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Published: 2023-01-13

New in office – Deputy Vice-Chancellor Cathrine Norberg

NEWS The breadth, the cooperative culture and the possibility to be a part of the transformation of the Swedish north. Those are some of the aspects that made Cathrine Norberg accept her new role as Deputy Vice-Chancellor of Umeå University. “This is a strong comprehensive university,” she says.

Text: Evelina Åberg

Cathrine Norberg took office as Deputy Vice-Chancellor with special responsibility for education at first- and second-cycle levels at Umeå University on 1 January 2023.

“I feel excited, honoured and full of expectation. I know Umeå University has a good reputation when it comes to education and research, and a great selection of courses and study programmes in a variety of fields. I find that inspiring,” she says.

Cathrine Norberg describes the positive culture, referred to as the Umeå University spirit, as yet another appealing characteristic.

“I’m looking forward to being a part of, and learning from, this positive spirit.”

Her own academic career actually started at Umeå University, where she earnt a degree in teaching for upper-secondary school in English and German in 1987. She even had a short teaching assignment at Umeå University before taking on her doctoral education in English linguistics in her home town of Luleå. Now, Cathrine Norberg is professor of English.

At Luleå University of Technology, she became head of section followed by head of department at what was then the Department of Language and Culture. Thereafter, she was appointed dean of the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences for two terms of office. Cathrine Norberg also held the position as vice chair of what used to be the Teacher Education Committee, and from July 2018 until December 2022, she was Pro Vice-Chancellor, all in Luleå.

A passion for teaching and education

Cathrine Norberg has also held several national assignments; as chair of Teacher Education Convention and as an expert in teacher education at the Association of Swedish Higher Education Institutions (SUHF). All in all, she brings with her vast experience into her new role.

“Taking responsibility for teaching and education suits me perfectly. I’m passionate about the subject and have a huge interest in quality, cooperation and collaboration, which are strongly interlinked, really,” says Cathrine Norberg continuing:

“The teacher education is so important for all other education, and it’s always a hot topic with lots of activity.” 

“One doesn’t just move to a new place simply for the sake of a job or an education. The place needs to have an atmosphere in which you can live and thrive.

Looking forward to Umeå living

Now, Cathrine Norberg is back where it all started, and even if she has a whole lot of commuting ahead of her, she looks forward to enjoying what Umeå has to offer also outside of work hours. She is an active person who enjoys exercise, and looks forward to walks in the Gammlia woods, training at IKSU and trying out what the town has to offer in terms of culture and dining.

“I find it important that the town is reasonably sized – and living in Umeå is straightforward. It’s easy to get around by public transport or by bike, which a lot of people use. One doesn’t just move to a new place simply for the sake of a job or an education. The place needs to have an atmosphere in which you can live and thrive. Umeå University is a hub in all of that atmosphere,” she says.

“On campus, it really does feel like you’re at the heart of education and research. The University has several strong faculties characterised by multidisciplinarity and a strong student influence. That’s so important at a university in my mind, and that’s how I perceive Umeå,” says Cathrine.

A part of the transformation of the north

Cathrine Norberg believes that universities play an important role in the current societal transformation of northern Sweden, with huge industrial investments demanding that societies develop at the same speed.

She hopes to contribute to further strengthen collaboration between higher education institutions in northern Sweden and emphasises the importance of universities contributing to talent acquisition in several fields.

“We need to take the entire picture into account to succeed. We need engineers for the industry, of course, but entire communities also need to be built. We need to have successful schools and healthcare services, culture and lots more. To create stable communities and to succeed with this transition, we need to create attractive environments in northern Sweden in which people want to work and live. I’m grateful for taking part in contributing to all that,” says Cathrine Norberg.