We have awarded prizes for the teachers and instructor of the year!

Every autumn, we ask the University community to nominate good teachers and instructors. HYY’s Board awarded the 2021 Good Instructor prize to Anu Lahtinen, the Good Teacher prize to Sari Päivärinne and the Best International Teacher prize to Toomas Gross. The prizes were presented at HYY’s Anniversary on 27 November.

As usual, HYY asked the University community to nominate good teachers and instructors who work at the University of Helsinki. In a relatively short amount of time, we received a massive number of extremely good and carefully prepared proposals from students and subject organisations. Once again, they demonstrated how professional and dedicated teachers and instructors we have at our University.

The criteria for the Good Instructor prize were commitment, support for study planning, encountering students and helping students integrate into the University and academic community. The criteria for the Good Teacher – Magister Bonus and Best International Teacher categories were student friendliness, expertise, active attitude towards development and giving and receiving constructive feedback.

We received a total of 11 nominations for the Good Instructor category. This year, we decided to award the Good Instructor prize to Associate Professor of Finnish and Nordic History Anu Lahtinen. The proposal recommending Lahtinen’s selection especially emphasised how integrating students into the community along with Lahtinen’s desire and aim to be available for students demonstrate her commitment to her important work.

Lahtinen is a top researcher whose approach to her work conveys a passionate attitude towards history and the development of the field. Lahtinen shares her knowledge with students and provides support in different situations. It feels good to be under her instruction, and she never leaves students alone.

We received a total of 10 nominations for the Good Teacher – Magister Bonus category. We decided to award the Good Teacher award to University Instructor in Finnish Language and Culture Sari Päivärinne. Päivärinne’s ability and desire to take different types of learners into account in her teaching were especially emphasised in the proposal recommending her selection.

We heartily recommend Sari Päivärinne as the recipient of the Good Teacher award because we wish, from all our heart, to show her our shared gratitude for her high-quality, equal, consistent, long-term and successful teaching work for students and the academic community. Thank you!

We received a total of 6 suggestions for the Best International Teacher category. We decided to award the Best International Teacher award to Senior University Lecturer in Social and Cultural Anthropology Toomas Gross – who had, in fact, been nominated twice. The proposals described Gross as someone who considers giving students feedback and receiving it from them as especially important duties. Gross develops his courses in a student-friendly manner based on the feedback he receives.

Detailed, constructive and instructive feedback is the best gift that you can give to students. Gross himself commented on this by saying that he considers giving feedback as his duty towards students. The only way we can respond to this is with deep respect.

The last one and a half years have been extremely trying to all members of the University community. Especially during times like these, we believe it is important to remind teachers and instructors that their work is very valuable to students. Even though we are only awarding actual honours to a few individuals, we would like to emphasise that everyone who was nominated has been doing important work and that students have recognised this. We also thank everyone who submitted their proposals!