Centre for Climate and Energy Transformation (CET)

The Collaboratory win prize for excellence in higher education

On Thursday November 11th the Collaboratory was awared the Uglepris, UiB's award for excellence in higher education. – It is important that we dare to think about our role as educator in new ways, says Jakob Olof Grandin, leader of The Collaboratory.

Johan Elfving, Ronya Solber, Jakob Grandin
Former student coordinator Johan Elfving and Ronya R. Solberg (from left), and leader Jakob O. Grandin, with the award.
Janne Bjørgan

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In his speech, Grandin thanked Centre for climate and energy transformation (CET) for making the Collaboratory possible.

- Also, thank you to Department for Geography, Faculty of Social Sciences, the administration and leadership of the University of Bergen, and thank you to all our colleagues at UoB and in the Arqus Alliance. Your confidence in our experimental work has ment a lot to us.

More active participation

The Collaboratory won the Uglepris for their work on student led education in the coure CET201 Sustainable Innovation and Bergen International Student Conference (BISC). Students are hired to organize and form the conference and the course. Interdisciplinarity, active participation and a horizontal structure play vital parts, together with a focus on actionable knowledge, cooperation with municipalities, the private sector and others. The goal for CET201 is to develop new solutions for the sustainable and environmental challenges the world is facing.

- We are not even close to meeting these challenges and if we are going to do something about it we need to think new in our role as educators. Are we really going to meet these challenges and their complexity with teaching that renders the students as passive listeners? Grandin asked the UoB employees gathered for a conference about students everyday life and challenges.

As winners, the Collaboratory are also nominated for the Norwegian Ministry of Education and Research’s award for quality in education, Utdanningskvalitetprisen.

- Do something new!

Johan Elfving was also there to recieve the prize. He was hired as one of the first student coordinators when the Collaboratory started up in the fall of 2017. Back then he studied for a bachelor's degree in Comparative Politics. Together with another student coordinator he was set to make the first Bergen International Student Conference (BISC). He already had an interest for student led education, but he was surprised to see that the horizontal structure worked so well.

- They gave us a carte blanche to make the entire conference. «Do something new!» they said. It was challenging, but the volunteers we recruited were very eager and took the responsibility we gave them. It was hard to let go, to coordinate and not lead. But we did it, student came from many countries and different disciplines. It was fun, an international conference wholly made by students.

Interdisciplinary nut can be cracked

Elfving was also one of the student coordinators the first time CET201 was done. Here, the interdisciplinarity was a big challenge.

- The interdisciplinarity is an important aspect of the course, but I was surprised by how difficult it was to understand the perspectives of other disciplines. We spent a large amount of time discussing how we should talk with each other. That alone shows how important it is to work across disciplines, Elfving says.

He thinks the award shows that UoB take the Collaboratory's work on democratizing education seriously.

- But we need to see action too. One possibility is to make more courses like CET201. An other is to take this newfound knowledge that students have to be active participants in their education and sprinkle it all over UoB.

CET learns from Collaboratory

CET's leader Håvard Haarstad was also present to recieve the prize. He is happy that UoB wants to support something as experimental and new as the Collaboratory:

- We have learned so much about education, active learning and student involvement by seeing how it is solved at the Collaboratory. As a research center, it is very good to have a students and eductaion close at hand.