The Læra Institute will provide a shared structure for UArctic members’ current local and independent delivery of Circumpolar Studies programmes by developing and offering a new and collaborative ‘best-practice baseline’ for Circumpolar Studies teaching and learning. This baseline will be expressly designed to strengthen individual UArctic member capacity to offer locally appropriate and pedagogically high-quality Circumpolar Studies programs of their own. It will consist of a set of syllabus criteria and exemplar courses to assist UArctic members to develop individually tailored Circumpolar Studies programs and courses, to obtain UArctic endorsement for them, and to provide UArctic completion certificates for their students.
Building on this baseline, the Læra Institute will also support UArctic members to develop local Circumpolar Studies curricula, adopt pedagogical benchmarks and best-practices, and foster faculty and student dialogue. The Læra Institute will create guidelines, templates and themes for course syllabi and degree curricula, and host conferences and workshops supporting innovative and experiential learning. The Læra Institute will also assist in maintaining common platforms to encourage delivery of online circumpolar curricula for UArctic members.
In these ways, the Læra Institute will help to foster a broader field of teaching and learning experience, and pedagogical best-practice, upon which UArctic faculty and students could draw. By setting a UArctic-wide pedagogical standard in Circumpolar Studies, as well as by organizing regular faculty workshops and undergraduate symposia, the Læra Institute will help to strengthen the UArctic as a borderless academic community of educators and students.
The Læra Institute intends to deliver the following resources and activities over its first few years of operation:
- Circumpolar Studies curriculum criteria: Detailed specification of content for a full Circumpolar Studies programme, including course syllabi and pedagogical best practice.
- Circumpolar Studies exemplar courses: An ‘off-the-shelf’ suite of Circumpolar Studies courses meeting the curriculum criteria above for UArctic members unable to develop Circumpolar Studies programmes independently.
- UArctic pedagogical standards: The curriculum criteria and exemplar courses described above will together provide common UArctic pedagogical standards for Circumpolar Studies program development.
- Faculty Workshop: A biannual workshop for faculty of UArctic members, to provide the opportunity to share Circumpolar Studies innovations, resources and best-practice, and to disseminate pedagogical research.
- Undergraduate symposium: A biannual conference for undergraduate students of UArctic members taking Circumpolar Studies courses.
- Website: A website featuring links for faculty and students to existing and newly developed Circumpolar Studies courses and programs, as well as to the Læra Institute’s curriculum criteria, exemplar courses and teaching resources.
The Læra Institute is very grateful to UiT The Arctic University of Norway, and the Norwegian Ministry for Education and Research, for initial funding for this work.