The University of Northern British Columbia Senate has approved an initiative that will strengthen UNBC's links with an innovative institution working to increase northern participation rates in post-secondary education.
The Senate has approved UNBC's involvement in the planning and development of the University of the Arctic, a new "university without walls". The University of the Arctic is bringing together existing northern colleges and universities to co-operate in delivering courses and programs on northern issues. Scott Forrest, a graduate from UNBC's master's degree program in International Studies is working in Finland to help establish the new University. The coordination office has been set up at the University of Lapland, with whom UNBC has an exchange agreement.
A program development team is currently working on developing a bachelor's degree in Circumpolar Studies, with many courses available via the World Wide Web. UNBC Political Science professor Greg Poelzer is a member of the team, and the next meeting will be held at UNBC in January, when the curriculum will be discussed. This past semester, UNBC offered a web course on the Geography of the Circumpolar North, and is developing a web-based course on Environmental Development in the Circumpolar North.
There are also initiatives to establish a northern research forum and a circumpolar mobility program to promote interaction among students and faculty.
Robin Fisher, UNBC Dean of Arts, Social, and Health Sciences, and Leslie King, UNBC's Northwest Regional Chair, are on the Interim Council of the University of the Arctic and the Council will meet at UNBC in May, 2000.
The web page for the University of the Arctic is located at www.urova.fi/home/uarctic