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University of Agder (Norwegian: Universitetet i Agder) is a public university with campuses in Kristiansand and Grimstad, Norway. The institution was established as a university college in 1994 with the merger of six colleges and was granted its current status as a university in 2007, but its academic activity dates as far back as 1839. It is one of eight universities in Norway; the other seven are the University of Oslo, the University of Tromsø, the University of Stavanger, the University of Bergen, the Norwegian University of Life Sciences in Ås, the Norwegian University of Science and Technology in Trondheim and the University of Nordland in Bodø.
The University of Agder is Norway's newest university, but its roots span 170 years of history. The idea of a university in the Agder region is not new.
In his short period as the ruler of the union of Denmark and Norway, Johann Friedrich Struensee planned on reforming the University of Copenhagen. He gave Bishop Johann Ernst Gunnerus of Trondhjem the task of developing more detailed plans. Gunnerus presented a proposal in 1771 in which he suggested establishing a new university in Norway, and placing it in Kristiansand.
Regardless, the idea was soon discarded as planning began for the first Norwegian university. In 1811, a resolution was passed to establish Norway's first university in Christiania (Oslo).
Colleges in the Agder region
Even without a university in the region, and as the need for better educated employees rose, several smaller colleges were established throughout the Agder region. The first, Kristiansand Teacher Training College was originally founded at Holt in Aust-Agder in 1839, making it one of the oldest institutions of higher education in Norway.
It was followed by Arendal College of Nursing (1920), Agder Music Conservatory (1965), Agder Regional College of Technology (1967), Agder Regional College (1969) and Kristiansand College of Nursing (1976).
One institution from 1994
Agder University College was established by a merger in 1994, when the six public regional colleges in the Agder counties became one institution. The University College received full university accreditation and became the University of Agder on 1 September, 2007. In 2015, the University of Agder has approximately 11,000 students, 1000 employees and an annual budget of about 950 million NOK.
Recently, the process of consolidating the University has developed even more. The previous campus in Arendal merged with the Grimstad campus to form a brand new campus in Grimstad 1st of August, 2010. The Faculty of Fine Arts can now also enjoy a new and significantly larger music building on the Kristiansand campus.
Today the University of Agder therefore has two campuses: Campus Kristiansand (also called Gimlemoen) in Vest-Agder and Campus Grimstad in Aust-Agder.
Quality of education
The Quality System of the University of Agder should make visible high quality and reveal quality failures, contribute to continuous improvement of quality and be both dynamic and development-oriented.The system should include means to transfer experiences with quality enhancement measures in and between academic environments, and strengthen quality consciousness at the university.
The Quality System comprises routines for the quality work related to courses and study programmes, of research education, administrative services, and routines for the training and follow-up of staff.