Omnibus prik

“We basically love teaching”

They both love teaching the students at the Department of Business Communication; but for Claus Christensen teaching is now no more than a sideline, while Nick Bo Todberg Madsen is looking for pastures new after seven years of teaching because his contract cannot be renewed.

[Translate to English:] »Jeg havde det som en lejesvend, der blev kastet rundt efter andres forgodtbefindende.« Sådan beskriver Claus Christensen ansættelsesvilkårene som DVIP. I dag har han arbejde i en NGO, men kan ikke helt slippe undervisningen på AU. Foto: Lise Balsby
[Translate to English:] For få år siden var de 150 DVIP’er på Institut for

On 31 August Nick Bo Todberg Madsen’s contract with AU runs out. After seven years at AU he has just been told that his contract cannot be renewed because this is his third temporary appointment at AU. He has an MA in Philosophy and Danish, and has taught the theory of culture and society, reception analysis, the philosophy of science and journalistic text production at the Department of Business Communication.

“This is the end of the road. If I want to stay on I’ll have to do a PhD. I have considered this, but haven’t been able to find the right project. So I’ve started applying for other jobs,” he says.

He accepts the situation.

“I don’t see myself as a victim. But I do think it’s a structural problem for the organisation. The university is losing an awful lot of experience, teaching competences and insight into the way different subjects interact with each other.”

What is quality?

Todberg Madsen understands the demand for research-based teaching, but feels that the precise meaning of the concept has not been explained sufficiently.

“What is quality in this connection? The competences required of our lecturers haven’t been defined well enough. It’s just too easy to ask PhD students to teach and call it research-based teaching. There are also plenty of researchers who would rather do research than teach; but ideally our teachers should enjoy their teaching, surely?”

“And we do love our teaching,” he underlines.

Frustrating in the long run

Claus Christensen has been teaching at the department since 2004 (text and picture analysis, among other things). At first this was his main job, but the uncertain nature of his employment grew too frustrating in the long run.

“I was constantly having to apply for supplementary benefit, mostly because you’re only allowed to teach 780 hours a year – which is not enough for full-time employment. But it’s also because I wasn’t told until just before the start of the semester whether I’d be getting the teaching hours I’d applied for or not. It was like being a mercenary who depended on the whims of other people, and it was really frustrating,” he says.

As a result, he now has a 30-hour-a-week job at the information department of an NGO, and is no longer financially dependent on his income from AU. Even so, he still does some teaching at the department.

“I basically think that teaching is great fun. It’s a way of keeping up to date with my subject, and I think there are plenty of people like me who love teaching,” says Christensen.

“If I was offered a tenured position as a teacher, I’d take it immediately,” he says without hesitation.

But he does know that after nine years on a variety of contracts at AU, his contract might not be extended again.

“I’d be sorry to stop. It’s the end of an era in my life which I have enjoyed very much.”