Jón Atli Benediktsson, Rector of the University of Iceland, sent the following message to University staff and students today (4 June 2021):
"Dear students and colleagues,
A new strategy for the University of Iceland for the period 2021-2026 was approved by the University Council yesterday. It is now up to all of us to put the guiding principles outlined in the strategy into action.
The strategy describes our determined commitment to excelling in all areas of the public and international domain of higher education and research.
- We are resolved to become an interdisciplinary institution, better preparing us to face any future challenges and creating a fertile environment for research and innovation.
- We are also resolved to strengthen our engagement and collaboration with Icelandic society in order to continue to earn the trust that is placed in us, founded on our commitment to quality.
- We also intend to foster diversity, sustainability and equality in all areas of our operations.
- We are convinced that mutual respect and positive communication are the foundation of wellbeing and we intend to continue to set a shining example in this area as the largest workplace in Iceland.
We also plan to continue to develop effective teaching methods for on-campus and distance learning and shape services to meet your needs, dear students and colleagues.
- We will be adopting digital solutions in all areas of our work. This will make an enormous difference to our ability to handle fast evolving circumstances and make us more competitive on the global stage.
- Finally, we intend to raise standards to create a better university, which will in turn create a better society.
I would like to thank the strategic planning steering committee for all their excellent work in the interests of the University and our communities, but I am no less grateful to every one of you who has contributed to this strategy, which was developed in close consultation with stakeholders across Icelandic society. The new strategy will be presented at the annual forum of the University of Iceland on 14 June, which will be live streamed.
Innovation has been a key focus of the strategy we set out six years ago and, with the new strategy, we will take even more deliberate steps towards advancing entrepreneurship. We aim to rejuvenate society in a broad sense and identify solutions to the most pressing challenges currently facing humankind.
A highly successful Iceland Innovation Week concluded on Tuesday with the awarding of the University of Iceland Science and Innovation Prizes. The winning idea was a new drug to treat malaria in children that can administered outside a hospital. Three other projects also received prizes: variable stiffness in prosthetic legs, smart technology for visualising glacial retreat, and software for expanding the use of Icelandic in a digital world. My heartfelt congratulations to all the prize winners.
Summer courses are now underway and it is gratifying to see them so well attended. There is still time to register for some courses and students are particularly encouraged to sign up for those courses due to start in the next few days. Just over 70 courses in a wide variety of subjects are available, including courses for credit, preparatory courses and lifelong learning for the public.
We are currently working together with the Directorate of Labour to hire summer staff – the new recruits are university students taking important steps into the world of employment. I am delighted to welcome all these brilliant new employees to the University of Iceland.
Dear students and colleagues,
Graduation is approaching for a large number of students, who will undoubtedly make their mark on Icelandic society over the next years and decades. The role of a university is to have a positive impact on the whole of society, in particular through the provision of high quality education and the creation of new knowledge through research.
The graduation ceremony will take place in Laugardalshöll in two stages. Undergraduate and graduate students will graduate from the School of Social Sciences and the School of Engineering and Natural Sciences in the morning and from the School of Health Sciences, the School of Humanities and the School of Education in the afternoon.
Enjoy your weekend as best you can and remember to take care.
Jón Atli Benediktsson, Rector"