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Candidate to the University Board 2019

Presentation of Vivian Woodfin

The University of Bergen provides PhD and postdoc positions that are competitive globally, which is evident in the number of international applicants to these positions; but there is always room for improvement.

The University of Bergen is home to a diverse group of PhD candidates and postdocs, both Norwegian and international, younger and older, privately and publicly funded, and though their backgrounds and passions vary, this generation of researchers shares a common propensity for hard-work, dedication, enthusiasm, and creativity. These bright minds will shape the future of UiB’s research, international excellence, and growth and help address daunting global problems.

Today’s challenges require a greater degree of flexibility and long-term thinking than ever before. There has never been a more important time for fair, bottom-up democratic processes and innovation in our society, and our universities need to be leading the way.

In today’s competitive market, both for UiB and our career prospects, it is integral that we have the required infrastructure, technology, working conditions and opportunities. Meanwhile, young researchers should be allowed to focus on what is important, their research. Improving working conditions for those currently at the bottom of the totem pole is an investment in the university’s future. In order for UiB and us to remain competitive in the rapidly evolving world market, more equality and a greater number of secure and more predictable career paths are needed. Less temporary and more secure jobs for those beginning their careers will encourage the risk-taking and bold creativity that will put us at the forefront of today’s burning research questions.

We need more opportunities to connect with international partners and represent UiB on the global stage. And we require a competitive education. For example, simply strengthening the pedagogical education of those in temporary positions would improve the quality of student education as well as our university’s ranking, and improve PhD candidate’s and postdoc’s career prospects.

By supporting temporary employees, our university will grow.

In many ways, our university already displays a level of respect, freedom, and equality that supports a solid foundation for communication and collaboration. But I believe improvements in temporary positions are necessary for the kind of strategic and sustainable changes that will allow our university to reach its own explicit goals and aspirations.

I am a German-Polish-American PhD candidate who has lived and worked in Bergen since 2012. My work as a psychologist consists of working and collaborating with people. Prior to beginning my research at the Institute for Clinical Psychology, I worked for Haukeland University Hospital’s Department of Addiction Medicine. In addition, I have six years of experience of working in various assessment teams, organizational working groups, non-profit boards, and have just spent the last year representing temporary employees at the Psychology Department’s faculty board. I enjoy working with people and have faith in the democratic process and constructive communication. But I am also human, and would therefore like to hear from you. Please feel free to contact me with concerns or questions.