By Lindsay Yakimyshyn
Although Augustana’s faculty engages in research throughout the teaching year, sabbaticals provide professors with an opportunity to focus more exclusively on research projects. Last year, Dr. Ingrid Urberg, Associate Professor of Scandinavian Studies, was on sabbatical, during which time she made significant contributions to her field.
As Dr. Urberg’s research interests took her to Norway, she spent time researching at the University of Tromsø Library and at the Norwegian Polar Institute.
Dr. Urberg notes that her sabbatical coincided with the International Polar Year. According to the official website for the IPY, it is a “large scientific programme focused on the Arctic and the Antarctic from March 2007 to March 2009” (www.ipy.org). Dr. Urberg says, “Since one of my major projects was working with personal narratives from Svalbard, specifically by women who have spent extended periods on this Norwegian Arctic archipelago, I was able to present my work at a variety of conferences organized around polar themes in polar location.”
During her sabbatical, Dr. Urberg had the opportunity to present at several conferences, including the Arctic Discourses 2008 conference, to disseminate her research. She also had an article, “Svalbard’s Daughters: Personal Accounts by Svalbard’s Female Pioneers,” published in NORDLIT.
For Dr. Urberg, the academic conferences and publications were complemented by cultural experiences. She says that some of the highlights of her sabbatical include, “Attending numerous Norwegian theatre productions and films, a number of them with polar themes, participating in fall book fair events and assorted International Polar Year events in Norway.”
Dr. Urberg looks forward to continuing to pursue her research, and to the impact her work will have on her courses at Augustana, as she says, “My ongoing research informs [my] teaching.”