University of the Arctic governance

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The University of the Arctic is governed by a rather complex structure, where the member institutions are represented through various mechanisms. It has evolved steadily since the organization's founding in 2001, with the latest addition being the Rectors' Forum (2006).

The Council[edit]

The basic element in the structure is the annual UArctic Council, which consists of representatives from all member institutions. It holds powers roughly corresponding to the parliament of a parliamentary democracy. The Council gives strategic guidance on academic priorities, is a forum for cooperation, and has the authority and primary responsibility for the following items.

  • Initiating and overseeing program development and delivery
  • Prioritizing academic programs within the approved program structure
  • Representing UArctic's members in its overall governance.
  • Changing the Governance Structure, which is the "constitution" of UArctic.
  • Forming standing committees on different issues.
  • Electing the Chair of the Council.
  • Electing the Board of Governors, where the Chair is an ex officio member.


Between Council meetings, the executive committee Toyon deals with relevant issues. Toyon consists of the Chair, the Vice-secretary and the Chairs of all standing committees. All these positions are elected by the Council.

The Board of Governors[edit]

The "government" of UArctic is the Board of Governors, which consists of up to 11 individuals elected by the Council to serve in their personal capacities and act on behalf of UArctic. According to the statutes of the University of the Arctic, one of these is to represent the students. At the Board meetings, the President and leader of the International Secretariat also participate. The Board works with the Council and Administration on relevant issues, and may delegate specific tasks on the understanding thatthe Board maintains ultimate control over and responsibility for these functions. The Board has the authority and primary responsibility for the following items:

  • Strategic planning and setting institutional priorities.
  • Organizational development and institutional accountability.
  • Fundraising, finances, and budgeting (including personnel)
  • Public and external relations.
  • Electing the President of the University of the Arctic for a three year (renewable) term.

The President[edit]

The President of UArctic is the organization's chief executive officer and is responsible for overall administration and the development and delivery of its programs. S/he is accountable to the Board for the overall management of the University and elected by the Council. The President participates ex officio in meetings of the Council, Toyon and the Board, and works closely with these bodies to ensure that programmatic activities are initiated and implemented in a timely manner. The President may form such committees or other subsidiary bodies as s/he deems necessary to carry out the programmatic activities of the University.

The International Secretariat[edit]

The Secretariat has the primary responsibility for coordinating internal and external information, particularly the production of the monthly UArctic newsletter, Shared Voices, and maintaining the website and news services. The Secretariat provides support for UArctic’s Council, Board of Governors, management, and the Director of UArctic. It is located at the University of Lapland in Rovaniemi, Finland.

Pomot and Ofelas[edit]

The Rectors' Forum[edit]

The Rectors' Forum brings together university and college Presidents, Rectors, Provosts, Chancellors as well as Vice-Presidents around specific themes. The Forum is reserved for institutional leadership and is not intended as an institutional representative forum; the Council of UArctic serves that function. Still, it serves the important function of letting member institutions' top leaders meet to debate the activity of the organization. In UArctic's history two Rectors' Forums have been held, in 2006 and 2008. The latter meeting coincided with the meeting of the Parliamentarians of the Arctic, and was held in Rovaniemi, Finland.