we are facing other challenges such as the study progress reform and the upcoming cutbacks. In this connection, it is all about taking stock of the external demands and expectations and then adopting a proactively critical approach to these expectations while nurturing the internal talent mass. On the basis of the continuos development of our field, we also need to consider what to focus on. Both in terms of how we contribute at Aarhus BSS level, and how we consider the world around us in our field. What are the demands for our field in relation to the great societal changes we are facing and what is the position of our field in all this?

It is a good - and incredibly important - thing to have specialists at a very high level, but we also need people with a broader perspective. Our field is facing a challenge which connects all of these things, i.e. that we become better and better at specialising while considering the whole and the very substance of our field and the societal needs of the future.

In short: With me as a department head, we must continue to focus on creating the best possible conditions for our existing work in the entire department. At the same time, we are also facing some overall strategic considerations - both from politicians and on Aarhus BSS level - which we must take into account and try to meet.  If our department is able to accommodate both the strategic considerations and an international outlook, I believe that our strong research traditions and degree programmes will become even more influential than they are today. And that will bode well for the future!

I look forward to being head of department! At the same time, I approach the task with humility. So now we will just have to see how it goes.

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