31 October 2014

New Head of Department at the Department of Anthropology


Helle Samuelsen continues in her position as Head of the Department of Anthropology at the Faculty of Social Sciences for a new term of 5 years.

Helle Samuelsen

Photographer: Jakob Dall

"Helle Samuelsen will set a clear course for the Department of Anthropology. She will develop the academic profile of both research and education, and she will strengthen the Department’s external profile," says Dean Troels Østergaard Sørensen, the Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Copenhagen.

In deciding to keep management responsibility with Helle Samuelsen, Dean Troels Østergaard Sørensen follows the recommendation of the employment committee that she starts a new term as Head of Department on 1 January 2015. Helle Samuelsen is Associate Professor in Anthropology at the Department.

The Department has a strong profile

Helle Samuelsen is 54 years old, and trained as an anthropologist at University of Copenhagen (UCPH). Before taking over the position as Head of Department in 2007, she was Associate Professor in Anthropology at the Department of International Health at the Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences at UCPH.

During Helle Samuelsen’s latest term as Head of the Department of Anthropology, the Department has become one of Europe’s largest anthropological research institutions with a strong international research profile. Students are required to have very high grades to be admitted to the anthropology study programme, and each year the Department gets a large number of applications from highly qualified applicants.

Focus on cross-disciplinarity

Helle Samuelsen has a very clear cross-disciplinary focus. She has played an important role in developing the Faculty’s new cross-disciplinary MA study programme, 'Global Development', to which the first year group of students has just been admitted. She also played an active role in developing the 'Global Health' study programme at the Faculty of Health Sciences at UCPH. Furthermore, her cross-disciplinary focus is reflected by the fact that many researchers and members of the administrative staff at the Department take part in the cross-disciplinary '2016 projects' at UCPH.

New big challenges

Helle Samuelsen will commit herself strongly to developing and communicating to the private sector that anthropologists have competences which enable them to make valuable contributions to private companies, and she will focus on graduates’ employment options upon obtaining their degree.

"The Department of Anthropology faces new big challenges related to the Study Progress Reform, and the government’s plan to re-dimension the study programme. The study programme will need to be organized to help ensure that students progress at the right pace throughout their studies. At the same time the study programme must aim at ensuring employment opportunities for graduates. More anthropologists need to find employment in the private sector, and the studies need to qualify them for that," says Troels Østergaard Sørensen.

Management experience a crucial qualification

Helle Samuelsen brings with her substantial management experience from her work as Head of Department, and furthermore she takes part in management tasks outside the UCPH. For instance she is member of the board of the Danish Institute for International Studies (DIIS), and member of the Danida Council for Development Policy.

"The employment committee finds that Helle Samuelsen’s management experience is essential for solving the future challenges in relation to education and sharpening the Department’s external profile. I expect for Helle Samuelsen to ensure leadership for the Department with a focus on clear communication, and successful cooperation making it possible to reach common goals,” says Troels Østergaard Sørensen.


Dean Troels Østergaard Sørensen
Faculty of Social Sciences
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