My name is Øystein Varpe and I am a professor of ecology at The University Centre in Svalbard (UNIS). In bioCEED I am responsible for the work-package on Educational Leadership and am also engaged in some of our work on active learning and the collegial teaching culture.
One aim within the bioCEED work-package on leadership has been to engage and lead at the national level by communicating and discussing our findings and approaches with all biology departments in Norway. We do so through the Forum for Educational Leadership in Biology – inspiring for bioCEED and as far as we know also of value for the other institutions. I enjoy coordinating this forum.
bioCEED colleagues and collaborators have motivated me to continuously reach a higher level of reflection and scholarship in teaching and learning. I vary my teaching methods more than I did before and I pay more attention to learning objectives and to ways that I can understand the extent that students actually learn from the activities we do. I have a particular interest in stimulating students to gain critical and autonomous thinking skills and believe that research-based and research-oriented teaching can achieve this. The students I meet here at UNIS are excellent and an inspiring and integral part of our environment. I try to motivate and to make them aware of all their opportunities – as well as their own responsibilities and the often hard work involved.
My research is within evolutionary ecology, with a particular fascination for questions about life history and behaviour. Much of my research and the MSc and PhD projects I advise on are about how seasonality shapes ecological processes and evolutionary adaptations. I am also lucky to teach on these topics at UNIS and to even establish a course in this direction: Life History Adaptations to Seasonality.
Born and raised by teachers there has for as long as I can remember been pedagogics in the air. I have enjoyed this, and I appreciate how bioCEED-colleagues and the accompanying teaching culture have vitalised and structured this part of me and my work.