Finish line in sight in the selection process for a new rector


The next rector of the University of Helsinki will be selected on 30 March, with only three candidates left in the running. We attended the hearing held for the University Collegium on 9 March to learn about the candidates’ views on the future of the University. Candidates Sari Lindblom, Kai Nordlund, Kimmo Nuotio and Johanna Mäkelä answered the questions posed by the collegium.


The candidates who made it to the final selection round of the Board of the University of Helsinki are Kai Nordlund, Sari Lindblom and Kimmo Nuotio, with Johanna Mäkelä eliminated after the public hearing held on 15 March. One person from this trio will be selected as the next rector in the University Board’s meeting on 30 March.

We made a note of some key themes for the student community that came up during the hearing held for the collegium. Themes that arose during the discussion included free education and student wellbeing. In this text, we will highlight the candidates’ views and differences on themes that are important to students.

Topical political themes were discussed at the beginning of the hearing. The question of tuition fees marked a clear divide between the candidates. The majority – Lindblom, Nuotio and Nordlund – would categorically rule out the possibility of tuition fees.

– Education is a matter of principle that we must hold on to, Nuotio stated, encapsulating the majority view on the matter.

Mäkelä differed from the others with a slightly more favourable view on tuition fees.

– The matter should be studied first, ruling out tuition fees only afterwards, Mäkelä stated.

From HYY’s perspective, it is important for the new rector to support free education. An indication of the candidates considering it a matter of principle is absolutely crucial for the University community and the future. The rector wields considerable power in discussions both within our community and in society at large.

The candidates were also tested on student wellbeing. Lindblom opened the discussion on wellbeing in a succinct manner:

– We should not have only one form of wellbeing support for everyone – the support must be adapted to individual needs.

In her comment, Lindblom also stressed the importance of contacting students.

Student wellbeing evoked a motley of answers from the other candidates, too. Mäkelä emphasised both flexibility and recognising the limits thereof. Nuotio, on the other hand, highlighted the poor financial situation of students and the importance of support measures for studies. Nordlund would like to see students return to campuses and form closer connections between the University, the Student Union and organisations.

– Cooperation with HYY and the organisations is important, Nordlund stressed.

The Board of the University aims to select the rector in its next meeting on 30 March 2023. We will monitor the situation and ensure that students’ voice is heard until the very end of the selection process.


Teemu Kovanen

Member of the Board in charge of educational policy