The principal-election for University of Agder is now reaching its last 100 meters. The two candidates left in the race are Sigbjørn Sødal, dean for the Faculty of Social Sciences and School of Business and Law and Frank Reichert, dean for Faculty of Engineering and Science.
With this occasion, Unikum asked them some questions that would allow you to get to know them on a more informal level.
In this interview, we get to meet Sigbjørn Sødal, a charismatic presence with a great amount of good plans for our university.
01. Where did you study and what was your way to prepare for exams?
– I have studied at several universities or colleges in the United States, Trondheim, Oslo, Kristiansand and Bergen. I usually followed lectures and collaborated with other students in different ways, but for some exams I prepared exclusively on my own, using textbooks etc.
02. If you would have to recommend 3 books to the students, what would those books be?
– It depends on what kind of students they are, but a highly diverse mix could consist of the Bible, George Orwell’s famous “1984”, and the Norwegian writer Olav Duun’s novel “Menneske og maktene”.
03. What kinds of music do you prefer?
– Mainly classical music and jazz.
04. If you could choose a superpower, what would it be?
– If you think of a kind of personal, magic force, it would be the ability to travel instantly all over the globe.
05. If you would get a 50.000.000 NOK gift for the University, what would be your first investing priority?
– All kinds of facilities and equipment for the students, of course!!
06. How did you use to deal with exams stress in your student years?
– I simply tried to ignore it, which, I suppose, is a terribly bad way to deal with such stress.
07. How do you plan to have a better communication with the students at our university and listen better to their needs?
– I have already made an agreement with a student that asked me exactly that question on Facebook, that he shall bring a group of fellow students to my office right after the election, so that we can discuss that issue and they can give me some advice. In any case, I plan to use social media in various ways, as well as walking around, participating in appropriate student events etc.
08. Can you see a solution for the very low amount of reading places at our university?
– The main long run solution is simply to expand capacity at both campuses, or to reduce intake of new students if that is not possible. I am skeptical to a sudden, significant reduction in the intake of new students to solve such problems quickly, since that would have other and probably more negative implications for the university and the society that we are to serve.
09. Name a movie that had an impact on you and why did it have this impact.
– I think the classical movie “Ben Hur” was the first, or at least one of the first, large-screen movies that I was able to watch when growing up in the 1960’s. It made an accordingly strong impact on me.
10. What is your philosophy towards your work?
– Work hard, have fun and treat all people around you with respect.
11. In 50 words or fewer, describe what skills and knowledge you can bring to our team.
– A broad academic background, analytical skills, good knowledge about the Agder region and the Norwegian public system and bureaucracy, and a good sense of humor.
12. How would your best friend describe you?
– I haven’t asked, but I hope he would say that I am trustworthy.
13. How do you define success and how do you measure up to your own definition?
– In this personal context, I will define success as living up to your full potential as a human being. I think my track record in that respect is more or less as mixed as for most other people.
14. Give us an example when you failed at something. How did you react and how did you overcome failure?
– I failed in my communication with some people in the faculty administration shortly after I entered the dean position five years ago. I had to apologize (not the only time!), it was accepted, and we moved forward together.
15. If you were on an island and could only bring 3 things, what would those be?
– My wife, a motorboat and enough fuel to get back to the mainland.
16. What is the funniest thing that has happened to you lately?
– Some silly rumors that I have heard about myself during the election campaign.
17. What is your least favorite things about humanity?
– The shame that poverty still exists.
18. If you could meet a personality from the past, who would that personality be and why?
– Perhaps Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, and ask him how on earth he was able to write so much fantastic music before he died only 35 years old.
19. If you were 80 years old, what would you tell your children?
– More or less what my parents, both around that age, tell me…
20. Any words from your heart for the students?
– Enjoy your student life! Regardless of how stressful you feel it, you will soon and for the rest of your life remember your student years at UiA as one of the best periods of your life.
More information about their future priorities, you can find here:
We encourage all the students to get informed about the candidates and express their vote!
By: Erika Erdös – Email
Photo: Desirée N. Skalle – Email