Autumn greetings from the educational policy sector 2022!
The year is fast approaching its end, which means that it is time to review the autumn of HYY’s educational policy sector. What have we been up to and what have we managed to influence? The people working on the sector this autumn are the persons in charge of educational policy on the Board, Aku Houttu and Nea Hakala, the specialists in educational policy, Marianna Suokas and Mathilda Timmer, and Selection Coordinator Timo Kalliokoski.
Comments and communication
Aku’s opinion piece on the tuition fees for students from outside EU and EEA countries was published in Helsingin Sanomat in the summer. At the level of national policy, we commented on the results of the government’s autumn budget session in our blog. In September, we wrote a blog post on the significance of university democracy for students, while in early October, we published an interview with Chancellor Kaarle Hämeri, who had been selected for a new term. In the interview, Hämeri explained the chancellor’s role and sent his greetings to students. At the beginning of November, we also made a statement on the national strategy on continuous learning at higher education institutions.
At the beginning of autumn, we organised a supplementary call for applications for vacant positions for student representatives. The main call for applications for the steering groups of all degree programmes was also conducted with great effort, with representatives from each faculty first selected for the selection committees preparing the selections to the steering groups. In addition to this, we have selected student representatives for various positions at the University, such as the review panel for the Teachers’ Academy and the Equality and Diversity Committee. We have also met with student representatives and persons in charge of academic affairs in organisations, asking them what kind of support they need and what we need to improve.
During the autumn, the specialists on the sector have been actively meeting with the management at faculties. During these faculty rounds, we have discovered many new opportunities for cooperation. The members of the Board in charge of educational policy have also been meeting with the persons in charge of academic affairs in faculty organisations. We have also continued to regularly meet with Director of Development Susanna Niinistö-Sivuranta from the University. With her, we have discussed matters including tutoring for international students, the University’s project on operating culture and the University’s accessibility plan.
The University has several projects under way, and we have met with the managers of these projects during the autumn. We have met with the project managers of the University’s development project on operating culture and its guidance and wellbeing project. We have held regular discussions with the student members on the University Board on topics such as the University’s facility matters, the upcoming selection of the rector and the University’s finances. Specialist in Educational Policy Marianna visited the Academic Appeals Committee to discuss students’ legal protection and improving it. We have also participated in the mid-term review of the agreement between the university and the Ministry of Education and Culture, highlighting student perspectives. In late autumn, we met with the management of the University Library and discussed electronic degree certificates with the University’s specialist.
Under the direction of the specialists, HYY’s Board has worked on the Student Union’s vision for the university of the future. In October, we also organised the H-Talks discussion event between HYY and University management on antiracism and promoting it in our community. At its Anniversary, HYY once again awarded prizes to good teachers and instructors. In the autumn, we have also started preparing for the selection of the University’s new rector next spring and sketched a description of our ‘dream rector’.
The thesis working group has continued its work, charting the views of both degree programmes and students on practices related to the master’s thesis. We have cooperated with the University on updating the University’s website on students’ legal protection. At the sector’s initiative, the University has also started updating the rector’s decision on study credits awarded for acting as a student representative and for organisational activities. The update aims to make it easier to receive the credits, while the number of credits awarded for the most difficult duties will also increase in the future. Our advocacy work also played a part in the decisions made on standardising the number of credits given for tutoring and the training provided to tutors over faculty boundaries. Both decisions will come into effect at the beginning of next academic year.
Aku Houttu and Nea Hakala
Members of the Board in charge of educational policy
Marianna Suokas and Mathilda Timmer
Specialists in educational policy