University democracy

Mar 22, 2021

Team Hagen: Margareth Hagen, Pinar Heggernes, Annelin Eriksen, Gottfried Greve

Our university has something that has become increasingly rare: an elected rector. Out of the 10 universities in Norway, only three are left with this form of governance: University of Oslo, University of Agder, and our university.

Arctic University of Norway – UiT was the last university to change their governance from elected to hired rector very recently. The University of Stavanger did the same in 2019.  It is a university board with elected internal (and appointed external) members that decides such a change. In the case of a hired rector, it is the university board who selects the new rector from a list of applicants for an announced position. In this case, the university board must have an external chair, so a university can actually end up getting two external people in the most leading positions.

We are glad and proud that our university is carrying the long-standing democratic tradition of an elected rector, together with University of Oslo. At both universities this form of governance has very high support among the students and the colleagues. All colleagues, both in academic and non-academic positions, as well as all the students can vote at the rector elections. At our university, colleagues who have at least 50% positions and have a position for at least one year, can vote. This means in particular that most of our PhD students, postdocs and researchers can vote. The votes of the academic staff are weighted 51%, the votes of the administrative and technical staff 24%, and the votes of the students 25%.

It is now time to elect a new rector for our university! The election is conducted electronically during March 22 – March 25, 2021, and here is how you can vote. There are two rector candidates, each with a deputy rector candidate. Rector and deputy rector are elected in pairs. You can read about the two competing teams on their respective web pages: www.teamhagen.no and www.teamsamdal.no as well as via the university election pages.

There have been several broadcasts of election debates with the two teams, and the official one has English captions. There have been debates on gender balance, communication and outreach, university democracy, and with the students.

We encourage all our colleagues and students to get involved, form an informed opinion, and vote at the election. Godt valg!