Dr. Matthias Kokorsch is the director of the master’s program in Coastal Communities and Regional Development. He holds a PhD from the University of Iceland in Geography, a state examination for teaching in Geography, Social Sciences and Pedagogy from the University of Duisburg and Essen. His PhD dissertation was entitled “Mapping Resilience – Coastal Communities in Iceland” (Seigla íslenskra sjávarbyggða).

Matthias Kokorsch’s research interests include community resilience, regional development, particularly in sparsely populated regions, structural changes of old-industrial areas, and resource management in combination with aspects of justice and decision-making processes. His recent publications include “Prosper or perish? The development of Icelandic fishing villages after the privatisation of fishing rights” and “Where have all the people gone? The limits of resilience in coastal communities”. Earlier publications are on fisheries management in Iceland. Prior to his job as program director, Matthias Kokorsch worked as scientist for the Thünen-Institute of Rural Studies in Germany and taught at the University of Hanover.

The Program Director in Coastal Communities and Regional Development has the following roles:

  • Professional oversight over the master’s program, administration and co-ordination of the curriculum
  • Contact between the Master's program committee, University Centre staff, teachers and students in Coastal Communities and Regional Development
  • Recommend new teachers, instructors, and thesis advisors to the master’s committee
  • Facilitate cooperation, foster a network around the program and be of an assistance to teachers if needed
  • Answer or correctly forward all questions relating to professional aspects of the master’s program
  • Keep track of students’ academic progress, both in courses and when working on their theses
  • Take responsibility for thesis assessments, including presentations (lectures) and defenses

Instructors 2020-2021

Adam Stepien
Researcher (Arctic Centre), PhD candidate (Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Lapland)
Anna Guðrún Edvardsdóttir
Adjunct and an indipentent researcher
Arnar Sigurðsson
Blue Bank Director
Catherine Chambers
Program Director of CMM
Christa D. Court
Assistant Professor, Food and Resource Economics
David Cook
Post-doctoral researcher, University of Iceland
David Goldsborough
Senior lecturer researcher Marine Policy at Van Hall Larenstein
Giti Chandra
Senior Researcher and Lecturer, University of the United Nations
Gunnar Páll Eydal
Verkís hf. Resource and Environmental Manager
Gylfi Ólafsson
CEO of Westfjords Healthcare Institute
John Colton
Professor Acadia University, Canada
Katherine Chalmers
Associate Professor at Economics Department at California State University
Kjartan Bollason
Associate Professor, Hólar University
Kristen Lowitt
Assistant Professor, Brandon University
Kristinn Hermannsson
Senior Lecturer in Educational Economics
Laura Alice Watt
Professor of Environmental History and Policy at Sonoma State University California
Maik Brötzmann
Patrick Heidkamp
Professor at Southern Connecticut State University
Peter Krost
Owner Operator of CRM, Coastal Research and Management
Sari Rannanpää
Regional Development Consultancy, MDI, í Helsinki
Timothy Heleniak
Senior Research Fellow

Instructors and thesis advisors

Áslaug Ásgeirsdóttir
Associate Dean of the Faculty, Bates College
Daði Már Kristófersson
Professor and Dean of the School of Social Sciences University of Iceland
Georg Haney
Specialist at Marine Research Institute, Ísafjörður
Guðni Elísson
Professor of Comparative Literature at the University of Iceland
Tiina Tihlman
Ministerial Adviser at Finnish Ministry of the Environment

The Coastal Communities and Regional Development master´s program is an international cross-disciplinary program. Students have a variety of academic backgrounds, ranging from geography, macro-economics and social sciences to public administration and even journalism. Our programs are internationally oriented and attract students from all over the world.

Ægir Student Association represents the student community at the University Center of the Westfjords. Ægir was the giant Norse spirit of the sea, and as a master brewer he was also chief party organizer for the gods of Valhalla. Its intention is to provide an insight into student life, while building relationships with the local community of Ísafjörður.

Ægir Student Association's website