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A new Danish university

Sigge Winther wants a revolution within the Danish state — and it all starts with the universities. Source ↓

A new class of entrepreneurial officials is to save the state from inertia and system failure. It requires a completely new university to educate these people — a kind of über-officials.

Winther is 'deputy director' in the Danish union Djöf which organizes some 80. 000 people - among others lawyers, economists, academics and students from the social sciences and business administration.

A stagnating society

Winther says that ..

Because the Danish political machine is stagnating, argues Winther. The Danish state and its 700,000 employees have lost the ability to drive political changes.

Winther says that the universities have to become the driving engine to invigorate the State. He argues that new ideas and skills originating at universities have historically been necessary to change and upgrade the states apparatus. He refers to the German Humboldt universities that changed the perception of universities and their role in transforming society.

Winther argues for a new model more based on the holistic American Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) enW organization that was set up to solve cold war problems.

The new university must have a 100 per cent focus on problem-solving and be built up over the DARPA model, where you bring stakeholders together from the private sector, civil society, the public sector and the world of research. I think that you have to fundamentally think about it like that. Because the state cannot solve fundamental problems itself today.

Sigge Winther sums up ...

Most people who have been in organisations know how difficult it is to build up something on top of all the structures that already exist. A university is something – in this world – where there is so much embedded culture and structure. You cannot change this by setting up some kind of new master’s degree programme. It calls for Humboldt-like reforms.

Comment by Johan Schlasberg.

A central question is if today's university structures with their resilience to change are suitable to lead a new major effort to improve society? My take is that Winther is quite sceptical and hopes for a major new undertaking.

Source: University Post, Copenhagen university, May 27, 2021

Published: June 2021   Updated: June 9, 2021