Leading immigrants in Norway: US-born Vice Rector among top ten

Curt Rice, Vice Rector for Research and Development at the University of Tromsø, has been named one of Norway’s ten most successful immigrants of 2009.

The Leadership Foundation is responsible for the Top 10 project, an annual award that recognises five women and five men with an immigrant background who have made an impact on Norwegian working and social life. The goal of the project is to draw attention to positive non-native role models.

From researcher to vice rector

Originally from the United States, Dr Rice came to Norway as a linguistics researcher in 1991. Since then he has served as both a department head and director of the Centre for Advanced Study in Theoretical Linguistics (CASTL) at the University of Tromsø, a Centre of Excellence funded by the Research Council. He was elected Vice Rector at the University of Tromsø in 2008.

“I think it is great that there is a focus on leadership and the fact that immigrants, too, take on leading positions and contribute to Norwegian society,” said Dr Rice to the University of Tromsø’s website.

Successful center

When the first Norwegian SFF centers were evaluated midway through the project period in 2006, CASTL under Rice’s leadership received the best results of all the 13 research groups funded under the scheme.

“CASTL has become Europe’s foremost centre for theoretical linguistics and one of the most important centres in the world,” according to the evaluation report.

Vision and acknowledgement

The University of Tromsø

Dr Rice emphasises that leaders must build a vision for their organisations in close collaboration with the employees. He also underlines the importance of giving proper recognition to the people one works with, citing this as a fundamental part of his US background.

“I think Americans may be more used to giving positive feedback than Norwegians. Predictability, clarity and acknowledgement are what make a good leader,” he says.

Source: University of Tromsø, The Research Council of Norway

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