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The settlement system shows the way for joint solutions across faculties

Assessors in other countries get their expenses refunded more quickly. A new settlement system at the graduate schools at Health, NAT and TECH has reduced the processing time from two months to five working days. This is a good example of how cross-faculty systems can improve service – and there is positive feedback from the assessors.

Every year, more than 300 international assessors visit Health, NAT and TECH to participate in PhD defences. This benefits the graduate schools enormously, and even though it sounds like a relatively small group, considerable resources used to go to administering reimbursement of the expenses associated with the visits. A new settlement system has now changed that. 

Since 1 June this year, international settlements at the graduate schools at Health, NAT and TECH has become significantly more flexible.

Christina B.B. Christensen, a PhD administrator at Health, NAT and TECH and a central part of the project, is impressed by the significant improvements that have taken place over a short period of time."The overall objective of the project has been to ensure that our international assessors have a positive experience in their encounter with AU’s administration. Previously, it took up to two months for us to refund the assessors' expenses to them. With the new system, we can do it within five working days. So it’s no surprise that we’ve received a lot of positive feedback about this,"she said.

Previously, international assessors had to fill out a variety of forms by hand. This was time-consuming, both for them and for the administrators at AU who had to go through the forms afterwards. The new system brings all the necessary documentation in connection with settlements together in one place. This is also an advantage in relation to GDPR, because all of the information is now saved in a closed system.

The advantages of knowledge exchange across faculties

 Christina B. B.   Christensen is particularly pleased that there has already been positive feedback from the assessors.She also believes that the project is a good example of the advantages of having administrative departments that serve multiple faculties.

"Being able to draw on each other's experiences from the faculties and administrative units involved has led to a good dynamic in this project. This makes it possible to shake things up and take a new approach. At the same time, it gives the individual employee a greater understanding of AU as an organisation, because they work closely with colleagues from many other parts of the university,"explained Christina B.B. Christensen.

However, she emphasises that the transition to new systems and workflows is always difficult – and that this project was no exception.

"Even though we followed the same ministerial order before we merged into a single administration for Health, NAT and TECH, we did international reimbursements in different ways. So we have spent some time on this – and will continue to do so. But in my view, a project like this is a way of pushing collaboration across the faculties in the right direction," she said.

In addition to the graduate schools at Health, NAT and TECH, the settlement system has also been implemented at Arts.

About PhD and talent administration at Health, NAT and TECH:

  • The unit was established in February this year as the result of a merger between the Graduate School of Health and the graduate school administration at Nat-Tech. It consists of approx. 30 employees.
  • The unit is responsible for administering the faculties' approx. 1400 PhD students.
  • It is responsible for administrative tasks in connection with job postings, enrolment, stipends, qualifying exams, work and residence permits, HR and staff administration and assessments at all three faculties. They are also responsible for administering approx. 150 PhD courses annually.
  • Read more about about PhD and talent administration at Health, NAT and TECH.

About the series:

In this series of articles, University Director Arnold Boon highlights important operational tasks being carried out in various corners of the administration. The aim of the series is to give administrative employees insight into what kinds of tasks their colleagues in the administration perform, and to highlight some of the tasks that are performed behind the scenes.