Who should have the keys to the University?


This spring, the University of Helsinki will get a new rector for the next five-year term that begins in August. But what role does the rector actually play, and why should students care about it? Read on to find out what you should know about the rector of the University of Helsinki!

Who decides on the University’s policies on degrees and studies? What about the principles related to examinations at the University? You guessed it – the rector of our University! The rector decides on and manages issues that directly influence the everyday life of the University community.

Both literally and symbolically, the rector holds the keys to the University. For this reason, deciding who will be leading our University for the next few years is crucial.

The rector’s duties, as set out in the Universities Act, include leading the operations of the university, overseeing the university’s financial duties, overseeing the implementation of decisions made by the University Board and deciding on the hiring and dismissal of staff. The rector is also required to have some financial expertise, as they will be managing around 10,000 people working at the University, while their decisions also influence over 30,000 degree students.

The rector acts as a pioneer at the University, serving as an example both to our University community and to society at large. Even though the rector’s position may seem complex and remote to students, this application round is especially important for the future of university education.

The parliamentary elections are held in spring 2023, the difficult global situation in our post-pandemic world continues to unfold, and various parties have started proposing tuition fees at an increasing pace before the spring’s elections. The rector has significant authority and a prominent position that they can use to defend free education, for instance. For these and other reasons, it is important for the student community to know what the future rector thinks about these issues.

By the end of the application period, a total of 19 people had applied for the position of rector of the University of Helsinki. The Board of the University has invited 9 applicants to interviews. The next stage is for the University Board to discuss the applicants and select those invited for interviews. Later in the spring, the Board will also make the final decision on who will be appointed as the new rector.

As part of the application process, a public hearing with the top candidates will be organised for the entire community in March. At this event, the University community will have the opportunity to ask the top candidates questions and find out their views on issues the community considers important. After this hearing, the University Board will consult the University Collegium on the candidates.

At HYY, we will be working to ensure that students’ voice is heard during the process and that our members are kept up to date on how it is progressing. Follow HYY’s channels for news on the subject – and remember that you can always contact us directly, as well!


Specialists in educational policy

Mathilda Timmer

Marianna Suokas