Henriette N. Tøssebro
Candidate for the University Board among fixed-term employees with teaching and research positions.
Henriette N. Tøssebro is PhD Candidate at Department of Public and International Law, JUS.
- Nominates herself
Despite being a legal scholar, I am not solely concerned with laws and regulations. To me, the principle of equality and fairness is equally important. This will help me to promote your interests in the University Board.
There is a plethora of reasons to why I should represent you in the University Board this coming year. One apparent reason being my genuine dedication to protect and to improve the rights of the temporary staff.
My experiences with representative work at faculty level have shown that temporary staff are often demoted for financial reasons or for the particular interests of permanent staff. This may regard office facilities, teaching opportunities or financial support.
Having these experiences in mind, I wish to address the following issues:
1) “PhD today, hired tomorrow”?
For many people, writing a PhD thesis is the stepping-stone to an academic career. Unfortunately, not everyone succeeds. Several PhD candidates do not submit on time. Following the NIFU STEP report from 2012, two out of ten PhD candidates never finish their projects.
It is crucial that our university facilitates the academic work of temporary staff. Many PhD candidates find themselves in clear need of support. The way I see it, a range of measures should be considered:
- The PhD program: The PhD programs need quality assurance. The mandatory courses of the program ought to be of relevance to the candidate projects.
- Supervision: Supervision must be of high quality. Today there are profound differences between the faculties on how the resources are distributed.
- Office facilities: Temporary staff spend a considerable amount of hours at the office, working on tasks requiring deep concentration. Despite this fact, temporary staff is generally given inferior office facilities compared to that of other employment groups.
- Financial resources: Participation in an international environment requires financial support. Today many employees spend too many hours applying for funds. This precious time should rather be spent on their respective research projects.
- Scholarship fund after submission of the thesis: All PhD candidates should be given a scholarship fund after submission of the thesis, if it is handed in before the period of employment has ended.
2) Foreseeability, time to research and equal prospects of teaching
In many cases, the writing of a PhD marks the beginning of a never-ending cycle of temporary contracts. The current trend ought to be reversed. In addition, the employee should be given the opportunity to develop their educational skills beside their research skills. Among other things, these measures can be mentioned:
- Equal prospects of teaching: Certain faculties offer a four-year contract with teaching duties throughout the contract. I find that the opportunity of teaching while working on my thesis brings out new and interesting perspectives to my own research project. Besides, educational experience is of prime importance when it comes to later work applications – especially in a competitive market. I wish this opportunity was available to all of us.
- Research time: As a junior scholar, most temporary staff will spend more time on teaching preparations compared to the more experienced permanent staff. If this is not accounted for in the compensation factor, the time spent on teaching preparations may reduce the overall research time. This situation is most unfortunate: Temporarily staff being at an early stage in their career needs this time to focus on their research projects.
- Educational courses and career: To better arm the temporary staff in their needs and obligations, extra support should be provided in terms of communication or educational courses, or similar training.
- Holds a Master degree in Norwegian law (University of Oslo, 2007–2015) and an LL.M. in maritime law (University of Southampton, 2012–2013)
- Employed at the Faculty of Law since 2014, first as a research assistant, then as a PhD candidate
- Consultant at Oslo District Court (2008–2012) and the Law Departement at the Ministry of Justice and Public Security (2014 and 2016)
- Representative for the temporary staff at the Faculty of Law:
- Representative for the temporary staff at the Faculty Board at the Faculty of Law (2016–2017)
- 2. substitute for the temporary staff at the Departement of Public and International Law (2016–2017)
- Representative for the temporary staff in the Program council for research (2017–)
- Leader of the PhD Council at the Faculty of Law (2017–)
- Representative for the temporary staff at Arbeidsgruppen for arbeidsplikt og Regler for godskrivning (working group on the credits for teaching and employment) at the Faculty of Law (2016-2017)
- Member of the national research school in textual interpretation ATTR (Authoritative Texts and Their Reception)
- Editorial Member in the refereed journal "Kritisk Juss"
- Judicial Member in The Norwegian National Research Ethics Committee