Can universities be better?
I think they can. And I think much of the unrealized potential is to be found through leadership. Leadership is not using power to make people do something different than what they want to do. It’s about bringing together the incredible human resources an organization has and using them to develop visions that are worth pursuing.
My own leadership experience developed especially through my experience as the founding director of CASTL, a research center in linguistics, at the University of Tromsø. CASTL was the first Norwegian Center of Excellence here, and I had the pleasure of leading it for its first years of existence, through its big mid-term evaluation.
The experience of leading a center with major scientific ambitions and accomplishments — but also some failures — left me eager to develop some of my ideas in a larger arena, and in 2009 I started working in the leadership team of my university, in the position of Pro Rector for Research & Development. This job gives me endless opportunities to think about how universities should be run — and to have an impact on how my university is run.
I want to talk about those ideas and attempts, not only so people know what I stand for, but also to create discussion and engagement — either here or in person — about the most important things we do, and about how we can do them better.
This is the very first posting on my blog. Some of my subsequent blog entries which specifically address leadership in a university setting are:
The virtue of weak leadership
Leadership for change … at a university?!
The promotion project: Getting more women professors
And there are many more!