16755926280_6783292fcc_zSince August 1, 2015, I have been the Rector (President) of the Oslo and Akershus University College of Applied Sciences (Høgskolen i Oslo og Akershus). As a biographical curiosity, I’ve been told that this is the first time a non-Norwegian has been at the helm of an institution for higher education in Norway.

In addition to my work as Rector, I lead Norway’s Committee on Gender Balance and Diversity in Research, and I am the head of the Board for Current Research Information System in Norway (CRIStin). I’m also a reserve member of the Board for the Language Council of Norway (Språkrådet).

In all of these roles, I work to pursue my conviction that research and education are essential to improving society and that making universities better therefore has the potential to make societies better.

Through a very few speaking and writing engagements each year, I hope to reach audiences on the topics that excite me the most: gender balanceopen access, leadership and more. These interests have grown during the past decade while I’ve had the privilege to occupy what were then two brand new leadership positions at the University of Tromsø.

To reach me, use the contact form.

From 2002–2008, I was the founding director of my university’s first Norwegian Center of Excellence, the Center for Advanced Study in Theoretical Linguistics (CASTL). From 2009–2013, I served as the elected Vice Rector for Research & Development (prorektor for forskning og utvikling). Given the luxury of being able to define those positions, I was able to pursue my passion for improving academic life by working to enhance conditions for education and research. After my period as Vice Rector, I was elected by the faculty in Tromsø to represent them on the university board, which I did from 2013–2015.

I’m part of the European Science Foundation’s genderSTE COST action (Gender, Science, Technology and Environment); I helped create the BALANSE program at the Research Council of Norway, which is designed to increase the numbers of women at the highest levels of research organizations. I am on the Advisory Board of the European Commission projects EGERA (Effective Gender Equality in Research and Academia) (FP7) and LIBRA (H2020); I was on the Science Leaders Panel of genSET (FP7), in which we advised the European Commission about gender in science; I am a member of the Steering Committee for the Gender Summits.

I also led a national task force on research-based education that issued many suggestions for Norwegian institutions.

I created the crowd-sourced alternative contest to the European Commission’s Science: It’s a girl thing! teaser video (and was co-sponsored in doing so by the European Science Foundation and Nobel Laureate Brian Schmidt); see the results here!

These pictures can be freely used in non-commercial contexts; please credit the photographer.

Below are the English and Norwegian versions of the announcement that I would become Rector at HiOA.


Photo credit: Sonja Balci