Faculty of Medicine

– Importance of having fun at work

Per Bakke is the new Dean of The Faculty of Medicine (MED). Learn more about him in this interview.

Per Bakke
Per Bakke was employed as Dean of The Faculty of Medicine the first of August.
Kim E. Andreassen

Main content

Congratulation on your new job as the Dean of Faculty of Medicine. Can you please tell us about your background?

“I am a Professor in medicine and lung diseases.  I was educated at the University of Bergen, and graduated in 1982. I became a medical doctor in 1992 and have researched risk factors, as well as undertaking epidemiological and clinical research on the high-risk patients.”

“I became a Professor at UiB in 1998 and the Head of Department of Clinical Science in 2010.”

Why did you apply for the job as Dean?

“I would first like to say that I think that Nina Langeland has done a great job as Dean. However, from my point of view as Head of Department, I have some ideas about potential areas for even greater improvement, which I hope will bring about more positive growth at the Faculty.”

Could you give us some more details about this?

“There are three particular areas I would like to improve. The first is to place more focus on the students and education. We are currently implementing a new curriculum in medicine. We will also implement a new programme description in pharmaceutics. I see this as a golden opportunity to elevate the Faculty’s education programmes. These changes have been made possible by involving students more in the planning of different aspects of their medical training: including the curriculum and he medical skills training centre. In my opinion, the Faculty has the potential to become the first choice for anyone wanting to study in the kind of training our programmes of study and master programs offer.”

And what is the second point?

“The second thing I would like to focus on is to increase contact between MED and the other Faculties at UiB. The physical distance between Årstadvollen and Nygårdshøyden is too long. I thing we have a lot  to gain if we think outside the box and begin to work for closer contacts, in particular, with other Faculties than The Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences. I think it could be rewarding to do more interdisciplinary, externally funded projects with the other Faculties as well.”

How could this be done?

“We need to discuss this further, but one of the initiatives could be to establish meeting points between researchers at different Faculties. We could also establish a forum for Heads of Departments between the different Faculties. By doing this, we could establish new contacts and reduce the distance between us and the other Faculties."

And the last point?

“We need to make the Faculty more international, through student exchange and exchange programmes for researchers. One of the means could be to establish exchange programmes for PhDs and Postdocs with important universities abroad.  We must also consider what what we ourselves could contribute to such exchanges. It would be useful to think about including the hospital´s facilities.”

Would you like to add anything else?

“We are living in the times of “fake news”, and it is therefore more important than ever to assert oneself in the field of communication. We have what it takes to combat untrue information at the university, but we must also change our traditional attitudes about communication; for example, that it is sufficient for researchers to only publish in scientific magazines. We must be courageous and set the agenda ourselves, as Rebecca Cox and Kristin Greve Isdahl-Mohn recently did in their contribution to the vaccine debate.”

“We also need to make a new strategy for the Faculty. In addition, I have established a new position as Vice-Dean for Innovation, to provide increased focus on this part of the Faculty´s work."

What is the new Vice-Dean for Innovation, Helge Ræder, going to work on?

“One of his most important tasks is to focus on innovation. We have to become more accustomed to thinking innovation and commercialisation. One means for accomplishing this is to build closer contact with Norwegian School of Economics (NHH), as they have great experience with innovation and the business community. Another goal is to strengthen our connection to Bergen Technology Transfer AS (BTO), UiB’s commercialisation partner, with clear expectations about what they can help us with.”

“I would like to underline that the Vice-Deans and Dean will be working together as a team, and that their tasks will overlap.”

What kind of Dean do you think you will be?

“I want to promote teamwork in the leader group across the Departments and across the Faculties.”

What do you look forward to?

“I enjoy talking with people – and engaging in teamwork. These are some of the things I look forward to doing. I am also looking forward to lifting some challenges beyond the Department-level.”

What personal qualities will we notice in your work as dean?

“I think it is important to have fun at work. If you do not have fun at work, then there is no point in doing what we are doing. I have tried to communicate this to my colleagues and co-workers as Head of Department as well. It is important to ha some sense of humour.”

What do you like to do when you are not working?

I like to walk in the mountains. After work, I often walk to Mount Ulriken. My family has a cabin at Ustaoset, and I like to go there. I have done a lot of walking in Hardangervidda and I have a map of Sunnmørsalpene in my office. I will bring this map to my new office at the Faculty.