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Discussion forum about elected or appointed rector at UiA

In September, the University Board will decide on the management structure at UiA for 2023-2026. In addition to the usual consultation process, the university has also created a discussion forum that invites all interested parties to express their opinions.

Campus Kristiansand, photo
MANAGEMENT STRUCTURE: Should UiA have an elected or appointed rector from 2023? (Stock Photo)
Rachel Syrtveit, foto

Rachel Funderud Syrtveit

“The purpose of both the hearing and the discussion forum is to gather as many views on the matter as possible, primarily from staff and students. The matter is now under internal consultation, so we hope the discussion forum will provide an opportunity to promote views outside the formal process”, says senior adviser Rachel Funderud Syrtveit.


Elected or appointed rector?

In the discussion around the management structure for the 21 universities and university colleges regulated by the Universities and University Colleges Act, the matter of elected or appointed rector is central. Nine universities and university colleges have elected rectors today, while 12 have appointed rectors. The law’s main provision is a unified management with an appointed rector, but the universities and university colleges are free to choose the management structure they think is best suited for their activities.

At UiA, a rector has been elected so far, where Sunniva Whittaker has been elected rector since 2019. However, her term as rector expires next year, and the University Board will therefore decide, in September this year, whether the university should have a management structure with an elected or appointed rector for the next rector’s term.

The role of board chair

The choice of management structure also affects the role of the chair of the University Board, the university's highest decision-making body. When rector is elected, as at UiA today, the rector is also chair of the board. When there is an appointed rector, the Ministry of Education and Research appoints the chair of the board.

The role of the university director

The choice of management structure also changes the role of the university director. When rector is elected, the management is divided into two, like the structure at UiA today, where the university director is responsible for the administrative activities at UiA, and rector for the academic. But with an appointed rector, the management structure will be one unified management team.

The question of an elected or appointed rector is thus not only a question of how rector is recruited, but also of management structure, two-part or unified management, and the division of roles at institutional level, the composition of the rectorate and central management team, and the composition of the board.

This is what other institutions do

Of the 21 public universities and university colleges in Norway, 12 currently have elected rector and split management, 9 have employed rectors and unified management.

Elected rector is chair of the board:

  • Molde University College
  • Volda University College
  • Oslo National Academy of the Arts
  • Norwegian School of Sport Sciences
  • Norwegian Academy of Music
  • Sámi University of Applied Sciences
  • University of Agder
  • University of Bergen
  • University of Oslo 

External chair of the board and appointed rector:

  • The Oslo School of Architecture and Design
  • Inland Norway University of Applied Sciences
  • Western Norway University of Applied Sciences
  • Nord University
  • NHH - Norwegian School of Economics
  • Norwegian University of Life Sciences
  • OsloMet - Oslo Metropolitan University
  • University of Stavanger
  • University of Southeast Norway
  • UiT - The Arctic University of Norway
  • Østfold University College
  • NTNU - Norwegian University of Science and Technology