Study start with personal character qualities as part of curriculum

As something new, 300 new students will be helped with their ability to reflect on character qualities such as courage, presence, and curiosity.

When the new academic year started for 2,000 new students at Business Academy Aarhus in August, reflection exercises became part of their teaching in a new subject offered on several of our programmes.  

‘Academic development is not enough. Students must also develop personally and socially so that they are strong contenders for the labour market and for life in general,’ says Rector Anne Storm Rasmussen.

Mathias has become more courageous

Over the last couple of years, more than 700 students have been successfully taught personal skills and character traits in addition to their other subjects. One of them is Mathias Priego Christiansen.

‘I have better control of myself and have become more courageous,’ the 24-year-old student concludes about the course, which included winter swimming and meditation.

Maria feels stronger mentally

Maria Eg Rabek from our Bachelor in Nature and Agricultural Management (only available in Danish) has also been pleased with the subject concerned with personal qualities.

‘I feel stronger mentally,’ she concludes.

Sceptical at first

At first, Maria was sceptical about, for example, having to reflect on ethical dilemmas and think about when she feels brave and curious. Today, she believes that the subject should be compulsory in all programmes.

‘It helps identify your pitfalls and bad habits. It's super relevant.’

Danish Chamber of Commerce: Importance of personal competencies

At one of Denmark's largest business and employer organisations, the Danish Chamber of Commerce, Head of Education and Research Policy, Mads Eriksen Storm, sees the advantage in working actively to strengthen students' personal skills.

‘We know that personal skills – in addition to academic skills – are important in the labour market, so it's exciting and relevant that they are brought so systematically into play in education,’ he says.

Graduates with self-awareness have job advantage

Morten Agerholm is Senior Category Manager in Denmark's largest retail group Salling Group and hires ten new employees a year – typically marketing specialists and purchasers. If the graduates know their personal and professional strengths and weaknesses, they often get to the front of the job queue.

‘It is alpha and omega that the graduates know themselves. The personal aspect means a lot,’ says Morten Agerholm.

Recipe that works

In the long term, the teaching of character traits will be included in all of the Academy's 27 programmes. According to Senior Lecturer Susanne Østergaard Olsen, it is a recipe that works.

‘For several years, we have been researching how teaching personal skills and character traits can increase students' maturity and well-being. At the same time, research results show that qualities such as courage, curiosity and presence are becoming increasingly important and in demand for the Danish labour market. Therefore, it makes good sense to offer the subject to all our students,’ she says.