Candidates for the NTNU Board election

New candidates for this year's election will posted on Tuesday 21 March 2023

Here is the presentations of the candidates for temporary academic staff for the NTNU Board election 2023.

Norsk: Kandidater til styrevalget.

Main page about the election

Kim-André Myhre Arntsen

PhD candidate at Faculty of Humanities (HF), Department of Interdisciplinary Studies of Culture (Dragvoll)

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Brief description of what you stand for: What are NTNU's biggest challenges going forward and why voters should vote for you?

It is hard to be employed in a temporary position in academia. This group is under a lot of pressure, as they have to perform and deliver work of the highest quality in a relatively short time. You also have to constantly think about what to do after the current contract is over. If you have a family, it can be extra tough, as you may have to move from country to country, city to city, and project to project. Our temporary employees make a significant effort at our university when it comes to research, teaching, project development, etc. Considering their important contribution and their vulnerable position, it is extremely important to me that they have safe framework conditions, a good working environment, and that they feel heard. Furthermore, I have been preoccupied with that the knowledge we produce should lead to a better world, especially in view of the climate and environmental crisis we are facing. On the one hand, we work hard to produce research and educate future generations to help solve the crises we find ourselves in, but on the other hand, both as an institution and academics, we have many bad practices when it comes to sustainability. I, therefore, think it is particularly unfortunate that the campus project went ahead, especially considering all the cuts regarding climate and the environment. I would rather have given priority to improving the buildings we have as well as a continuous commitment that we as academics, department, faculty, and university do our jobs in as sustainable a way as possible.

NTNU's biggest challenge going forward is the campus project and its lack of focus on climate and the environment. Unfortunately, the campus project will go ahead, but as a representative from Dragvoll, I will fight to ensure that the relocation will take place in a good manner, that we will have a good working environment, and that our voices and concerns will be heard. If you vote for me, you will also get a representative who has experience representing the temporary employees in the extended management group at the Department for Interdisciplinary Study of Culture (KULT) where I have actively worked to involve my colleagues, raising their concerns and input for the continuous improvement and development of KULT. Last but not least, I will continue to fight for NTNU to continuously work on improvements in areas such as climate and environment, so that future generations can be proud to study at our university.

Jakob Bonnevie Cyvin

PhD candidate at Faculty of Social and Educational Sciences (SU), Department of Geography (Dragvoll)

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Brief description of what you stand for: What are NTNU's biggest challenges going forward and why voters should vote for you?

NTNU is a society-building institution in Trøndelag and a university with both breadth and depth. The university should be open and accessible to society. This also includes openness and opportunities for students from other countries (also outside of the EU), where we now have a major challenge with the government's changed financial frameworks for international students.

In my mind, NTNU should be a university where the focus is on the entire width of education, where the framework factors should be aiming towards constant development of teaching practice, fundamental research, and applied research regardless of the subject area. The results of fundamental research are not necessarily visible in next year's budget but are a long-term process that requires dedication and time. We shall be a university where students, student staff, temporary staff, administration, and permanent staff work together towards a "better world" - where the dividing lines between these groups must not stand in the way of this common goal.

As I see it, NTNU has the challenge to find itself after many major changes at the organizational level, while new changes are still in progress. It would be unnatural not to mention the campus unification in Trondheim; a major choice for the university with huge consequences for the entire organization and with strong opinions among staff and students. In Universitetsavisa, I have several times been very critical to moving away from Dragvoll. I still stand for these arguments, but unless there are major unforeseen changes to come, a large campus at Gløshaugen is now going to be realized. In that context, it is important that NTNU is now able to handle the breadth of the organization (still a relatively recent merger with old HIST, and merging with Gjøvik and Ålesund in mind) while the sustainability aspect of the campus project needs to be sufficient, and with a positive cost-benefit of building and later on moving, seen from the perspective of employees and students.

After first being a student at Dragvoll, with electives at HiNT (now NORD University), at UiO, and as a master's student at NMBU, I have experience being a student at different Norwegian universities. At the same time, as a student and/or recent graduate, I was employed in project positions both at NTNU Ålesund and at several departments at NTNU in Trondheim, at multiple campuses. At the moment, I lead a large four-year interdisciplinary education project that spans a number of departments and faculties, and participate in twoErasmus+ projects about the use of technology in education and communication of climate change, with partners in six other countries. This gives me a large contact surface inside and outside the organization, which I believe will be a great advantage in a board position at NTNU.

As an early career scientist, I believe that experience from different fields of research, is an important knowledge background to bring to the NTNU board.

Of the representatives on the current board, Aksel Tjora is the only one who has his workplace at today's Dragvoll. As a board representative, you must clearly represent the entire organization and not your own field, but it is also important and correct to have representation from all parts of the organization. We are now two representatives standing for election from Dragvoll, and I, therefore, hope that you as voters see the value that a representative from here is represented on the NTNU board given the major changes employees and students at Dragvoll will go through in the coming years.

Ellen Bjørge Ekse

PhD candidate at Faculty of Engineering (IV), Department of Ocean Operations and Civil Engineering (Ålesund)

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Brief description of what you stand for: What are NTNU's biggest challenges going forward and why voters should vote for you?

My priority is that all temporary employees have a good working day! I want to work on solving problems with e.g., office landscape, workload, operating assets, etc.

I am employed as a PhD candidate in the project "Professional education, and simulation-based training PROSIM". This is a collaboration between NTNU, the University of South-Eastern Norway (USN), and the University of Gothenburg and looks at simulation-based education across maritime, health, and biomedical laboratory science studies. I am keen to bring about collaboration across departments, institutions, and businesses. I believe that the best solutions are created through interdisciplinary collaboration. NTNU is a large workplace where collaboration is a great opportunity, but also a challenge.

Should I be elected, I would like to be a voice for temporary employees, and work for even better collaboration and working conditions.

Eirik Fagerhaug

PhD candidate at Faculty of Information Technology and Electrical Engineering (IE), Department of ICT and Natural Sciences (Ålesund)

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Brief description of what you stand for: What are NTNU's biggest challenges going forward and why voters should vote for you?

I am excited to be running for the upcoming university election and to have the opportunity to represent all temporary employees. As a part of SFI Autoship, I have had the privilege of working in a research field that has a direct connection to industry. This has together with my experience as a software developer before starting my PhD given me a perspective on the importance of bridging the gap between academic research and industry needs.

I believe one challenge facing our university is the lack of transparency and equality pertaining to PhD funds. One example is that the candidates in Ålesund and Gjøvik are required to use their funds for mandatory courses and meetings in Trondheim. All PhD candidates should have equal opportunities to pursue their research goals, regardless of their location.

Another critical issue that I have observed is the lack of involvement and representation of temporary employees in the university's decision-making processes. Previous elections have had very low voter turnouts, indicating a general lack of interest. I am committed to advocating for the rights and interests of all temporary employees, ensuring their voices are heard and their needs are met.

If elected, I will work towards creating a more transparent and equal funding system for all PhD candidates. I will also strive to foster a more inclusive environment for all temporary employees by providing more opportunities for engagement and representation. I firmly believe that by working together, we can make our university a fairer and more welcoming place for all.

Thank you for your consideration.

Christina Carrozzo Hellevik

PhD candidate at Faculty of Economics and Management (ØK), Department of International Business (Ålesund)

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Brief description of what you stand for: What are NTNU's biggest challenges going forward and why voters should vote for you?

I want to work to ensure that all employees are heard and that everyone receives equal treatment and equal opportunities, regardless of where they come from or where at NTNU they live. I also want NTNU to be more engaged in the social debate, sharing knowledge and research.

Finding its role in a more unstable world and becoming a model for sustainable development, are NTNU's biggest challenges.

Amund Bergland Kvalsvik

PhD candidate at Faculty of Information Technology and Electrical Engineering (IE), Department of Computer Science (Gløshaugen)

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Brief description of what you stand for: What are NTNU's biggest challenges going forward and why voters should vote for you?

I believe that all temporary employees deserve a safe and predictable work experience during their time at NTNU, whether you're a Post-Doc or PhD. We need to do a better job in integrating new employees on the rules of the game in research, supervision, and education at NTNU, and what is expected of us who do not have extensive experience in academia.

As it is now, many temporary employees have workdays that are marked by significant stress, and I believe that NTNU needs to take action to reduce stress factors for temporary employees and allocate more resources for mental health. This includes better routines for the onboarding of new employees, as well as a culture shift that treats temporary employees as a more important part of the NTNU workforce.

NTNU still feels like a shattered puzzle piece in which it's hard to get a sense of belonging and predictability as a temporary employee. As a board member, I will fight for more visible support networks and better social contact points for all employees at NTNU, and ensure that it's clarified what rights and expectations apply to us temporary employees, as we are a particularly vulnerable group.

Nicolai Winter-Hjelm

PhD candidate at Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences (MH), Department of Neuromedicine and Movement Science (Øya)

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Brief description of what you stand for: What are NTNU's biggest challenges going forward and why voters should vote for you?

For the past eight years, I have been engaged in a range of positions both as a student and PhD student at NTNU, and I now wish to apply for this engagement on the board of NTNU.

NTNU´s greatest challenge in the coming year is the new financial model in the Higher Education Sector. In combination with the campus unification, this will create tighter budgets, fewer hired permanent employees, and a large demand for building areas. Campus unification has many benefits, but it became clear in the last board meeting that there are still many challenges ahead, both with regard to workspace for employees, and the ambitions for a zero-emission university. Temporary employees are typically not prioritized in discussions on campus unification, something the Rector herself has made clear. As a representative for the temporary employees, I wish to put forward our needs on equal ground to the permanent employees now that the master plan for campus development is to be formed so that we too are given space based on our needs.

Over the past years, NTNU has achieved great things in contributing to career development for PhD students and postdocs, such as introducing career days and “The postdoc action pilot project”. Yet, there is still a high demand for better and more frequent career counseling. I believe it is possible to learn from the NTNU students and adapt some of their services to PhD students and postdocs, such as career developmental support and a dedicated ombudsman.

Lastly, I want to highlight that one of my core values is participation. The students on NTNU´s board have a long tradition of sending open invitations to pre-meetings prior to board meetings, where anyone can give input if they feel inclined to. I want to learn from this and create good arenas where it is encouraged to ask questions, learn, and present opinions that can create an impact on the board. Have a good election!


Election secretary: Kristin Wergeland Brekke, HR- and HSE Division