Dr. Veronica Méndez Aragón hired as Program Director

The University Centre of the Westfjords has hired a new program director for the Coastal and Marine Management master’s program. The University Centre received 22 applications, of which 12 with a PhD. The application committee decided to hire Dr. Verónica Méndez Aragón for the position.

Dr. Veronica Méndez Aragón has been hired as a Program Director for the Coastal and Marine Management masters program.
Dr. Veronica Méndez Aragón has been hired as a Program Director for the Coastal and Marine Management masters program.

UW Director moves Office to Patreksfjörður

If people can work from a home-office for weeks because of COVID-19, they should be able to work from Patreksfjörður, shouldn’t they? Peter Weiss, the director of the University Centre decided to try it out and moves his office to Patreksfjörður for a week. The office will be in Ólafshús, where UW director will join some colleagues from other institutions.

Peter Weiss, director of the University Centre, has moved his office to Patreksfjörður for the week.
Peter Weiss, director of the University Centre, has moved his office to Patreksfjörður for the week.
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New staff position at University Centre of the Westfjords: Research Manager

The University Centre of the Westfjords has created a new position of Research Manager, who will oversee the research activity of the Centre. This is in line with the recent strategic plan meeting in January and the goals of the University Centre to be a liaison in the research community and to connect students, instructors and guest researchers to local institutions and initiatives. The Research Manager is Dr. Catherine Chambers, who has previously been the Academic Director of the Coastal and Marine Management Masters Program

Dr. Peter Weiss, Director of the University Centre of the Westfjords and Dr. Catherine Chambers, former academic director and new research manager.
Dr. Peter Weiss, Director of the University Centre of the Westfjords and Dr. Catherine Chambers, former academic director and new research manager.
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UW receives international research grant for researching climate change and community resilience

Recently the University Centre received fantastic news from NordForsk. UW and five project partners have been selected for funding. The research project is titled “Climate Change Resilience in Small Communities in the Nordic Countries” and will start in January 2021. The successful proposal was submitted to the NordForsk call “Nordic societal security in light of the emerging global and regional trends”.

The research project is titled “Climate Change Resilience in Small Communities in the Nordic Countries” and will start in January 2021. Photo: Andres Peters.
The research project is titled “Climate Change Resilience in Small Communities in the Nordic Countries” and will start in January 2021. Photo: Andres Peters.

Application Deadline Extended in light of COVID-19

In light of COVID-19, the University Centre of the Westfjords has decided to extend the application deadline for both masters programs- Coastal and Marine Management and Coastal Communities and Regional Development.

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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