The UArctic Læra Institute for Circumpolar Education was established in 2020 to support and strengthen UArctic member capacity to deliver locally appropriate and pedagogically high-quality Circumpolar Studies programmes, without compromising their own academic flexibility.
The Læra Institute will renew and revitalise the UArctic Circumpolar Studies programme, not by updating centrally planned curricula, but by developing and maintaining best-practice educational resources for Circumpolar Studies. The Læra Institute will also help to knit UArctic together as a borderless academic community by hosting workshops for UArctic faculty on Circumpolar Studies teaching and pedagogical innovation, and by convening student symposia for UArctic students studying the Circumpolar world.
About our work
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 curriculum principles, exemplar courses and pedagogical resources 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 faculty workshops and student symposia supporting innovative teaching and learning. The Læra Institute will also assist in maintaining common platforms to encourage delivery of online Circumpolar Studies 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 opportunities for dialogue, the Læra Institute will help to strengthen the UArctic as a borderless academic community of educators and students.
The Læra Institute is very grateful to UiT The Arctic University of Norway and the Norwegian Ministry for Education and Research for funding for this work.
About Circumpolar Studies
Circumpolar Studies is by definition an interdisciplinary field that explores the global Arctic region from a number of different perspectives, including the social sciences, the humanities, the natural sciences and the arts. It brings together scholarly perspectives from educators, researchers, practitioners and Indigenous knowledge holders who live and work throughout the Circumpolar North. The result is a comprehensive study of lands and environments, peoples and places, cultures and languages, and political and economic systems. This holistic approach permits us to understand how the Circumpolar North is connected by common environments, experiences and identities.
Contemporary research, teaching and learning in Circumpolar Studies does not promote abstract conceptions of the Circumpolar North, but rather strives to see the region from the perspective of its inhabitants. Its curriculum reflects a diversity of viewpoints and and sensitivity to context. It develops an appreciation for the connections between people and place, the impacts of globalisation and colonialism, the challenges of climate change, and the interplay between Indigenous knowledge and Western science. This rich and situated knowledge breaks down disciplinary barriers, inviting students, educators and researchers to understand the Circumpolar North as a unique place that is both a lived-in homeland and an emerging global region undergoing rapid change.