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Key issues at the University part 1/5: the new strategy – how to have the focus on students?


The University of Helsinki is preparing its new strategy for the period 2017–2020. In addition, the University is outlining its vision for the year of 2024. The strategy defines how the University will change during the coming years. The main objective of the strategy is ”Focus on Students”.

During 2015, the Student Union has participated in the preparing of the new strategy in workshops, by commenting on strategy drafts and outlining the University's operating environment. Members of the Student Union Board and Representative Council have also written to the University's strategy blog:

The University Board approved the final strategy in January 2016. After this, during the spring of 2016, the programmes of objectives are prepared for the University and its different units – such as faculties and departments – through which the strategy will be implemented.

The main objective of the strategy, ”Focus on Students” should also be visible when faculties and departments will begin to plan their programmes of objectives and make practical changes next year. The Finnish Government is heavily cutting the funding of the University of Helsinki and that is why the University has initiated co-operation negotiations and the change programme aiming at other significant savings. The University's main strategic objective must not be forgotten when making cuts. Despite the savings, the University must take into account the main objective of its strategy and ensure that the quality of teaching and the smoothness of studies are not compromised and the objectives entered in the strategy are implemented in practice.

The Student Union will continue to actively participate in the strategic work and to communicate about future changes at the University. Student representatives in administration, who begin their term of office in 2016, must be closely involved in decision-making in faculties and departments and keep students informed about the work of the university administration.

The latest published strategy draft is from September:$FILE/Liite%2009%20HY_strategian_tilannekatsaus_hallitus_16_09_2015.pdf

HYY's interest representatives have commented on the draft and will report immediately when the new version is published.

During the year of 2015, HYY has proposed the following objectives and improvements, among other things, to be entered in the University's strategy.

1) Investing in students' well-being and study ability
- University must have functioning service chains and a safety net
- academic mentoring, other counselling and services are personal  
- no one should suffer from loneliness in the academic community
- University is a scientific community and students are its members, not clients; the sense of community and interaction between university members must be increased
- participation of all students in the activities of research groups: students must be able to participate in the work of research groups according to their abilities, both in bachelor and master studies

2) Openness of science
- university members who promote the openness of science are rewarded
- active cooperation between open science and education forums and the surrounding society: the University must have active interaction with the surrounding world in order to improve it

3) International academic community
- credit transfer of studies completed during the student exchange must be facilitated
- multicultural expertise is taken into account: in addition to the acquisition of interesting locations for student exchange, the University should invest in internationalisation at home
- international students must be integrated into the academic community better, in cooperation with the student union
- the creation of an international environment requires that the language skills of the university staff are improved  

4) Transfers between degree programmes should be effortless