Trent University has recently founded the Læra Institute for Circumpolar Education at the University of the Arctic, in collaboration with the University of Northern British Columbia.
The word læra means learn or study in Icelandic, and the newly founded Læra Institute is dedicated to promoting best-practice teaching and learning about the Circumpolar North.
“The Institute will serve as a platform to connect groups of researchers working at institutes across the Circumpolar North to create a common curriculum to understand the North in different local and regional contexts,” explained Dr. Heather Nicol, director of the School for the Study of Canada and director of the new institute, of which the Arctic State Agrotechnological University in Russia, Nord University in Norway and Lakehead University and Yukon University in Canada are also members.
Creating networks for continued learning
The Læra Institute for Cirumpolar Education aims to promote faculty exchanges and faculty conferences as well as develop a series of student conferences where students from the University of the Arctic can discuss and share their experiences. Crucially, students will have the opportunity to shape the curriculum they are learning.
“There will be a mechanism where students can help shape the structure and the content of circumpolar studies, so we can match pedagogical issues with student needs and interests,” said Professor Nicol.
Prof. Nicol is enthusiastic about the possibilities this new institute creates for interdisciplinary collaboration. “It’s exciting to be working with northern partners in helping each area of the Circumpolar North develop their own vision of circumpolarity and then contribute to the bigger field of study that has been under researched,” shared Prof. Nicol. “We are keen to be a part of building a common community of educators and students, each of whom have their own understanding of the North”.
The new Læra Institute for Circumpolar Education is one of only five institutes hosted by the University of the Arctic. UArctic is a cooperative network of more than 170 universities, colleges, and other organizations, across eight Arctic countries, who are committed to higher education and research in the North. Members share resources, facilities, and expertise to create post-secondary education programs that are relevant and accessible to northern students.
Learn more about the Læra Institute for Circumpolar Education.