Tórshavn, Faroe Islands
University description (as per official university website)
About the University
The University of the Faroe Islands is an educational and research institute, established by an Act of Parliament.
The University is mainly financed by public funds, i.e. the University receives an annual allocation provided for in the Faroese National Budget. In 2007 the allocation is DKK 19,364,000.
In recent years several externally financed projects have been initiated. These have included support for research projects and PhD studentships. External sources of finance include the Research Council, The Danish Research Agency, and the oil companies, etc.
The number of students has increased over the last years, now there are 130 students enrolled at the University. With the present constraints on finance and premises this number is not expected to increase significantly. There are indications, though, that funds will be available in 2008 to start new educational programmes and research.
In the near future, the University will most likely be merged with two other higher educational institutions, that is the Teachers College and the Nursing School. A legislation proposal is to be presented to the Faroese Løgting in november 2007.
History of the University
Academia Færoensis - the history of the university
The University of the Faroe Islands was founded in 1965 with the Latin name Academia Færoensis. The members of the Faroese Scientific Society, founded in 1952, took the initiative to acquire a place of higher learning in the Faroe Islands. The Faroese Scientific Society worked towards an academic and scientific environment. Amongst its activities, the Society published a scientific periodical and carried out comprehensive work on the compilation of Faroese vocabulary.
In 1965, based on a proposal by the Faroese Scientific Society, the Faroese Parliament agreed to establish the University of the Faroe Islands, with the purpose of conducting “scientific research work and higher education. The responsibility of the teachers is to conduct both”. So the Faroese acquired an institute of higher learning.
The university began with one professor, Christian Matras and a registrar Maud Heinesen. For those first years the activities comprised of one-year courses in natural history and Faroese for teachers. These were the courses which the Faroese Scientific Society had decided on, and which the University continued with. The yearly courses for teachers were held fairly regularly at the University until the late 1980’s when it was decided that the training of teachers should be organised by the National School Administration.
In addition to the yearly courses the University arranged public lectures on various subjects and evening schools in Faroese. At the beginning the University arranged for a collection committee, which was appointed in 1967, and had as its task preservation of Faroese folk culture. As a continuation of this committee the cultural heritage committee was appointed in 1970 to collect material relating to Faroese life and Faroese folklore. This material is today in the archives of the Faculty of Faroese Language and Literature. A further committee was appointed in 1972 to collect Faroese hymns and spiritual ballads. Every year the University has organised a dissertation competition open to all.
Academic education began in 1970 with a course in philosophy leading to an examin philosophy taken at the end of the first year.
The academic degree/diploma courses began with a basic natural science/philosophical course in 1972. Since 1982 mathematics/physics and biology/chemistry have been taught regularly, and since 1987 various subjects to BSc.
In 1974 the Faculty of Faroese Language and Literature started diploma courses. At first just one- year courses were held, but a two-year degree course to exam.Arts commenced in 1976. In 1987 it became possible to read further to Arts graduate (cand.phil).
A two-year course in theology was started in 1976. The first two years were a trial period, but in 1978 it was decided to establish a Theology Department. Agreements were made with universities in Iceland and Denmark so that the students could complete their degrees there. Theology and history were joined together in one faculty and in 1987 teaching of history started, first to exam. Art, then later to BA and Arts graduate (cand.phil.). Theology was dropped as a degree subject in 1988.
In the period of 1993-95 one-year courses in sociology and economics, trade and languages were arranged. These were suspended during the years of the economic crisis, but in 2000 students were once again enrolled for these courses.
From 1999 the Faculty of Science and Technology with strong support from the oil companies has been able to offer teaching in petroleum engineering. In the spring of 2002, the first students obtained degrees in petroleum engineering.
The latest teaching initiative is the open university course in e–science, which began in the autumn of 2002. It is a part-time course, which can be taken while working within the IT industry.
The Legislation and management
In 1987 a law pertaining to the University of the Faroe Islands came into force. It was amended in 1990, when the University received University status, and again in 1995 when its structure was simplified. Administratively, according to the law, the University comes directly under the Government, managed by the Rector together with the University Council and the faculty committees. The Rector has the day-to-day responsibility of management and is assisted by an administration headed by the Registrar.
Petur Zachariassen was the first Rector of the University from June 1987 to December 1990. Jóan Pauli Joensen was Rector from January 1991 to March 1998 and Arne Nørrevang from April to November 1998. Malan Marnersdóttir was Rector from december 1998 to October 2004, when Jóan Pauli Joensen again became rector. He is now in his second term this time.
From the outset of the University Christian Matras was professor. In 1986 the University obtained two more professors when Mortan Nolsøe was appointed Professor in Folklore and Jóhan Hendrik Winther Poulsen was appointed Professor in Nordic, specialising in the Faroese language.
In 1989 Hans Jacob Debes, dr.phil.was appointed professor in Faroese history and general history and Jóan Pauli Joensen, dr.phil.& fil.dr., in history of civilization and social anthropology.
Magnus Danielsen, Ph.D., was appointed professor in electrical engineering in 1991. Arne Nørrevang, dr. phil., was appointed professor in biology in 1995 and Eyðun Andreassen, dr. phil., professor in folklore in 1996.
In 2001 Dorete Bloch was appointed part-time professor in zoology.
31 March 2004 Malan Marnersdóttir, rector, was appointed professor in Literature
A Government Proclamation on PhD studies was made in 1996 authorising the University to advance students to Ph.D. degrees. In May 1997, Jóannes Dalsgaard defended the first Ph.D. paper entitled: ”Fylking 75 years. A study of the working men’s movement in Tvøroyri and a description of its issues, development, organisation and outcome – with emphasis on the period 1915-1951.”
On 9.2.2001 Andras Mortensen defended his Ph.D. thesis: ”The Faroese rowboat. The Faroese marine culture in former times.”
On 14.6.2002 Kirsten Brix defended her Ph.D. thesis: "Dialogue in the Tower of Babel”.
On 21.3.2003 Erland Viberg Joensen defended his Ph.D. thesis: "Dockers in Tórshavn".
On 6.6.2003 Jóannes Djurhuus defended his Ph.D. thesis: "Analytical investigations of in-situ stresses and hydraulic induced borehole fractures".
On 2.9.2006 Guðrun Gaard defended her Ph.D. thesis: "Far fram á Torg”
On 2.4.2007 Bárður A. Niclassen defended his Ph.D. thesis: "An operational wave model for the Faroe Shelf"
On 20.6.2007 Høgni Hammershaimb Debes defended his Ph.D. thesis: "Phytoplankton and Zooplankton Interactions on the Faroe Shelf"
At present there are 6 Ph.D. students registered. 2 of them have had their thesis' accepted for defence. The defence will take place in December and in February.