From hubbub to dialogue – Connecting the University community
I am running for the position of Chair of the University Collegium. I am applying for the position because I want to improve the Collegium’s operation and be more efficient in taking the University community’s views to the University Management than at present. I also want to bring the University Management closer to the community. I am the first student in the history of the Collegium to apply for the position. The University Collegium is the only body in the University’s administration in which students can act as the chair. The chair is selected in the new Collegium’s organising meeting on 12 April.
The Collegium is the highest decision-making body at the University. It is tasked with overseeing the activities of the University Board and Management. The entire University community is represented in the Collegium: it has representatives of professors, other staff members and students from each faculty. The Collegium of the University of Helsinki has a total of 50 members as well as personal vice members for each member. The term of the University Collegium lasts four years, and the members for the 2018–2021 term have just been selected. Student members have a two-year term in the Collegium. Starting this term, the students of the Swedish School of Social Science are also represented in the Collegium.
The duties of the University Collegium are determined in the Universities Act. They include appointing the Chancellor of the University, appointing members from outside the University community to the University Board and deciding on granting discharge from liability to the University Board and the Rector.
The statutory duties of the University Collegium also include convening at least twice a year to discuss significant matters concerning the entire University, such as the effects of the reforms on the administrative structure and entrance exams. One might easily assume that the Collegium’s statutory duty to discuss matters is less important than its other duties because it lacks words that express power, such as select, confirm and decide. Instead of them, however, it contains the crucial act that ultimately changes society and the world: discussion. The true power of the University Collegium, in my opinion, lies precisely in its ability to gather representatives from different parts of the University community to discuss matters together.
The role of the Chair of the University Collegium is administrative and bureaucratic but, first and foremost, the Chair’s task is to ensure that the University community gets to have their say. I believe that the Collegium should use its voice critically and to give thanks, both according to the situation. My dream is to have a strong Collegium that acts as the connecting link between the entire University community and the University Management.
The Collegium should be developed so that it would amplify the University community’s voice and make the way our University is managed reflect that voice. Due to the Collegium’s statutory status, its legitimacy as an administrative body means that the University management must place weight to its messages. We should invest in the Collegium’s activities, because the everyday routines of University work can genuinely be improved through it.
Fourth-year student of English Philology
Member of the Collegium in 2016–2017 and 2018–2019