Rector Väänänen at the Opening Day: Universities to Challenge Intellectual Depression

​In his Opening Day speech, Rector Kalervo Väänänen emphasised the universities significance in improving the current situation that is ecologically and economically weak.

– We have to begin by quickly challenging the intellectual depression that has afflicted Finland. 

According to Väänänen, universities can have an impact on the situation through expertise and by perceiving the overall picture.

– In addition, we have many young people who have new, creative ideas and whose future is at stake.

According to the new strategy, the University of Turku will utilise its multiple disciplines more that before and apply interdisciplinary approach for increasing the quality of research and effectiveness of social interaction.

– This requires closer collaboration between our units as well as stronger co-operation with national and international partners, such as universities, research institutes and companies. We need every member of the University community to participate in this work, emphasised Väänänen.

Teacher of the Year Emphasises Encouragement

University Teacher in Logopedics and Teacher of the Year Marjaana Raukola-Lindblom was particularly happy that the justification for receiving award highlighted what she considers as important: combining professional skills with teaching and research. Those who nominated Raukola-Lindblom for the Teacher of the Year award praised her for having a target-oriented attitude towards guidance and for her desire to support students' professional growth. She was also described as easy to approach, helpful and mindful of others.

Raukola-Lindblom emphasised that enthusiasm towards teaching is sustained by a functional and encouraging work community.

– At Logopedics, we have a particularly dynamic and forward-looking group of staff. We have reshaped our teaching and are now waiting excitedly how the students will receive it, says Raukola-Lindblom.

Among other things, she has been developing the multi-professional Monelle clinic and her approach to curricula development which stresses multi-professionalism was also taken into account in the justifications for the award.

– Raukola-Lindblom has significantly renewed the curriculum in the clinical studies of Logopedics and has created clear learning goals for modules, which supports students' abilities in reflecting their learning. During the curricula process, Raukola-Lindblom has paid special attention to creating a continuum from basic studies to advanced studies and to the importance of the scientific basis, the justifications state.

Course of the Year Promoted Digital Learning

The Course of the Year 2016 was Online Mouse Histology Course for Nordic Biomedicine Network whose responsible teacher is Leena Strauss. In addition to Strauss, Sari Mäkelä, Matti Poutanen, Harry Kujari and Olli Carpén have also developed the course.  

The Online Mouse Histology Course is part of the Master's degree programme in biomedicine. It was also part of the Nordic Biomedicine Network and nearly fifty students from the partner Universities of Bergen, Eastern Finland and Turku as well as Karolinska Institutet participated on the course.

Understanding the histology of mice is central to studying biomedicine as they are often used as models when studying human diseases. The starting point for the course was to question whether teaching is dependent on physical laboratory facilities and use of fluorescent microscopes. On the course, the students used a virtual WebMicroscope that utilises digitised specimens. Therefore, the course opened up new and ethical insights into using laboratory animals in teaching as digital learning significantly reduces the need for model animals in education.

– The course is a great example of developing digital learning, international and national collaboration, and successfully realised virtual mobility, the justifications for the award state. 

RefugeeHelp Voted as the Language Deed of the Year

The University community voted RefugeeHelp as the Language Deed of the Year. The activities first started in the autumn of 2015 to support the refugees arriving to Finland.  More than 350 students and staff members volunteered when the programme was being planned.

One form of RefugeeHelp was language workshops where students and staff taught Finnish to asylum seekers and which lasted for almost the whole academic year. In the language workshops, the teaching took place in small groups and each tutor instructed 3–5 refugees. The teaching staff of the University compiled themed packages to help the tutors and the packages were completed with themes suggested by the refugees.

Awards to Four Distinguished Dissertations, Commemorative Medals for Seven Professors

The Chair of the Turku Finnish University Society Riitta Monto awarded four doctors for their distinguished dissertations at the Opening Ceremony. The awarded dissertations were accepted at the University during the academic year 2015–2016:

  • PhD Sini Haapala for her dissertation in Logopedics titled Central auditory processing and the acquisition of phonology in 2-year-old children with recurrent acute otitis media
  • PhD Erkka Haapasalo for his dissertation in Theoretical Physics titled Extreme Observables and Optimal Measurements in Quantum Theory 
  • PhD Mona Mannevuo for her dissertation in Gender Studies titled Affektitehdas. Työn rationalisoinnin historiallisia jatkumoita (award granted by  Åbo Akademi University Foundation)
  • MD Jetro Tuulari for his dissertation in Neurobiology titled Effects of obesity and weight loss following bariatric surgery on brain function, structural integrity and metabolism.

The Rector awarded the following Emeritus and Emerita Professors with the commemorative medal of the university: Risto-Pekka Happonen, Jaakko Hartiala, Lauri Oksanen, Keijo Haapakka, Harri Lönnberg, Hannu Oja and Marjaana Soininen.

PhD Mona Mannevuo and PhD Sini Haapala received an award for their distinguished dissertations.

Receivers of the Teacher, Course and Language Deed of the Year awards.

Text: Tuomas Koivula
Photos: Hanna Oksanen
Translation: Mari Ratia

Published date 9/6/2016 1:40 PM ,  Modified date 9/6/2016 2:06 PM

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