The University Board has decided that UiA will continue to elect rectors. What is new is that rector candidates must run as a team together with prorector candidates.
There are two governance models at institutional level at state universities. You can either have unified management with a rector appointed by the Board and an external board chair, or a two-tier management with a rector elected by staff and students, where the rector is also the board chair. In the second model, which UiA has had until now, there is also a university director.
During the board meeting on 14 September, the matter was presented to the University Board. Director of External Relations Paal Pedersen presented the matter, as University Director Seunn Smith-Tønnessen was recused due to the direct impact any decision would have on her position.
The matter has been thoroughly prepared with arguments for and against, and the question of how the management structure at UiA should be in the future has been on consultation. The consultation statements have been almost unanimous in favour of continuing with rector elections.
In the Board’s discussion, principles such as democracy and participation were raised by several members as arguments in favour of an elected rector, while the possibility of increasing the supply of rector candidates by appointing a rector was raised as a counterargument, among others.
The current rector, Sunniva Whittaker, stated that as an elected rector, the most important thing is to listen to the institution, which has given clear signals that an elected rector is the preferred model.
The governance model of an elected rector was adopted by a 10 to 1 vote. It was also unanimously decided that this item should not automatically return to the Board before subsequent election periods, unless the Board requests it.
This is how the schedule now looks for the upcoming rector election:
The next rector’s term starts on 1 August 2023.
The University Board also decided on whether rector candidates should stand for election alone or together with a prorector. Until now, rector candidates at UiA have run alone.
The arguments for rector and prorector candidates to run together as a team are, among others, that it will be more predictable what the rectorship will be like. It may also be easier to bring external candidates into a team with an internal candidate, and it may become clear from the team composition what the rectorate wants to achieve.
The new arrangement for electing rector teams was adopted unanimously.
The University Board has signalled that they want to consider the governance structure at faculty level.
Today, UiA has the same model at all the faculties and the Teacher Education Unit: A two-tier management system consisting of an appointed dean who chairs the faculty board, and a faculty director who is responsible for the administrative staff.
The Board decided to ask the university director to prepare a separate item on the organisational structure at faculty level for an upcoming meeting.