Friday, 21 December 2012

Minding Animals International to incorporate in the US

The Board of Directors of Minding Animals International has decided that the organization will incorporate as an NGO in the United States. I voted for, as representative of Minding Animals Norway. There were 13 affirmative votes and 6 not voting among board members and patrons. 

The exact form/structure of the organization is still to be discussed. Minding Animals Norway is organized as a democratic membership organization (currently with 20+ paying members). A membership model is now being considered for the international body as well.

Letter to the editor in weekly magazine

Today my letter to the editor "Gjør sauen en bjørnetjeneste" [Doing the sheep a disservice - a reference to Norwegian Farmers' Union and Senterpartiet's policy of wanting to drive the wolf to extinction in Norway] was published in the Norwegian national weekly Ny Tid. I am writing in capacity as chair of Minding Animals Norway

A readable scan of the text is available in my Norwegian language blog Utopisk Realisme.

Tuesday, 18 December 2012

Zoosemiotics research project: Final seminar; formal extension

The research project "Dynamical Zoosemiotics and Animal Representations", where I take part as a researcher, arranged a concluding 4-hour Skype seminar on Tuesday December 11th. This was the fourth grant seminar (IV). The other participants were gathered at the university library in Tartu, Estonia. Participants including me presented current research activities, and we discussed possible future directions and cooperation.

Timo Maran, the head of the grant, informed us that he had applied for, and gotten approval for, a formal 1-year extension of the grant (from 2009-2012 to 2009-2013), so that forthcoming publications (to appear in 2013) derived from the project can still be included in reported activities. 

UiS profile updated

My profile webpage at the University of Stavanger has been updated with links, 2012 publications and new elected positions.

Interview on national radio

This Saturday, December 15th, a 17-minute interview with me as chair of Minding Animals Norway (and philosopher and semiotician at University of Stavanger) aired in the program "Verdibørsen" of the national public radio channel NRK P2 (the program was repeated Sunday December 16th). The interview, which was conducted by Aase Cathrine Myrtveit, is available as podcast.

Topics included human-animal relations, semiotics, the wolf as symbol, animal and environmental ethics and the term "non-human animal".

Monday, 17 December 2012

University of Stavanger to take concrete measures in relation to ethical trade

On the board meeting of University of Stavanger November 28th, where I took part as the representative for temporarily employed staff, the university's "action plan for ethical trade" was treated by the board. A news story from that meeting reads (excerpts, my translation):
Action plan and strategy for ethical trade UiS were also presented. The proposal [of the university director John Møst] was adopted with amendments from the Board members Morten Tønnessen and Erling Øverland.
My amendment, which was unanimously supported by the 11-person university board (after rector Marit Boyesen suggested to remove the phrase "e.g. related to energy", which I accepted), was that the board asks the university director to assess some (plural) concrete measures the university can take in the period 2013-2016 to follow up on the action plan for ethical trade.

More hits in Google Scholar

About a month ago I received a notification from Google Scholar listing a number of publications and presentations that had now been included in that academic search engine, apparently due to new criteria or sources (including A search on "Morten Tønnessen" now returns 100 hits.

Monday, 3 December 2012

Missing Tartu diploma ceremony; PhD diploma on its way

A little while ago I received an invitation to attend the ceremonial meeting dedicated to the 93rd anniversary of Estonia's national university on December 1st. At this event, my doctorate diploma would have been handed over to me, had I attended. But due to my current Norwegian residence (and recent fatherhood) I declined to attend. In consequence, the diploma will be sent to me by post (by a local contact).

The 100 pp. introduction to my PhD thesis "Umwelt transition and Uexküllian phenomenology: An ecosemiotic analysis of Norwegian wolf management" (defended December 2011) is available online.

Exam supervision in all channels

In the months leading up to the deadline for the home exam in Examen Philosophicum for nursing students at the University of Stavanger November 12th, I have been supervising students in several channels: Occasionally by SMS, exceptionally by phone, frequently in the hall at the university, frequently by email, and not least in the virtual learning environment "It's Learning" (here, I have replied to some 88 posts, some of which with follow-ups). Altogether I assume I have answered some 200 questions or more or less one question per student on average.

186 exam papers graded; are nurses good people?

Last night (literally) I finished grading 186 exam papers in Examen Philosophicum for nursing students at University of Stavanger. About 70% had chosen a task where they were asked to consider what it means to act as a nurse, and whether or not nurses are necessarily "good people" (in terms of morality).