Wednesday 11. July 2018

New Program in Regional Development postponed by one year

On March 8th the University Centre received the official confirmation that the Ministry of Culture and Education would fund the new master's program in Coastal Communities and Regional Development, which had been developed by the University Centre and formally accredited by the University of Akureyri. The regional development program had been advertised alongside the existing program in Coastal and Marine Management since December 2017 and was partially supported by the Westfjords Regional Development Plan in a three-year grant.

When the green light was given by the Ministry in March, the time frame was too short to attract students to a new program in the Westfjords, even though UW took advantage of the latest possible deadline, June 5th. Although the program had indeed received very positive reactions and a number of people showed interest, an acceptable minimum number of students could not be reached within the limited time frame, and in addition there was too little time to schedule the new courses and instructors.

In this situation, the University Centre’s Board of Directors decided to postpone the start of the program by one year - to autumn 2019 - and use the time in between to prepare the program and advertise more directly. The program director's position was advertised immediately in March, and attracted twelve applications, six of which held a PhD. Nevertheless, hiring of a program director has been postponed too. Instead, the Board has decided to hire a program coordinator for a limited time starting in autumn 2018 and advertise the position of program director anew in 2019.

The Coastal and Marine Management program continues to enjoy great popularity as UW expects 25 students to enter the program next autumn. The annual applications for single courses and exchange students are also on the rise and in spring 2018 we had to turn away many qualified exchange students because the courses were full. Thus, UW has every indication that the new programme in Regional Development will develop the same way in the long run.

There will also be a third masters program beginning this autumn at UW: a new master's program offered through SIT (School for International Training) called Climate Change and Global Sustainability. SIT is a small university in Vermont that has hosted summer study abroad programs at UW for twelve years and has recently also established an autumn and spring semester program. Approximately ten students are expected to participate in this masters program, which will run for the autumn semester at UW before the students depart for the spring semester in Tanzania. Thus, although the program in Coastal Communities and Regional Development is postponed by one year, there will be enough to do at UW and we look forward to all the positive changes and growth in the near future.