2015 Icelandic League of North American Convention

Research & Education -
University of Minnesota and the University of Iceland Connections

Promoting Innovation Through Minnesota-Icelandic Partnerships in Healthcare (University of Minnestota)

Today’s complex global challenges require a new way of thinking. Instead of working in isolated silos, the most effective solutions come from the intersection of diverse ways of thinking.  Global partnerships offer faculty an opportunity to collaborate on research and students an opportunity to learn from one another.  This session will share exciting initiatives occurring thanks to strong and meaningful collaboration between the University of Minnesota and the University of Iceland.


About the Presenter

Connie White Delaney is Professor and Dean of the School of Nursing at the University of Minnesota. She also serves as Director, Biomedical Health Informatics (BMHI), Associate Director of the CTSI-BMI, and Acting Director of the Institute for Health Informatics (IHI) in the Academic Health Center. Dr. Delaney is the first Fellow in the College of Medical Informatics to serve as a Dean of Nursing. She is an appointee to the Health Information Technology Policy Committee, an advisory body established by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act within the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO). White Delaney serves on numerous boards, including the Board of the American Association of Colleges of Nursing, Board of LifeScience Alley, and Premiere Quest National Advisory Panel

Energy and the Environment – Finding a Balance with Nature (University of Minnesota)

In this session, Pete Hudleston (Earth Sciences) will set the stage by talking about the geological setting, which provides the backdrop for everything else.  Len Ferrington (Entomology) will talk about issues related to the environment and Paul Imbertson (Electrical and Computer Engineering) those related to energy.  All will bring up educational and research opportunities and the benefits of reciprocity between Iceland and the U.S. (Minnesota particularly).  

General discussion will focus more on societal implications of the issues raised rather than technical/scientific details.  An important aspect of this will be to discuss with participants what it is - if anything - in the natural environment that gives Icelanders their particular national approach to these issues.

Students will be included who can talk about their experiences or their expectations of experiences in studying in Iceland.

Peter Hudleston
Paul Imabertson

About the Presenters

Pete Hudleston is an internationally known and respected scientific researcher, for contributions on folding, ice deformation, shear zones, extracting rheological information from naturally deformed rocks, and transpression. Peter did both his undergraduate and PhD work at Imperial College, London, working with John Ramsay for the advanced degree. Peter went on to do a 1-year postdoc with Hans Ramberg at Uppsala University. He has spent his entire academic career at the University of Minnesota, including 10 years as Head of the School of Earth Sciences and 12 years as the Associate Dean for Student Affairs in the College of Science and Engineering.


Len Ferrington received his PhD from the University of Pittsburgh in 1980. His research program focuses on the significance of aquatic insects in aquatic ecosystems. Areas in the US where he has worked include Pennsylvania, Wyoming, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona, Maine, Wisconsin and Minnesota. Other projects have been conducted in Norway, Puerto Rico, Argentina, Tasmania, New Zealand, South Africa, Iceland and Mongolia. Ferrington teaches a Freshmen Seminar focused on Iceland and has led a three-week follow-up study abroad to Iceland. http://midge.cfans.umn.edu/people/ferrington/


Paul Imbertson received the BS, MS, and PhD in electrical engineering, all from the University of Minnesota. He is currently a Teaching Professor in the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department at the University of Minnesota where he has been voted Best Professor ten times. He is also the Education Director for the Center for Compact and Efficient Fluid Power (CCEFP), an Engineering Research Center (ERC) with headquarters at the University of Minnesota. Paul is the faculty advisor for several university student groups including Innovative Engineers, Solar Vehicle Project, and the National Society of Black Engineers. The Innovative Engineers student group was listed on the Sustainia 100 inaugural list of 100 examples of exemplary sustainability projects which included projects from 56 countries. 

Culture Detective Iceland (University of Minnesota)

A new cultural competency development tool is presented as an example of cooperation between the University of Iceland and the University of Minnesota. Participants will learn the value of this when doing business with Icelanders and can examine how Icelandic values may explain issues that arise when people from different cultures work together.

About the Presenter

Thorunn Bjarnadóttir is the Director of Intercultural Education at International Student and Scholar Services. She is an experienced intercultural trainer who has worked with people all over the world developing their cultural competency skills. Her passion is to create leadership development processes that help people from different cultures work well together. She has presented at many conferences and is an active member of the intercultural trainer community. She grew up in Iceland, has lived and worked in Switzerland and the US. Thorunn received her MA in international education at the University of Minnesota.


Design Thinking in Iceland - Tryggvi Thayer (University of Iceland,  School of Education), Virajita Singh (University of Minnesota)


Based on an all-day design workshop conducted in Reykjavik and attended by scholars, students, teachers and administrators from all over Iceland representing all school levels, Tryggvi Thayer (University of Iceland) and Virajita Singh (University of Minnesota) will lead a session introducing participants to Design Thinking as a concept and tool, its practice, its application in the cultural context of Iceland and resulting outcomes. The presenters will conclude with lessons about integration of cultural aspects in design thinking for the future for Iceland and elsewhere.

Virajita Singh leads Design Thinking @ College of Design at the University of Minnesota, a collaborative with an audacious goal to unleash the creative potential of individuals and organizations across sectors to innovate in fulfilling their mission at the local, regional, national and international level. Virajita is a Senior Research Fellow and Adjunct Assistant Professor in the College of Design where she brings her global perspective and deep expertise as a designer, educator and researcher from the fields of architecture, sustainable design and public interest design to her work. When not immersed in work or family, Virajita finds joy in creating art and volunteering at the Minneapolis Institute of the Arts as a Collection-in-Focus Guide in the Arts of China, Korea and Japan.

Tryggvi Thayer is project manager for the University of Iceland's Education Plaza, which is intended to support Icelandic teachers’ professional development by helping them to establish dynamic online communities of practice. Tryggvi is also a Ph.D. candidate in comparative education at the University of Minnesota. He has worked in educational development for almost 20 years in Iceland, throughout Europe, and in the US. His areas of expertise include educational policy, educational technology and future studies in education.

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