Department of Comparative Politics

Ten nationalities now represented at Comparative Politics

- Diverse groups are more likely to succeed.

Ten flags at Comparative Politics
Ten nationalities are represented at Department of Comparative Politics: Canada, Germany, The Netherlands, Peru, Argentina, France, Sweden, United States, Turkey, and Norway.

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With the recent hire of a PhD student from Canada, the Department of Comparative Politics now counts 10 different nationalities among its approximately 45 tenured and untenured staff.

Within the past several years, the department has hired scholars from Germany, the Netherlands, Peru, Argentina and France. They joined existing employees from the countries of Sweden, Turkey, the United States, and of course Norway.

Strength from diversity
Department head Gunnar Grendstad says diversity makes sense in a department that studies political difference.

Moreover, he says, diversity makes SAMPOL more vibrant, creative and resourceful. He notes that, according to research, diverse groups are more likely to succeed than groups that are homogeneous.

Diversification also fulfills a goal ­– indeed, a legal mandate – of the University of Bergen. UiB has sought to diversify its staff by encouraging members of underrepresented demographic groups to apply for calls for positions.

As of 2014, UiB was home to 870 international employees representing 79 countries. After Norway, countries with the most UiB employees were Germany (137), Sweden (70), the United Kingdom (64), the United States (51) and China (35).

Those number are good, says Grendstad – but he notes that diversity must be used for more than just producing numbers in annual reports. The goal of diversification has not always been linked to clear measure of progress, making it hard to determine whether, and when, diversity is prompting positive change.

Grendstad says organizations must recognize that diversity brings challenges along with opportunities. Diverse groups are more likely to come up with innovative ideas. And that is exactly what is supposed to take place at a university.