SIT students visit Hesteyri 

The University Centre recently enjoyed hosting two student groups on behalf of Vermont-based SIT (School for International Training). Both groups do programs on climate change, however with different foci, the graduate program focusing on the global context, “Climate Change and Global Sustainability” while the undergraduate program looks at Northern regions, “Iceland: Climate Change and the Arctic”. Responsible for these programs onsite are program directors Dan Govoni, Ísafjörður resident and dr. Jill Welter who now stays here together with her group. 

As part of  their respective programs, students are invited to field trips to deepen their understanding of climate related issues, but also as a way to introduce them  to Icelandic nature, history, culture and society. Recently first a day hike took place in the glacier Drangajökull area where the group was guided by geologist Jón Kristinn Helgason of the  Snow Avalanche Centre which is the Ísafjörður branch of the Icelandic Met Office. Last week, students were invited on a boat trip to Hesteyri, an abandoned village in the Hornstrandir Nature Reserve. While crossing over to Hesteyri, the students were thrilled watching humpback whales playing around the Ísafjarðardjúp bay, not far from the boat. At Hesteyri students were taken on a guided tour of the village including a visit to the old whaling station ruins. Students learned about the history of this place as well as of the Hornstrandir area and the part played by Norwegian whalers more than one hundred years ago. Possible impacts of climate change to nature were also dealt with. After enjoying a few lovely, sunny hours at Hesteyri, a contented group of students returned to Ísafjörður in the afternoon. 

The SIT graduate student group will stay in Ísafjörður until the end of the fall semester, while the undergraduate students has now left for a visit to Akureyri. These two groups along with University Centre master students will rejoin in Reykjavík next week, as all these students will attend the Arctic Circle Conference October 10-12. 

SIT students visiting Hesteyri.
SIT students visiting Hesteyri.

Last day of teaching for long-term visiting faculty Jamie Alley

Around mid-September long-term visiting faculty member Jamie Alley taught his last course in the Coastal and Marine Management master’s program. Alley has been a visiting faculty in the University Centre of the Westfjords’ Coastal and Marine Management program since 2011. During this time, he has taught eleven courses and supervised several master’s theses. His main field of teaching has been one of the programs core courses, “Coastal and Marine Management: Theory and Tools.”

Peter Weiss, director of the University Centre, Jamie Alley and Catherine Chambers Coastal and Marine Management program director.
Peter Weiss, director of the University Centre, Jamie Alley and Catherine Chambers Coastal and Marine Management program director.

Four programs in full swing at the University Centre

The halls of the University Centre are abuzz with enthusiasm and excitement these days with every classroom occupied and a diverse assemblage of teachers spreading their wisdom.

The four program directors: Dr. Matthias Kokorsch (Regional Development), Dr. Catherine Chambers (Coastal and Marine Management), Dan Govoni (SIT, Climate Change and the Arctic) and Jill Welter (SIT, Climate Change and Global Sustainability)
The four program directors: Dr. Matthias Kokorsch (Regional Development), Dr. Catherine Chambers (Coastal and Marine Management), Dan Govoni (SIT, Climate Change and the Arctic) and Jill Welter (SIT, Climate Change and Global Sustainability)

Marine Litter Week at UW

This week the University Centre is hosting a Marine Litter Workshop. The workshop is run by Wouter Jan Strietman from Wageningen Economic Research and Martine van den Heuvel-Greve from Wageningen Marine Research at Wageningen University in the Netherlands. On Friday we also have one thesis defense on the topic plus a Lunch Lecture on the Arctic Marine Litter Project.

A part of the group participating in the Marine Litter Workshop.
A part of the group participating in the Marine Litter Workshop.

Everyone enjoyed a successful 3-week beginners’ course in Icelandic

Everyone enjoyed a successful 3-week beginners’ course in Icelandic

The past three weeks we had an ambitious group of language students here. From all over the world they came to Ísafjörður to learn Icelandic. For some of them it was the first course while others had some previous knowledge in Icelandic.

proud language students with their teachers
proud language students with their teachers
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New York Times Student Journey visiting the University Centre

Last Sunday we welcomed a group of high school students with the New York Times Student Journeys program.

The student group with their instructors Sean, Carolyn, and Tryggvi, UW Project Manager Astrid, as well as CMM-students Jake, Erin and Jamie.
The student group with their instructors Sean, Carolyn, and Tryggvi, UW Project Manager Astrid, as well as CMM-students Jake, Erin and Jamie.

UW receives Nordic Council of Ministers research grant on plastics

UW has received funding from the Nordic Council of Ministers Ocean Working Group for a project entitled “Plastics in commercial fish stocks of Norway, Iceland and Faroe Islands.”

Dr. Catherine Chambers, to the right and Dr. Pernilla Carlsson to the left at the harbor in Ísafjörður.
Dr. Catherine Chambers, to the right and Dr. Pernilla Carlsson to the left at the harbor in Ísafjörður.

One-Week intensive Icelandic Course

Last week seven students attended the one-week Crash Course in Icelandic language offered at the University Centre.

The group of students with teacher Ólafur Guðsteinn and project manager Astrid Fehling.
The group of students with teacher Ólafur Guðsteinn and project manager Astrid Fehling.
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Dr. Matthias Kokorsch Hired as Program Director

The University Centre is offering a new master’s program in Coastal Communities and Regional Development to begin in Autumn 2019 and of course such a new program needs a director. The person hired is Dr. Matthias Kokorsch. Matthias holds a PhD from University of Iceland. The topic of his thesis was "Mapping Resilience – Coastal Communities in Iceland." 

Dr. Matthias Kokorsch has been hired as the program director for Coastal Communities and Regional Development.
Dr. Matthias Kokorsch has been hired as the program director for Coastal Communities and Regional Development.

Beach Debris Research Field Trip

University Centre Coastal and Marine Management students conducted beach debris research near Hólmavík in the Pollution in the Coastal Arctic course, taught by Pernilla Carlsson from NIVA in Norway. Hólmavík is in the Strandir region of Iceland, which is a hotspot for beach debris because of the ocean currents that channel debris to this area, providing a good chance for the students to research the amount and types of debris.

The group of students collected debris from 800 meters of beach.
The group of students collected debris from 800 meters of beach.
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