Pioneering Bachelor of Northern Studies graduates
Wed, Jun 20, 2012
For the very first time, Finnmark University College together with Russian partner universities organized ceremonies for students who have completed Bachelor of Northern Studies. This happened in Murmansk, Russia, where 21 students received their diploma for completed studies.
The first group of Bachelor of Northern Studies (BNS) students was given their diplomas from Finnmark University College and certificates from University of the Arctic in Murmansk last week.
According to project manager for the BNS program, Per Møller, it was a major milestone in this project, which will now be continued as a permanent study program at Finnmark University College. From previously, Finnmark University College has graduated five BNS-students before the ceremonies in Murmansk. - This is the first time we have a larger group that finishes and that is a milestone, says Møller.
The students who got their diplomas and certificates, come from Murmansk State Technical University (MSTU) and Murmansk State Humanities University (MSHU). They have all been doing Bachelor of Northern Studies as an undergraduate studies double-degree program.
The Russian students are studying different programs at their home university as engineering, economy, teaching, language or journalism while completing Bachelor of Northern Studies at Finnmark University College.
Both MSTU and MSHU contributed to making the ceremonies to a memorable event for the students and participating staff. The students and what they had achieved was highlighted by speeches and cultural contributions, making the ceremonies to a real treat for those who took part.
"Congratulations. The diploma and certificate we give you today proves that you have had to deal with complex interdisciplinary issues covering a wide range of topics. I hope this is knowledge in which makes a difference to you. I hope you are proud of what you have achieved", said the lecturer and academic responsible, Peter Haugseth, who along with project manager Per Møller, head of the Department of Business and Tourism, Jørund Greibrokk, and teacher Bjorn Sagdahl attended the ceremony on behalf of the Finnmark University College.
High North Studies
The program is interdisciplinary and addresses relevant topics in the northern areas, such as peoples and cultures, environment and resources, economy and politics, border issues, about living in arctic areas and especially in the Barents region.
"Students taking this program online, have to complete 6 core courses, each of 12 modules. They will have to perform both basic courses and advanced emphasis courses during their studies. The advanced emphasis courses can be taken on campus either in Alta, or at other universities within U-Arctic that we cooperate with", says Per Møller. "And we are about to develop a new advanced emphasis program that will be offered on-line, and this will give an opportunity to complete the BNS program also for those who, for different reasons, cannot go abroad."
Also at Ukhta State Technical University, in the Komi Republic, 5 BNS-students graduated this spring. In total, 21 Russian students graduated from Bachelor of Northern Studies, making this spring a most successful one for the BNS program.
Important for MSHU
Rector of MSHU, Andrey Sergeev, spoke during the ceremony at his university. In his speech he highlighted the good cooperation between MSHU and Finnmark University College.
"The BNS program is very important for our university and the ceremony today confirms a new stage in our cooperation. I hope our students will share the knowledge they have gained through their studies and that the diploma will help them in their career", said Sergeev.
The same wish was given from the Head of Department of Economic and Tourism at Finnmark University College, Jørund Greibrokk.
"Education in the north is becoming internationalized. BNS is a product of shared knowledge between many universities. Being mobile and international is more important now than ever before. Through the program, students have crossed the borders", said Greibrokk during the ceremony, adding that education should reflect what society expects - such as the new relationship between Norway and Russia.
Partly for this reason, BNS courses are by now a regular subject at the journalism-study program at MSHU.
Many of the students from Murmansk have been to Alta for one semester to study. The scholarship programs as North2north, sponsored by UArctic, and Barents Plus, sponsored by the Barents secretariat, have made it possible.
The ceremonies in Murmansk were attended by potential BNS-students, and several submitted applications for becoming enrolled. But it's not just the Russian students who have now opened their eyes to the possibilities BNS is providing. Today there are 15 Norwegian students that are attending the program and more will come. "Not only Norwegian, but also European students have discovered the program, and we get inquiries from around the world as it is an online degree program", says Møller.
The program provides opportunities
Students from both MSHU and MSTU are telling about a good and interesting program, despite hectic years with a lot of studies.
"It has been a wonderful experience to study the BNS. I am very pleased to have achieved a diploma and I hope it will help me in my career", says Maria Kavadeeva, who today works as a teacher. But she has an ambition to get a job related to the Norwegian-Russian cooperation. She believes BNS program will be a key for such employment. Therefore, she says it is of great interest among Russian students, who have asked her about the program. Also a more open border between Norway and Russia provides perspectives among the students, who see opportunities in the north.
The fact that the program is taught in English is an advantage for the Russian students after graduation.
"The program gives a good opportunity to practice English, and I see it as a great advantage for my career to have achieved a Bachelor degree conducted in English", says Anne Grin, who has completed the study program.
Inger Elin Utsi
Finnmark University College