New development contract 2015-2017 – CBS may be underfunded, but we are also ambitious
By: The Senior Management
For many years CBS has tried to get the Ministry of Higher Education and Science to recognise that CBS is underfunded compared to other Danish universities. We have succeeded in our efforts with the three-year development contract, which the Board of Directors has just concluded with CBS' owner; the Minister. The Minister and the Board of Directors have also agreed to make an ambitious contract for the next three years within the financial framework .
Recognised that CBS is underfunded
CBS is underfunded compared to other Danish universities. The basic research funding per student full-time equivalent (FTE) is the lowest of all Danish universities. CBS has stated this on countless occasions over the years to almost anyone who would listen, but it has been very difficult to get this point across.
That is probably because CBS has adapted to this framework and delivered education programmes of a very high and internationally recognised standard – as underlined by our large number of applicants, the low unemployment rate among our graduates, and our triple crown accreditation.
For the past three years, CBS has increased the VIP-DVIP ratio (permanent vs. part-time academic staff) and decreased the student-teacher ratio. This has been done through the use of our equity, which is viable only for a period of time; then costs and income must be balanced. In 2012 CBS announced that it would have to reduce costs from 2015 if structural income was not increased.
Structural income has not been increased. Therefore, as laid down in 2012, CBS must reduce costs. This will have consequences for the number of permanent research staff members at CBS. CBS' principal demand at the negotiations with the Minister of Higher Education and Science has therefore been for the new development contract to reflect the limitations imposed by our financial framework. To underline the Board of Director's support of this line of negotiations with the Ministry, the Vice-Chairman has participated in a negotiation meeting with the Ministry.
The negotiations coincided with the publication of the second report by the government's Committee for Quality and Relevance of Higher Education Programmes in November 2014. The report explicitly pointed out the problem of CBS' funding. The committee writes i.a.:
"Both in terms of student numbers and proportion of value-added funding CBS has the lowest level of basic funds for research. It is particularly noteworthy that the total education and research funds per student full-time equivalent (STÅ) at CBS is at the same level or below the funds at six of the nine business academies, where there is no demand for study programmes to be research-based."
CBS found the dialogue with the Minister and officials regarding the development contract to be very positive. There has been a mutual understanding that CBS' structural limitations should be reflected in the contract, but that we should also set ambitious objectives for CBS within the structural framework created by CBS' funding.
Therefore the development contract - as signed by the Minister - now clearly describes how CBS' VIP/DVIP and student/teacher ratios will see a negative development in the next three years, and it is clearly stated that this is a consequence of CBS' funding.
Ambitious objectives for the next three years
But CBS is an ambitious institution and we always strive to improve, as is also reflected in the new development contract.
A number of the objectives in the development contract are transferred from the last contract, two examples being student satisfaction and external funding. The ambition is for CBS to continue to improve its performance on these parameters. It will be a challenge. We have not been able to meet the objectives for student satisfaction and external funding for the contract period 2012-2014, which is not satisfactory.
In the research area we will maintain the objective for the number of BFI points per VIP - an increase of 3 percent in 2017 compared to 2013 - but we are adding an objective for the number of BFI2 points to increase our focus on research quality. We will therefore also keep our objectives for the number of articles published in ABS 4 and 4* journals and FT45 in absolute figures in a situation where we expect to have fewer researchers in 2017 - so an increase in the number of publications per VIP.
New objectives have also been added to the contract for areas that CBS is already focusing on, e.g. increasing the use of ICT in teaching. The objective here is for CBS as a minimum to double the number of courses where at least 25 % of the teaching will be online in 2017 compared to 2013. In other words, CBS wants to go in the direction of more blended learning.
Another area that CBS is already focusing on is the need for more female applicants to academic positions and particularly professorships. A Diversity and Inclusion Council is already appointed, with the President as chairman, to work with these equality questions.
But now the contract will also include objectives on increasing the number of qualified applicants for professorships from 17 % in 2013 to 25 % in 2017. This is by no means a new issue and initiatives have already been launched to improve the situation. It will require great focus and creativity to reach our objective.
The Minister has also wanted to focus on higher education institutions' contribution to social mobility. CBS has therefore committed itself to evaluating our admission criteria in quota 2 in regard to their effect on social mobility, and CBS will cooperate with those upper secondary education institutions from which CBS receives few students.
Overall it is a good development contract for CBS. It will take the commitment and creativity of the entire organisation for CBS to reach its objectives by 2017.