Prof. Sunniva Whittaker is the rector of the University of Agder (UiA) for the period 2019 to 2023.
As rector, she is also the Chair of the University Board. She represents the university externally in matters connected to UiA and higher education in general. She is also frequently consulted on various issues by private and public sector stakeholders locally, regionally and nationally.
Prof. Whitakker aims to create a culture of learning where students feel like partners in a community of knowledge. She works to achieve close collaboration with students through cooperation with student organizations and associations and by having her own student mentors.
Ensuring good research conditions for research groups and individual researchers is also a top priority.
In line with UiA’s vision of co-creation of tomorrow’s knowledge, she stresses the importance of further development of collaboration between industry and public institutions in the region, including ensuring that students are connected to the labour market during their education.
An important aspect of this collaboration is promoting the knowledge that is co-created with industry and society. She works to strengthen the position of knowledge in the public debate, and consequently contribute to understanding and solving challenges in society.
Prof. Whittaker is aware of the importance of the university’s role in societal debate. In 2018, she arranged a conference where researchers from Norway and abroad discussed what role researchers of philosophy, literature, history and other humanities subjects should play in the public debate.
Prof. Whitakker considers both Norwegian and English as her mother tongues. She is a full professor, holding a PhD in French Linguistics from the University of Bergen and was formerly the Dean of the Faculty of Humanities and Education at UiA. She has also held positions as Department Head and Vice Rector at NHH Norwegian School of Economics. She has studied French, Literary Science and Russian and is also a trained conference interpreter. Her PhD dissertation, which was written in French, explores how argumentation is integrated into language structures.
While working at NHH, she studied macroeconomics, marketing, organizational psychology, management and organizational theory. Her background in the humanities has given her a high level of cultural competence and human understanding. Sunniva recognizes the value of her interdisciplinary background and works to strengthen interdisciplinary collaboration at UiA.


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