A Small University -With Good Ambitions
Increased curiosity in Greenland means that academic spotlight is being shone on Ilisimatusarfik, the country’s only university.
Text: Tanny Por, greenland today November 2013
While Ilisimatusarfik, the University of Greenland only had 150 students in 2007 this figure has since grown four times that size, but it is still a tiny university.
– We are small and we have many challenges, but there are a lot of expectations and therefore we must have good ambitions, says Rector Tina Pars, who has been leading at the helm since 2009.
With a total of 600 students enrolled at any given time, Ilisimatusarfik is Greenland’s main higher education institution.
The university teaches social and political sciences in the Arctic, cultural and social history; language, literature and media; translation and interpreting; journalism; social work; theology; teaching; and nursing.
Nature and Science
A collaboration is beginning to address this gap through a PhD program between the Greenland Institute of Natural Resources and Ilisimatusarfik. Housed within the Institute’s Greenland Climate Research Centre (GCRC), the PhD program focuses on current issues for society, climate and the environment.
– This collaboration with the University is the beginning of something bigger, and education and communication will be central activities in the coming years, says Mark Nuttall, Professor of Climate and Society at Ilisimatusarfik and GCRC and Professor of Anthropology, University of Alberta.
New master degree
One of the most exciting projects launching soon is a new Nordic master programme between five universities in Iceland, Northern Norway, the Faroe Islands and Greenland.
– As part of our internationalisation strategy we are creating a joint two-year master programme that will focus on core issues in governance and sustainable management in the North Atlantic region, Rector Pars says.
– The Greenlandic students will spend a compulsory semester overseas, something we have had difficulty promoting in the past.
Positively, it means that a cluster of political science subjects will be officially offered in English, a groundbreaking development for a university primarily teaching in Greenlandic and Danish.
A flexible University
Master student Karsten Jensen first studied medicine in Denmark, but soon after decided that was not for him. So he went back home to study political science.
– At the same time, the small classes and limited study options mean that it is also good to complement this with a broader international education.
Jensen is definitely doing that. He spent one semester in the Danish parliament, which eventually became the basis for his bachelor thesis, and then three months in Korea working at the Danish Embassy.
– The University is very flexible with international opportunities. I am now fortunate to be an intern at the Greenlandic Representation in Brussels.
– I can only call for more Greenlandic students to apply for internships or an exchange, wherever it will be. The whole world is interested in Greenland these days, ends Jensen.
Read the full article from the magazine hereIlisimatusarfik_dk_uk