New Master’s Program Recommended

This week the Prime Minister’s Office of Iceland issued a Strategic Plan for the Westfjords that was done by a committee on social and economic development in the Westjords. One of the suggestions in the plan is to fund a new master’s program at the University Centre of the Westfjords. The new program will be on Coastal Communities and Regional Development.

Funding for a new masters program UW is suggested in a new strategic plan for the Westfjords.
Funding for a new masters program UW is suggested in a new strategic plan for the Westfjords.

New Semester Long SIT Field School

For a number of years the University Centre of the Westfjords and the School for International Training in Vermont, USA, have had a fruitful collaboration. Since 2007 SIT has had a field school in the Westfjords on renewable energy during the summer time. Now the collaboration between the two institutions has been furthered as SIT has now set up a new semester long field school Iceland and Greenland: Climate Change and the Arctic based in Ísafjörður.

The group at Gullfoss waterfall in Iceland.
The group at Gullfoss waterfall in Iceland.

CMM Field Trip to Hornstrandir and Vigur

The weather was exceptionally good last Saturday when the new cohort of CMM students took off from the harbour in Ísafjörður to go on a short field trip. Two destinations were on the agenda, the village Hesteyri in the Hornstrandir Nature Reserve and the island Vigur in Ísafjarðardjúp bay. This field trip was the final orientation event as well as an end point for the introductory course Icelandic Society, Environment and Natural Resources.

The group at Hesteyri.
The group at Hesteyri.

Ninth CMM Cohort Welcomed

On Thursday August 25 the autumn term 2017 began at the University Centre of the Westfjords with an orientation for a new cohort of CMM master students. This cohort, with 23 students of 9 nationalities, is the ninth to begin studies on the CMM program, which was launched in September 2008. Like past cohorts, the new students’ backgrounds are diverse, as they have e.g. previously completed degrees in biology, geography, environmental studies, agriculture, graphic design, literature and history.

Although the term just started some of these students have already spent a few weeks here in Iceland, as some of them participated in Icelandic language courses here at the University Centre.  During these first days of the master’s program the students got a short introduction to the program in form of a short course. This week they will get acquainted with the Icelandic setting in a course on Iceland; the society, environment and natural resources.  Part of this course is a field trip around the Ísafjarðardjúp bay, which will take the group to village Hesteyri in the Hornstrandir Nature Reserve as well as to Vigur island, a popular destination among visitors in the area. During the coming winter the students will be introduced to various disciplines and methods, to prepare them for their future careers in the field of coastal and marine management. After course phase is completed, students will engage in individual work with final projects of their own choice.

We welcome our new students and look forward to work with them during the next few terms.

Our new CMM students.
Our new CMM students.

Icelandic Courses at Núpur and Ísafjörður

Last week the annual Icelandic Courses for foreigners began at the University Centre. This is the ninth year that Icelandic courses are offered at UW. The courses are held both in Ísafjörður and at Núpur in Dýrafjörður.

Seventy eight students attend the courses this year. Most of which participate in the beginners courses offered both in Núpur and Ísafjörður. In addition to the beginners courses a number of students attend an intermediate course and an advanced course in Ísafjörður. Many of these students have been with us before on beginner’s courses or intermediate courses.

In addition to conventional class room teaching students have the opportunity to take courses where they learn the language through a variety of activites such as singing in a choir, going on a shopping rally around Ísafjörður and watching Icelandic films to name a few.

The courses end on August 19 and most of the students travel back to Reykjavík the day after although some will stay on for a few days and a few will stay for the whole winter in Ísafjörður to attend the Coastal and Marine Management masters program.    

A part of the group on the first day during a walk around Ísafjörður.
A part of the group on the first day during a walk around Ísafjörður.

Dr. Catherine Chambers Hired as Program Director

The University Centre of the Westfjords received ten applications for the position of a master's program director. The application committee decided to hire Dr. Catherine Chambers for the position. Catherine Chambers has experience from the CMM master’s program as she has been both supervisor as well as second reader of numerous masters’ theses, and most recently taught the qualitative methods workshop in the Applied Methodology course.

Catherine Chambers is the new program director of the Coastal and Marine Management master's program.
Catherine Chambers is the new program director of the Coastal and Marine Management master's program.

Master’s Program Director Vacancy

The University Centre of the Westfjords is searching for an energetic individual to fill the demanding role of Director of the master’s program in Coastal and Marine Management. The University Centre of the Westfjords is home to an international, multidisciplinary program at the master’s level in Coastal and Marine Management, run in conjunction with the University of Akureyri, with around 40-50 participating students each year.

The CMM 2015 cohort of students during a field trip in Vigur Island.
The CMM 2015 cohort of students during a field trip in Vigur Island.

One Week Crash Course Concludes

Today was the last day of the one week spring Crash Course that began on Monday morning. The course is rather small this time around with five enthusiastic students from the United States, France and Germany. The students have dived into the language learning from dawn to dusk and have made good progress in the language learning process. Hopefully they will be able to build on this jump start in the language on their own in the near future.

The students with teacher Ólöf Bergmannsdóttir and UW director Peter Weiss and Ingi Björn Guðnason, project manager.
The students with teacher Ólöf Bergmannsdóttir and UW director Peter Weiss and Ingi Björn Guðnason, project manager.

CMM Students and Instructors Appear on TV-Show

Last weekend the news show Landinn, on the Public Radio TV channel RÚV, aired a piece on plastic pollution in the oceans. The show followed a group of volunteers to the Hornstrandir Nature Reserve on a trip to clean up the beaches there last spring. A large group of our Coastal and Marine Management students took part in the beach clean-up.

One of our CMM students, Natalie Chaylt, was interviewed on the show.
One of our CMM students, Natalie Chaylt, was interviewed on the show.

Beach Clean Up Field Trip and Data Collection

Currently our Coastal and Marine Managment students are taking the course Pollution in the Coastal Arctic. A part of the course is an excursion made to the beach of the neighbouring town of Bolungarvík where creativity bloomed. Beach litter was collected, weighed and sorted, and a field snowwoman – sporting a wig made of seaweed - was made. Now the students will write a report based on the field data!

The group of students with the snow-woman made on the beach during the field trip.
The group of students with the snow-woman made on the beach during the field trip.
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