Candidates for the NTNU Board election
Presentations of the candidates for the NTNU Board election. The elections for permanent academic staff and technical-administrative staff is finished.
Norsk: Kandidater til styrevalget.
Table of Contents [-]
- Permanent academic staff
- Michael Francis Duch, Professor (HF)
- Øyvind Eikrem, Associate Professor (SU)
- Anne C. Elster, Professor (IE)
- Ulla Forseth, Professor (SU)
- Ingunn Hagen, Professor (SU)
- Gøril Thomassen Hammerstad, Professor (HF)
- Gørill Haugan, Professor at the Department of Public Health and Nursing (MH)
- Arve Hjelseth, Associate Professor (SU)
- Brita Fladvad Nielsen, Associate Professor (AD)
- Bjørn Helge Skallerud, Professor (IV)
- Aksel Tjora, professor (SU)
- Tim Torvatn, Associate Professor (ØK)
- Ingrid Bouwer Utne, Professor (IV)
- Nina Lager Vestberg, Professor (HF)
- Temporary academic staff
- Technical-administrative staff
Permanent academic staff #
Michael Francis Duch, Professor (HF) #
I want good framework and working conditions for NTNU's employees. I am concerned with high quality research and teaching, and to succeed, we must have good teaching facilities, laboratories, and a good administrative support function. I am concerned that employees should have the best possible working conditions to spend their working hours on the core business: teaching and research.
In addition, I want to encourage more international cooperation. NTNU is a broad university that works with important international issues, whether it is climate technology, international politics, medicine or in the arts. The pandemic has shown that through collaboration across national borders, the research communities have managed to mobilize a coronary vaccine in record time. The same must be done to solve other global challenges such as the climate crisis. Here, I believe NTNU should use the strength of the good academic environments, and that we work more across disciplines to find innovative solutions, while we ensure ethical and critical reflection.
As a musician, I am of course very interested in the role of the arts at a primarily technical-scientific university. How can we together raise the visibility and value of our joint research and teaching efforts nationally and internationally, and how can we together create good interdisciplinary projects?
NTNU has been through a demanding merger process. It will be important in the future to ensure good framework conditions for research and teaching for both "the old" and "new" NTNU. In recent years, more and more administrative work has been transferred to academic staff; I want a properly dimensioned and professionalized technical-administrative staff so that academic staff can spend as much time as possible on the core business.
A new campus is a great opportunity, but also a challenge. It is important that the new campus is adapted to the university's unique activities and not built on a public sector norm for public buildings. The engagement and involvement of employees and students will be important henceforward so that we get the best possible university for future students and a unified NTNU.
The large proportion of temporary employment is a challenge at the universities, and I was myself temporarily employed for several years. This is an important perspective which I want to take with me into the board work if I am elected.
There should be great engagement at a university, and I am concerned about the tolerance and respect for different opinions. I am also concerned about equality, gender balance and an inclusive work environment.
I have been a member of the Academy for Young Researchers (AYF) where one of the core issues for me was temporary employment, mobility, and the role of the arts at the universities. In AYF, I gained experience in contributing to the shaping of political framework conditions for academics, which is a valuable experience for the NTNU board work. I also have a lot of board experience from the cultural sector, locally and nationally.
Øyvind Eikrem, Associate Professor (SU) #
Universitetsavisa: Eikrem is a candidate for NTNU's Board (only in Norwegian).
Anne C. Elster, Professor (IE) #
In order for NTNU to excel, it is vital that its employees are given a great working environment in which they can thrive and participate in setting the direction of our core mission: helping students drink from the fountain of knowledge and enabling us to flourish at national and international levels in research and dissemination.
NTNU has become a large and diverse organization where there is an undue amount of focus on the Trondheim campus project and the merging of the new NTNU. We cannot let this continue to happen at the expense of NTNU´s core mission which Norway's future depends on. Decisions should be made as decentralized and bottom-up as possible, and employees integrated in decisions that affect their own work environment, including office, laboratory, and teaching rooms. NTNU should also take advantage of its internal expertise and rely less on external consultants.
NTNU must also fight for its independent role as a knowledge institution that should not be run as an entity micromanaged by the Ministry of Education and Research (KD).
You should vote for me since I will be a fearless representative that will be a clear and effective advocate for NTNU´s employees. I have a passion for teaching, research, and dissemination, and for promoting NTNU nationally and internationally. I can also dig into complex board cases since I can build on my experience as the current first deputy member on the Board. My area of expertise in computing, which is also an asset when it comes to understanding the choices and impact of an organization that is becoming more and more digitized.
Ulla Forseth, Professor (SU) #
Communication across disciplines, languages and cultures has been important in my choice of studies in the humanities and social sciences, and positions.
Work creates peopleI am concerned about the working conditions (permanent position, salary, working hours) and the content of the job (work tasks, trust and opportunities for development). As an educational and research institution, NTNU is dependent on skilled researchers and inspiring lecturers. However, we are getting more and more administrative tasks in addition to our core tasks, often "wrapped up" in terms such as "efficiency", "quality assurance" and students' "legal security". This development means that there is less time for creative activities and especially research suffers, which in turn provides less research-based teaching.
Gender equality and diversityNTNU is at a low level when it comes to the proportion of women in professorships, and this can not only be explained away with our technology profile. The time has come for better gender balance to utilize human resources and offer more diversity of role models to students.
Social missionThe degree of temporary employment is increasing, and some of our colleagues internationally have to "audition" in order to renew their contracts with the risk of being "voted out". We must avoid this, and NTNU must promote and live up to the values of the Norwegian model of working life.
NTNU’s main challenges at the global level are to promote knowledge, be a supplier of premises and contribute to increased (international) cooperation on societal challenges such as pandemics, green change, sustainability, conflicts and growing inequality, exclusion, and marginalization. At the local level, the challenges are a campus solution that promotes a good working environment, multidisciplinary collaboration, and spaces for dialogue-based teaching. Better gender balance in top positions and arenas for collective participation.
I have broad experience from research and university with interdisciplinary project collaboration and experience as a board member and shop steward at SINTEF. Among other subjects, I have researched organizational change processes, evaluation devices, bi- and tripartite cooperation and the importance of the Norwegian model of working life and welfare. I look at the role as a board representative as both a "watchdog" and a "partner".
Ingunn Hagen, Professor (SU) #
As a psychologist, a university culture that safeguards and contributes to growth, development and good use of human resources is important to me. As a media expert, I am a interested in digital media and how they have changed our lives, something that is expressed in all activity at the university, both research, teaching and all communication in and from the organization.
As a professor at NTNU, it is important to me that the university will continue to be an institution for free and creative research, constructive and critical thinking, and good research-based education. The relevance of the university's activities to society is important, and I see no contradiction in emphasising both basic research and applied research. I also perceive it as important to be informed about global discussions and the latest research results. Personally, I have greatly enjoyed a lot of international research collaboration and research visits abroad, something that has given me insight into different university cultures.
I perceive myself as a distinct humanist. Diversity at the university, both in terms of identity (gender, ethnicity, level of function, nationality, race, religion, etc), as well as different views of science, academic institutions and political views, are important issues in my mind. It is also important that the university is distinguished by democratic processes and have bodies where both staff and students can have real possibilities for co-determination.
In my view, it is important that NTNU makes research-based choices for organization and leadership, rather than being guided by "new public management" and commercialization ideals. It is important to facilitate high-quality research and teaching, and further develop these core areas.
In terms of future challenges and priorities, NTNU has very talented staff and students. The institution must increasingly both appreciate and contribute to the continued development of its human resources. At the same time, NTNU must contribute to providing the society with relevant and innovative knowledge. The Corona pandemic has forced new, home-based forms of work and more digital teaching methods over the past year. It will be important for NTNU to learn from these experiences in the future.
The world is experiencing an environmental crisis and therefore it is important that NTNU takes social responsibility and through research and education contributes to an environmentally sound development. Personally, I want to contribute to better utilization of both material and human resources. A university like NTNU must be professional, transparent, and trustworthy in all its activities. This is more important than reaching seemingly high reputation goals.
I also perceive it as a challenge for NTNU to contribute to a positive urban development rather than pursuing a centre-focused development policy as NTNU has done in recent years. NTNU should continue to be a positive power and a beacon of knowledge in Trondheim, and team up with other important institutions in the city.
Those who believe that I will be able to contribute to developing NTNU in a positive way in the future, must feel free to vote for me. But the most important thing is that people vote - this
year there are many great candidates who are nominated. My focus will be on further developing the human resources at NTNU.
Gøril Thomassen Hammerstad, Professor (HF) #
NTNU is a diverse organization. I know it well from being one of its employees for over 20 years and having gained leadership experience at different levels. Through interdisciplinary collaboration I have become thoroughly familiar with academic fields within the humanities and medicine, two widely different areas.
My broad knowledge of NTNU has made me critical of the standardization that is currently going on in the higher education sector. Streamlined decisions can lead to unfair solutions that employees do not feel ownership towards. Standardization is not conducive to co-determination; it may compromise local variation and local needs whether we are talking about forms of assessment, publication points or resource planning within teaching or other forms of activity. Therefore, I will be fighting for the right to a higher degree of self-determination for the individual disciplines.
To achieve local self-determination, one needs leaders who look to employees for support in decision-making. We need tailormade management courses created by people who know the organization and its framework conditions, and that are based on the fundamental principle of co-determination. Our leaders need to stand on firm ground both as academic leaders and as human resources managers. It can be tempting for leaders to rely on external forces instead of engaging in conflicts.
It is important to me to fight for broad co-determination at all levels in the organization. I have experience from the Board at the Faculty of Humanities which will no doubt come in handy. Every faculty is, however, different. As a board member I will fight to include the perspectives of all relevant parties in the various cases that come up, to duly highlight the complexities of those cases.
Gørill Haugan, Professor at the Department of Public Health and Nursing (MH) #
As a nurse and professor of health science, I am concerned that NTNU develops a health-promoting university culture that maintains and facilitates a good working environment, relations and collaboration within the departments as well as across departments and faculties. NTNU has very skilled staff and students; this is NTNU's greatest resource and the key to fulfilling its social mission in the best possible way.
As a nurse, I am particularly interested in the professional educations that were incorporated into the new NTNU from 2016. I have extensive experience (since 1989) from teaching, professional development, and research in the health sciences: I know the "old college sector" and the college culture well. The professional educations in general represent young sciences that will further develop their knowledge base and practices. For NTNU to fulfil its social mission in the best possible way, innovative research, development and implementation of knowledge within the professional educations is essential for society in the years to come.
I am particularly interested in free and creative research, as well as good educations. These are two sides of the same coin – knowledge development and knowledge dissemination.
As an employed professor at the Department of Public Health and Nursing, I am concerned that NTNU, as Norway's largest university, should be at the forefront of research with high quality research and teaching. Consequently, competence development is crucial along both career paths from associate professor to professor (førstelektor-dosent and førsteamanuensis-professor). I want good frameworks and working conditions for NTNU's employees. This also requires good teaching facilities, laboratories, and administrative support functions.
We now live in a highly digitalized reality, which the pandemic has further accelerated. This requires the development of good digital pedagogical learning methods. Thus, this area should be among NTNU's focus areas in the future. What did we learn during the pandemic? What should we further develop and prioritize?
Furthermore, we live in a pandemic that clearly demonstrates the importance of a global perspective. We now travel far less due to COVID-19; but we will not internationalize less for that reason. "Internationalization at home" is a term I believe should be consciously and clearly further developed. International cooperation and a global perspective on various issues will become even more important in the years to come. Thus, this should still be facilitated, but in new ways. Good utilization of both material and human resources will be crucial.
I perceive myself as a distinct social scientist, with a foot in the natural sciences. I am concerned with human resources as the key to NTNU continuing to be a useful social institution that facilitates free and creative research, constructive and critical thinking, and good research-based teaching. I am concerned with diversity, inclusion and equality, different views of science, academic directions, and political views. I will continue to promote the career development of female staff and will focus on safeguarding good democratic processes and co-determination at NTNU.
Those who believe that I can contribute to NTNU’s development for the better of society, employees, and students in the future, are welcome to vote for me. The most important thing, however, is that you vote! On your candidate. My main focus will be on the development of human resources and the competence of employees.
Arve Hjelseth, Associate Professor (SU) #
I have been employed at NTNU for several periods, the first time in 1993 at AVH, and have held a permanent position at NTNU since 2008. During the last six or seven years, I have become increasingly concerned about the situation of universities and colleges. If I were to be elected to the board, my general ambition is to represent a critical, but constructive correctie to the threats to the university’s autonomy. Both the government and working life have an excessive belief that "strategic" management by objective of both research and educational programmes can contribute to more efficient resource utilization. However, the universities' traditional autonomy is a value in itself, and probably gives better results in the long run. The development of universities should therefore be designed as far as possible on the basis of professional premises, not as responses to management signals, changing economic and other trends of the time.
NTNU's most important challenge in the years to come is, in addition to what has been mentioned above, probably related to the unified campus at Gløshaugen. As a board representative, I will, as far as possible, fight for the workplaces on campus to be adapted to how university employees work, and not how we should have worked, according to some architects and trend analysts.
Brita Fladvad Nielsen, Associate Professor (AD) #
There are, for me, two things that stand out as important: the fight against the commercialization of the university and the path to a more inclusive NTNU. I believe that both can be solved by working towards a more care-based university, where you use and see the strengths that lie in being a large public workplace. Regarding commercialization, we hear lately that NTNU should look for new financial funding model, including external sources of funding (BOA) which shall increase the quality of our core business. Recently, also continuing and further education (EVU) has received this role. That education should be free in Norway, suddenly does not apply as strongly. In addition, we have seen crazy economic incentive models based on target numbers, attacks on smaller disciplines and the professional environment and a mantra of large-scale operations; combined with a reform that emphasizes that each student should be a product that meets the needs of the industry. Another sign of increased commercialization is the lack of protection for critical research. We have seen that several research centres make publication agreements based on the wishes of public and private actors, which prevent a critical look at topics of societal value. NTNU has a great social responsibility to protect knowledge and critical thinking, and commercialization can threaten this responsibility. When it comes to a more inclusive university, we should deal with the class divisions that have been strengthened over the last twenty years: the divide between temporary and permanent staff, between international and Norwegian, and so on. Especially often we hear the story about how “eternal temporary” staff at NTNU is treated inhumanely and often in gray zones to such an extent that it fundamentally affects their lives.
NTNU's biggest challenge is to withstand the new public management storm and arrive at a model where all employees and students can feel meaning and belonging without too much steering by target numbers and top down management. New University Norway is part of a movement that works to bring out real alternatives, and here I want to contribute. If the many committed, human resources at NTNU feel part of a safe community , NTNU will be able to become more innovative, but also create long-term results of high quality for the benefit of society.
Bjørn Helge Skallerud, Professor (IV) #
I am committed to NTNU being an internationally recognized university and an inspiring and rewarding workplace. This is achieved by the best possible conditions for research and a good working environment. I am concerned with scientific staff being able to develop their research, teaching and innovation. Campus development will play an important role in this. We have ongoing large digitization projects, with the goal that the working day will be easier for both technical-administrative and scientific employees. Experience-wise, it does not always become so, and here we must avoid increased workload on the employees. NTNU's "savings/unused funds" can become a challenge. We should avoid the Ministry withdrawing money. NTNU must make the best use of the funds, preferably to achieve more research. Internal conflicts are negative for the working environment. The balance between the use of external consultants to solve such and NTNU's capacity to solve this at the lowest possible level, is an issue. Furthermore, NTNU's security policy and how the university adheres to the Export Control Act is an interesting topic that must be further developed.
NTNU is a very large and complex organization that shall provide significant research contributions to society. At the same time, our teaching will be modernized, and our employees need to increase their degree of innovation. All of this requires a lot of us, and it is important that everyone finds their balance in the working day and that one does not lose motivation. The challenge will be that management and staff are able to cooperate and find this balance.
I have worked as a professor at NTNU for over 20 years and have a lot of research and teaching experience. I am a co-founder of a small business and have experience from SINTEF in the past. In 2005, I established a research group within a new area connected to medical technology. This group is now at a high international level. Through this I have obtained a large professional network at NTNU after several years as a member of the Board of Directors for The Focus Area Medical Technology. Through this work, I have learned to know NTNU's research and structure very well. I have also been a union representative for almost 20 years for Tekna-NTNU, and knows very well NTNU's organisation, operations and management. Through this duty, I have seen many examples of problems that may arise and how these can be solved in good and bad ways.
Based on my versatile background, I will contribute to important input from the scientific employee's point of view to the board's discussions and assessments. I am proud to work at NTNU and want to contribute to further develop our great university.
Aksel Tjora, professor (SU) #
I am running for re-election to keep up a critical view on NTNU’s priorities across the board. In the current period, I have tried to firmly assert a need for strong professional ownership of decisions in a fight against centralized strategy management, both within NTNU and in our relationship with the ministry. The overall goal of the board should be to ensure that the professional communities can utilize and develop their resources in the best possible way.
The biggest challenge ahead will be to maintain the university's characteristics, such as academic autonomy, time for basic research, and to avoid bureaucratizing of our education. The academic communities must also gain ownership and predictability in the campus project. And we must become better at utilizing the financial leeway we have for professional development and not silly advertising campaigns, consultancy reports and other nonsense. People should vote for me if they think I've done a good job so far.
Tim Torvatn, Associate Professor (ØK) #
Central to my approach to the board position is to be a driving force for co-determination, participation, and local governance. The university is a knowledge company, where the academics should have the greatest possible autonomy and where the systems must be designed to enable the executive branch to use its high competence to develop good local solutions for teaching and research.
Three issues are particularly important in this connection:
1) Money should as far as possible be distributed to the academic environments: Economic decisions should to the greatest extent be taken locally, so that they can be adapted to the local expertise and used in a way which benefits the local production chain. This entails, among other things, a reduction of the RSO (institutional level strategic funding) for the benefit of the activities of the Departments. It is especially important to reduce the use of hired external consultants.
2) The academic environments decide what their workplaces should look like: The institutional level must find campus solutions that allow the academic environments to design their workplaces themselves, especially with regards to cell offices versus open solutions. This means that the academic environments must be involved early enough in the processes so that the buildings can be designed to allow for different local solutions.
3) More participation in the design of work processes and digital tools: The work processes and the digital tools we have available have a significant impact on how the employees can do their jobs. They must therefore be designed in close collaboration with those who will do the jobs and use the solutions. Flexibility is more important than standardization. Management must also be relationship-driven and designed to support the academic activity, not to control it or decide over it.
I am an important voice for participation and co-determination, and I support all forms of local influence in decisions. I have experience with, and interest in, the political aspects of the board work, and know the organization very well as I have been a student, doctoral student and employed here since 1984. Management is also my subject area. The most important thing, however, is that you use your voice to influence who sits on the board on your behalf!
Ingrid Bouwer Utne, Professor (IV) #
What is NTNU's biggest challenge ahead, and why should you vote for me?
We must prioritize solutions that eliminate time thieves and enable us to provide better teaching and research.
I teach students in courses at Bachelor, Master and PhD level, I supervise Masters´, Doctoral students and Post Docs, I am a researcher in an SFF, Deputy Head in an SFI, I have experience with project management from both research and industry projects, and I have close international cooperation.
Teaching and research are the main tasks of NTNU but making the working day go round is incredibly demanding. An important reason is the time thieves. Time thieves are tools and tasks that are pushed down over our heads, but which are not adapted to our everyday work, and which steal time from what we scientific employees should focus on, namely teaching and research.
This is because our working hours are seen as an infinite resource so that the real cost, e.g., by switching to Blackboard, implementation of Inspera, lack of project management tools, etc., is invisible to the central management and administration. Time thieves that lead to late nights, mouse arm, headaches and overworked eyesight are we the ones to experience. Time thieves mean that we are not able to give the students the attention they deserve, we do not get to write as good research applications as we want, we lack time to be creative and to solve research tasks, and we struggle to find time to support our younger colleagues. Time thieves make "knowledge for a better world" often seem more like an empty phrase than a reality. These are challenges I am sure many scientific staff are frustrated over. With my broad experience within NTNU's core areas, I will be able to contribute to increased focus on time thieves, assess if board matters actually will lead to an improvement of our working day, and work for that NTNU to a greater extent may contribute to fulfilling its social mission.
Nina Lager Vestberg, Professor (HF) #
Do you believe in democratic representation, transparency of process, and ethical action? Do you think a university should practise what it preaches? So do I! And I think NTNU has plenty of room for improvement in these areas.
This assessment is based on my experience through nearly thirteen years of full-time employment as an academic based in Dragvoll, Trondheim. Over the years I have served in a number of capacities throughout the organisation – from programme leader of a cross-faculty BA programme and village supervisor in Experts in Teamwork, to departmental board member and local union representative at faculty level – providing me with good insight into the various ways in which NTNU works. Having obtained all my university degrees in the UK, I am nevertheless capable of lifting my gaze from the immediate local context and consider issues regarding both NTNU and the wider Norwegian HE sector from the constructive viewpoint of an outsider.
If I am elected as one of the board representatives for full-time academic staff I will go to work with a passion for critical analysis of large bodies of text (incl. administrative reports!) and a persistent expectation of sustainable management, both of ecological and economic resources. My overarching goal is to enable real participatory decision-making, by all members of the university community, through the reinstatement of university democracy at all levels of the organisation.
Temporary academic staff #
Idd Andrea Christensen, PhD Candidate (NV) #
I believe that my experience as a representative of temporary staff in various posts enables me to provide valuable perspectives that would benefit the NTNU board. If elected, three main points are particularly close to my heart.
Firstly, the ongoing corona pandemic continues to affect the work situation of temporary staff. The pandemic has been handled very differently at department level, meaning that the needs of temporary staff have been met unequally across NTNU. Young researchers also find themselves in situation with no – or little opportunity to gain international experience and get the professional network necessary for future career development. To counter these negative effects, we need to develop novel solutions to ensure that researchers educated at NTNU remain relevant for future employment.
Secondly, I wish to continue the work related to improving the possibilities for participation and co-determination by temporary staff in situations that either directly - or indirectly affect their work situation. A recently published report by Fafo shows that the temporary staff at NTNU overall feel they have limited opportunities for participation and co-determination in their work situation. We must continue to develop platforms where the representatives for temporary staff can meet, discuss, and share information across NTNU.
Thirdly, I wish to highlight challenges that particularly affect our international temporary staff. International employees comprise a significant portion of the temporary research staff at NTNU. Through my work in DION, the interest organization for PhDs, Post Docs and temporary staff at NTNU, I have been made aware that many in this group have limited information regarding Norwegian labour law and work conditions and that not all relevant information on NTNU webpages are provided in English. I believe a stronger effort to include international temporary staff would strongly benefit NTNU.
In my opinion, one of the biggest challenges NTNU is facing is to find the appropriate balance between national politics and the autonomy of the university. NTNU needs to continuously weigh academic autonomy over research and education areas against providing our society with work relevance. This balance must be found without reducing the quality of any of the above. This is no easy task and needs to be continuously addressed.
If elected as part of the NTNU board, I will try to address all of these stated issues. In the past year, I have held the position as president of the interest organization DION at NTNU. I am also a member of the board of the Association of Doctoral Organizations in Norway (SiN). Since January 2021, I have also been one of the temporary staff representatives in the labour organization Tekna NTNU. During my time as president in DION, I have been a member of the University Research Council at NTNU. One of the issues I have raised in both Universitetsavisa and Khrono, is how the corona pandemic has affected temporary research staff.
All these posts have given me a unique insight into the various challenges pertinent to the temporary staff at NTNU, and I believe that I would make a constructive and valuable contribution to the NTNU board. I am highly motivated and hope to get your vote.
Amund Bergland Kvalsvik, PhD Candidate (IE) #
NTNU has a fantastic opportunity to be the best Nordic university, but it has been hamstringed by an uncaring top-management and a lack of interest in the experiences of the employees and students.
My platform for NTNU is:
1. Employees should be in charge of their own departments.
2. Information needs to be reliably communicated to employees.
3. The negative culture of “cheating by copying answer sheets” (in Norwegian “koking”) that has developed amongst students, must be defeated.
4. The usage of exams as an evaluation method, needs to be reduced.
NTNU needs to reverse course away from the prestige focus to instead invest in what truly matters: the employees and the students. I am willing to fight the hard battles and persevere to make a better university for us all.
Silje Liepelt, PhD Candidate (MH) #
For me it is important to further develop a workplace that is concerned with maintaining a good learning environment, as well as a safe and good working environment for both employees and students. I am concerned with further developing NTNU in line with a sustainable development. NTNU is a cultural bearer and contributes to innovation in society and working life. Research-based innovation is about both research and education, where we offer educations that are based on the latest research findings and give students the opportunity to participate actively. For me, it is also important that we continue to ensure good study quality, as progress and completion rate will continue to affect us in the longer term in the ongoing pandemic situation.
NTNU's biggest challenge in the future will be to fulfill the university's social mission and high ambitions. The social mission contains both the expectations the outside world has of us, and the social assignments we ourselves want to solve. As a board member, I want to contribute to NTNU creating new perspectives for long-term, basic research and for the education of outstanding candidates.
Why vote for me? To succeed as a board member, it is important to have a good understanding of the board's role, as well as the purpose and framework for the institution. With several years of seniority in both the university and the college system, I have a good understanding of the comprehensive regulations that regulate NTNU's activities. The board's work consists of making decisions in the best interests of NTNU, and in ensuring that decisions are implemented. It is therefore important that the board consists of people with different backgrounds, and here I can contribute with a solid management experience from the specialist health service, as well as participation as an employee representative in an extended management group at the Department of Health Sciences in Ålesund for two years.
Atefe R Tari, PhD Candidate (MH) #
- How can we most effectively, and in a good way, use the human resources in professional activity to achieve our common goal: knowledge for a better world.
- Focus on long-term perspective for upcoming researchers, participation, and the eternal discussion about temporary employment.
Knowledge for a better world
Society expects NTNU to be a contributor in finding tomorrow's solutions. As a research fellow in Alzheimer's disease, I have gained insight into the enormous challenges that await us with the coming wave of the elderly, both at the individual level, for society nationally and globally. Age-related diseases such as Alzheimer's, for which there is currently no cure, are expected to triple by 2050, and at NTNU we have a unique opportunity to connect technology and health to address this challenge - which is actually one of the greatest societal challenges of our time. NTNU must lead the way in this work! We have the potential to be world leading in this field if we can use the human resources we have in a good way. How can we best care for the patients of the future? This requires that we step outside our own bubble and open for innovative collaboration across traditional academic work environments to develop new necessary disciplines that equip the next generation of NTNU'ers with unique expertise to meet future health challenges.
Career awareness, long-term plans, temporary positions
I believe that career planning in the early phase of a PhD course will help many to see what opportunities there are in academia, business and more. I believe NTNU will benefit from prioritizing and systematically setting aside funds so that the best minds can hold multi-year positions (after PhD / PostDoc / Researcher) in order to qualify for permanent academic positions. Such positions will reduce the risk and uncertainty that naturally follows that many people have commitments outside work, such as family housing etc., and at the same time reduce " brain-drain " out of the institution.
ParticipationIn the work environment survey, many work environments at NTNU have a low score when it comes to participation. At my department, we have systematically worked to ensure that everyone is able to participate in forming their own tasks, and experience beeing seen, heard, and trusted that their their contribution is valuable. This has contributed to better and higher scores on participation, which contributes to improving personal and professional development, as well as ownership both to own work tasks and the institution. This is something I think NTNU can learn from and actively work on.
Why vote for me?
I have worked as a temporary employee since 2012 and have seen the challenges that exist and that it is possible to address and do something about. I am solution-oriented, work constructively with my colleagues across disciplines. If I am elected, you will get a person who dares to take up issues and who will stand up for us temporary employees on the board. Good elections!
Emil Øversveen, Postdoctoral Fellow (SU) #
As a representative member of the University Board I will work on improving temporary staff’s working conditions, sense of belonging and possibilities for democratic participation. Three issues are of a particularly central concern:
1) Job security and career prospects. Many temporary employees experience their own future as uncertain, and that the possibility of securing a permanent position is conditioned on succeeding in a competition that adversely affects family life, mental health, and quality of research. While NTNU has taken steps to address this issue, much still remains to be done. It is particularly important to ensure that the reduction of temporary positions is achieved through a genuine increase in permanent positions, rather than an increased use of hourly contracts or other forms of academic precarisation.
2) Researcher freedom. As temporary employees, we experience a pressure to produce and publish academic research that too often comes at the expense of teaching, dissemination, and public engagement. This situation restricts our role and experience as researchers and may give temporary staff from NTNU a future disadvantage on the job market. I will therefore work for creating increased recognition and valuing of all parts of the researcher role, and for temporary staff to have more freedom in the type of projects and activities they choose to pursue.
3) Democratic participation. A report from 2020 showed that temporary staff felt less informed and less able to participate in decision processes. Changing this situation is vital for improving the working conditions of temporary staff, as well as for ensuring a more ambitious and progressive politics for the university as a whole.
NTNU’s most significant challenge lies in creating more genuinely inclusive and nourishing working conditions. This is the most important precondition for achieving excellence in research and teaching, and is incompatible with a turn towards increased competition, precarity and excessive pressure. I have a principled, unified, and structural outlook combined with broad organizational experience, and will contribute to ensuring that the university actually realizes its official aims and ambitions.
Technical-administrative staff #
Peder Kristian Brenne, Adviser (NV) #
We are in the middle of a strategy period. In many aspects NTNU is on the right track, but there is still a way to go before we can consider NTNU as one unified NTNU. There are too many obstacles for interdisciplinarity. In the post pandemic phase, new challenges will occur. I believe, for instance, that NTNU will be forced to find alternative ways to succeed with internationalization.
The Campus Project will be a considerable subject of interest. Especially for NTNU in Trondheim.
For the group of employees that I represent, it will be decisive to succeed in the cause for the ongoing modernization of administrative and technical services at NTNU; Our services must be to the benefit of the users. The ABE-reform does not make this job easier (that is government budget cuts in anticipation of efficiency gains). Digitalization is highlighted as one important tool to reach these goals. If so, the digitalization process must succeed in efficient services and be adapted to user needs.
I have worked with administration at Department level in approximately 10 years. I work closely with students and academic staff. It is with the core tasks of NTNU in my mind that I am engaged in the development of NTNU.
I will work for;
- A healthy work environment for students and staff. Further develop a solid organization culture for a unified NTNU with structures that stimulate cooperation between organizational levels and across units.
- A successful digitalization of NTNU that results in an efficient organization to the best of the users. NTNU must better succeed in implementation of new solutions and stop doing things that does not benefit NTNU’s core activity.
- An organization that is heard. That NTNU continues to focus on real participation in order to find the best solutions for the future.
I have several years of experience as local safety representative and is for the current period member of the faculty board at the Faculty of Natural. I don’t hesitate to ask questions. I am not afraid to fight for what I believe is the best solutions, even if it is controversial, drastic, or unpopular. What I am even less afraid of is to be constructive, pragmatic and, if necessary, change position if better arguments and solutions are presented.
Vidar Broholm, Head of Department Office (NV) #
I represent the departments and the university’s core activity. This activity, research and education, takes place mainly at the department level. Everything NTNU does and stands for must contribute to the activity of the departments and to better and more professional services at all organizational levels.
The BOTT-cooperation will entail substantial change processes at NTNU. The needs of the core activity must be attended to. I'm in this context very concerned that NTNU focuses on the technical and administrative t employees. They do a fantastic job daily, and new tools and processes must reinforce rather than complicate their ability to provide good services.
The ongoing pandemic has given us experiences that we must use as a basis for how we shall work in the future. We have taken some steps on the path of digitization, but still have some way to go in terms of for instance standardization. We must build on the experiences we have gained through the pandemic to further develop our digital tools and systems, and above all we must utilize the experiences to facilitate lasting flexible solutions for the employees.
I will contribute to safeguarding the perspective of technical and administrative employees in all processes the board is involved in. I am particularly concerned that the upcoming campus development provides added value for the affected employees, both related to workplace and laboratory facilities. With experience from a very affected department, I believe that I have a very good starting point to take care of such perspectives.
NTNU's biggest challenge in the coming board period will be to implement existing decisions, such as BOTT and Campus development, in a good way for employees and society in general, at the same time as we develop ourselves further. We must ensure that the employees do not get tired of change, but are motivated to contribute to NTNU becoming an even greater contributor in research and education nationally as well as internationally.
A vote for me, will be a vote to ensure that this happens in a good way in general, but especially for us technical and administrative staff!
Vibeke Hagen, Adviser (FADM) #
NTNU is best equipped to meet challenges if we succeed as a unified NTNU across faculties and divisions and utilize the common strengths and the local differences between Ålesund, Gjøvik and Trondheim.
One of the most important challenges in the near future, will be to find the balance between continuing the quality work with NTNUs core tasks and social mission, and at the same time develop NTNU as an attractive employer and have focus on NTNUs corporate social responsibility.
NTNU faces, not only competition for students and research funding, but also increasingly competition for employees, both scientific and technical-administrative staff. NTNU should strengthen and have a more holistic approach to NTNU’s strategic focus area on career and competence.
There are high expectations that companies of NTNU's size take social responsibility in the operation and development of their own business. As a large company based on knowledge, NTNU should have social responsibility as a clear focus area.
The board is an important arena for engagement and influence, and it will be important to represent the voice and perspective of technical-administrative staff in the decisions that set the direction for NTNU’s development. The board and board representatives should also work to ensure that strategies are translated into action, and that the development of NTNU is driven by real participation and co-determination at all levels in the organization.
Kjersti Møller, Senior Adviser (FADM) #
NTNU has an important role in contributing to solving the great societal challenges. This special position must be preserved and strengthened. It means protecting academic freedom and our autonomy. We must dare to challenge national management requirements that we believe hamper our development, as well as ensure access to the tools that give us the best conditions for solving our core tasks.
NTNU is also facing demanding tasks at home. It will be crucial to ensure good framework conditions for employees and students facing campus development, ABE budget cuts, increased adaptability and efficiency requirements, and not least to deal with a greater degree of unpredictability than we have been used to. We must strengthen the interaction across campus cities and with society and working life, reduce the distance between different institutional levels, ensure good participation and decision-making processes and safeguard the user perspective when introducing new systems. The past year has shown how important the learning environment is to the quality of education, and how critical it is to maintain stable operations. Furthermore, we will lay the foundation for a new strategy. "Knowledge for a better world" is still a good guideline. How we realize this ambition must be the result of an inclusive and open process.
Board work is about making good decisions as a collegium, but the board is only as good as the sum of all contributions. I bring the technical-administrative perspective to the table. We are the ones with the important task of facilitating that the core activity has the best conditions, and that student and employee rights are safeguarded. In other words: an important group of employees.
Exercising the role of board member for the benefit of NTNU requires a holistic view, knowledge, experience, and ability to capture what is happening in the sector and internally. In addition, one must have good contact with employees, be fearless, speak clearly and be willing to work hard to get the overview required to be able to make wise decisions. These are qualities I think I have shown in my board position so far, but it is you who decides if I am the right one for the next term. Good election!