Open positions: the steering groups of degree programmes
This autumn, we are looking for student representatives for the steering groups of degree programmes for the next term, 1 January 2023–31 December 2024. The steering groups of degree programmes each oversee an individual degree programme. Their duties include preparing the degree programme’s three-year curriculum, or degree structure, for the faculty council to approve. The curriculum determines the following:
- What study units are included in the degrees
- What kind of completion methods are offered on study units
- What kind of attendance requirements courses have
- What kind of learning objectives study units have
Another important duty of the steering groups is to annually decide on the degree programme’s annual teaching schedule. The teaching schedule is a kind of implementation plan for the curriculum. It determines certain issues related to study units, including the following:
- Teaching locations
In other words, the teaching schedule includes all the most important details students need in their everyday studies! As you can see, being a student representative in a steering group will let you develop students’ everyday life in a very concrete manner!
This is the best course at the University! Working as a student representative, you learn to deal with large issues and get to develop first-class cooperation skills for yourself.
-Ilona Raimas, student representative-
How to apply to become a student representative
Check out the open positions
The most important information on each position for student representatives is included in the relevant call for applications. First read the call for applications in the Halloped application system, check out the ‘Student representatives’ guide and, if needed, ask for further information from our specialist in charge of student representatives.
Do not hesitate to submit an application
Read the call for applications carefully and reflect on the things it mentions as advantages when writing your application. The application does not need to be long, though, and you do not need to have prior experience of similar duties! The Halloped system will send you a confirmation message of having received your application, and after this, it is just a matter of waiting for further information. One of HYY’s employees will contact you after the application period has ended to tell you how the process continues. Remember to send your application early enough, as we generally cannot consider late applications! Leave your application during 19 September – 16 October 2022.
Processing the applications will take some time during the main call for applications in the autumn. After the application period for student representatives has closed in autumn, the selection committees established for each faculty will begin processing the applications and making selection proposals on student representatives to be selected. The selection committees may request additional information from you or invite applicants for interviews if they wish. The steering groups of each degree programme have their own dates for the applicants for any potential requests for additional information or invitations to interviews. These dates have been listed on the form for each position open for applications.
You will be informed how the application process is progressing at different stages of the process. Of course, you can also contact the specialist in charge of HYY’s student representatives or HYY’s selection coordinator directly if you have any questions related to the application process or to serving as a student representative!
Join our activities and training sessions!
We will be organising a training event for the student representatives of the steering groups of all degree programmes on 8 December, with the new student representatives provided with orientation to their duties. In addition to this, we use HYY’s email lists to inform student representatives about current issues. We also recommend that you attend the meetings of the Studies Committee to hear current news from different levels of the University!
Selection process of student representatives
The method of selecting student representatives is defined in a regulation approved by HYY’s Representative Council. The Central Selection Committee established by the Representative Council plans and prepares the application periods as well as establishes selection committees for each faculty to process the applications.
The selection of student representatives for the steering groups of degree programmes is prepared by selection committees that have the best information about the degree programmes of each faculty and their situation. HYY’s Board confirms these selection proposals, and the final decisions on the selection of student representatives are made by the dean of each faculty based on a proposal confirmed by the Student Union.
We are looking for members for the selection committees, with the call for applications open 29 August–18 September – before the calls for applications for actual student representatives. We are seeking at least three members for each selection committee. The members must be students registered for attendance at the faculty the selection committee represents – there are no other requirements!
As described above, the main duty of the selection committees is to process the applications for the positions of student representatives in the steering groups of degree programmes in their own faculty as well as prepare proposals on the applicants to be selected. One of the members serves as the chair and another as the vice chair, with the others being ordinary members. However, the chairs’ job is fairly easy, and they do not really need to prepare any more than the other committee members! One of HYY’s employees is also always present in the meetings – they prepare the material and offer their help during the meeting. In addition to this, the selection committees receive training for their duties.
The selection committee works for a maximum of two meetings, with each member having to prepare for them independently. Committee work does not thus take up too much time! This makes it well suited for anyone who wants to accumulate experience of meetings and negotiations but does not want to make a commitment of several years. You can thus apply whether you are a fresher or a ‘veteran’ retiring from your student representation duties! Applications to the selection committees are submitted through the Halloped system.
Frequently asked questions
You will learn many useful skills in the position of student representative, ranging from looking at issues from a wide perspective to project management and group work. The position will also help you get to know University personnel from professors to educational coordinators.
Every year, HYY provides student representatives with free training on issues such as communication, influencing and meeting technique. The network of student representatives and HYY’s Studies Committee also provide you with peer support as well as new friends.
You can apply for a certificate of having served as a student representative from HYY and, under certain conditions, credits from the University. You will need the certificate granted by HYY when applying for credits! You can apply for the certificate from HYY’s document secretary.
As a student representative, you must commit yourself to your duties and attend the meetings of your administrative body, which last a couple of hours. The steering groups of degree programmes usually have meetings at least once a month, excluding vacation periods. Going through the meeting material, asking for opinions from organisations and other students as well as potential prior preparations with the other student representatives in the steering group may also take a varying amount of time. The better you prepare for the meetings, the better you will be able to advocate students’ interests and also get more out of the work yourself!
Usually, vice members can also participate in the meetings of steering groups. It is a good idea to check whether this is the case at the beginning of each term. In any case, always decide among yourselves who is going to attend the meeting to ensure that the meetings always have student representation!
Exchange plans do not necessarily prevent you from being selected. However, we generally hope that student representatives could commit to their duties for as much of their term as possible.
You will never have to work alone in the steering groups of degree programmes! Each steering group has two actual and two vice members who you are expected to closely cooperate with. It is useful to create a shared discussion group for the student representatives of the steering group right at the beginning of your term. You can use the group to decide who is attending the meetings and what stances you will take on the matters discussed in them.
In addition to the student representatives of your own steering group, you can also get peer support from the Studies Committee, which has monthly meetings during the academic year. HYY also organises training events for student representatives and persons in charge of academic affairs. We will inform student representatives of any training events by email and through our social media channels. Remember that you can also always contact HYY’s specialists in educational policy whether you are facing a challenging situation or simply want to ask us about something related to studies!
When applying for a steering group, you must be registered for attendance at the University of Helsinki and be able to justify your connection to the degree programme whose steering group you are applying to in some way. A justified connection exists if you, for instance, study in the degree programme in question or will be studying in the master’s programme of the same degree programme after having completed a bachelor’s degree. Other justifications will also be accepted, such as studying the subject as a minor or having completed a bachelor’s degree in the degree programme. The most important thing here is that you are familiar with the contents and teaching of the degree programme and are thus also able to influence them.
Motivation and experience of serving as a student representative, as a person in charge of academic affairs or in some other position related to student advocacy work are also considered as advantages. We will further assess the applicants’ understanding of current issues in the degree programme on the basis of their applications. Detailed application instructions and criteria can be found in the Halloped application system under each position open for applications!
Working at the University does not prevent you from serving as a student representative in the steering group of a degree programme. Only the student representatives of faculty councils, the collegium and the University Board have limitations related to being employed by the University.
The effects of being employed by the University have been defined in more detail in the University’s . You can also ask for further information about these effects from HYY’s specialist in charge of student representatives.
Positions for student representatives open for applications in the Halloped application system. The details, application criteria and number of open positions are mentioned in the calls for applications in the application system. Always submit your application through the application system.
Your application does not need to be long! Each call for applications will state the things that are considered as advantages for the applicants. You should thus write your application by reflecting on these aspects. If, for instance, motivation is listed as an advantage, you should tell us why you are interested in acting as a student representative in your application.
The method of selecting student representatives depends on the administrative body and is determined by a regulation approved by our Representative Council. In the so-called main calls for applications in the autumn, when we are looking for representatives for an entirely new term, the selection proposals are made by selection committees, as they are the experts on their own faculties’ current affairs and needs.
Selection proposals are only proposals on the selections, not actual decisions. The selection committees each make justification memorandums containing their selection proposal, and HYY’s specialist in educational policy presents these memorandums to the administrative body in HYY that makes the actual decisions. In calls for applications outside the main ones, in other words, in supplementary calls for applications, the selection proposal, justification memorandum and presentation of the matter are done by HYY’s specialist in educational policy.
In the case of faculty councils and the steering groups of degree programmes, the actual decisions on selecting the student representatives are made by HYY’s Board. The dean additionally needs to confirm the selections for the steering groups of degree programmes. In the case of the University Collegium and the University Board, the actual selections are made by HYY’s Representative Council.
HYY occasionally receive direct requests from the University to seek student representatives for new or temporary working groups, for instance. In such cases, the selection proposals are made by HYY’s specialist in educational policy, while HYY’s Board is always in charge of the actual selections. From the applicant’s perspective, though, making a good, well-justified application is the most important thing!
The meetings of the steering groups of degree programmes are usually fairly informal and deliberative. The frequency of the steering groups’ meetings varies from one degree programme to another. Depending on the time of the year, the issues discussed in the meetings deal with various aspects of the degree programme’s operation: the selection and orientation of new students, degree requirements and the organisation of the next year’s teaching. Members of the steering group work together on concrete planning and preparatory work that helps define what courses are taught in the schedule, which studies are compulsory for everyone, how much optional studies can be included in degrees, what kind of study material and teaching methods are used on courses and what kind of methods to complete courses each course has.