Department´s history
Instruction and research in education had their origins in the University of Turku as early as the 1930's under the lead of professor J. E. Salomaa in the faculty of Humanities. A corresponding status was held by another young subject, psychology, for which Salomaa was also responsible in the form of a so-called parallel professorship. The pedagogical lectures which Salomaa started in the spring of 1933 proved to be popular from the very beginning. The first series of lectures "General Pedagogics" gathered an unparalleled audience of 121 listeners in the small university of only about 400 students. Pedagogics was included in the MA degree programme from the beginning of the same year. Salomaa - known amongst other things as a pedagogical philosopher - contributed as the originator of pedagogical research in Turku and, amongst other things, is outstanding for the intelligence tests he performed to schoolchildren.
Instruction and research in education continued under philosophy until 1955 when, after prolonged efforts,the subject received its own chair. Inkeri Vikainen, the first female professor in the field in Finland, was chosen as its first holder. In 1957 the Institute of Pedagogics was opened.
The first steps of the newly independent subject were taken under externally modest circumstances. The personnel of the institute which consisted of a professor, an assistant and two docents shared one and the same room in the original university building, the former Phoenix Hotel situated by the Market Square. In1958 the institute moved to a little larger premises to the new university building on the present University Hill.
In the 1960's the young subject started to gradually find its place in the university. The name was changed in 1967 from pedagogics to education. Research activity started to settle, even though it was small compared by modern standards. The publication series in English was founded in1961 and was followed by a series in Finnish six years later. Research was focused on the didactics and psychology of school learning and instruction. For instance, learning to read was studied under the lead of professor Vikainen and the institute's first licentiate thesis was written about it in 1964. Erkki Lahdes and Erkki Asp who later acted asprofessors of education and sociology in Turku, as well as Matti Peltonen, later to become acting professorof adult education in Tampere, dedicated themselves to attitude research of teachers in the latter half of the1960's.
The popularity of the early phase of the subject continued amongst students. In the beginning of the 1970's the number of students completing their majors and minors exceeded one thousand. Also the institute's instruction had been diversified along with the lectureship in special pedagogics obtained in 1960. The institute functioned in the faculty of Humanities until 1967 when it was transferred to the faculty of Social Sciences for a few years.

Towards its own faculty in the 1970's

The 1970's brought many fundamental changes to the institute's life. At the beginning of the decade it moved from the University Hill to the premises on Lemminkäisenkatu.

The most important change was the foundation of the Faculty of Education as the 6th faculty of the university which included the Department of Education as well as the Department of Teacher Education in Turku and Rauma. During the same year the name of the department was changed into the plural "Kasvatustieteiden laitos" or EducationalSciences. The subjects of the department were education and special education. Simultaneous to the foundation of the faculty in the beginning of the 1970's, administrative reform was also carried out which meant the establishment of departmental councils. The first meeting of the department's council was entered in the records on August 13th 1974. A place in its own faculty gave rise to the development of considerably closer relations with teacher education. This was shown, amongst other things, in a strong increase in the instruction tasks of the department. Two lecturer's posts were founded in the department in the 1970's. In addition, another vice professorship and a senior assistantship were founded, the personnel of the department amounted, including office personnel, to over 10 persons. Licentiate Kullervo Sartes was appointed senior assistant in 1971. Sartes, who started as an assistant in1960, holds credit for the longest period of uninterrupted work in the service of the department. Sartes, who was for a long time responsible for the instruction of educational philosophy in the department, retired in1993. 

The identity of the students of education also started to gel with the foundation of their own student organization called Kasvatustieteen Klubi - the Club of Education - which has since become KATKO. Three years after its foundation the Club started to publish the periodical "Wirike" which is still published today.

In the 1970's the department's research started to gradually acquire the characteristics of modern research. The department received external funding for the realization of research projects. The investigations were still focussed in the psychologic-didactic direction and many of them were closely linked to the comprehensive school reform going on at the time. Worth mentioning of the research projects of the 1970's are the MLS-project lead by Erkki Lahdes and funded by the School Administration and the National Board of Education as well as the Working Peace Project and the project which analysed the impact of schoolboard reforms which were started under Juhani Karvonen. The research projects started also to bring forth higher academic theses. The first dissertation in the department came out in1971. A total of six doctors in education were celebrated during the 70's.

The latter half of the 1970's brought a change of guards in the professor group to the department. Professor Vikainen retired in 1977 and was followed by Juhani Karvonen, associate professor in the department since1972 and a pupil of the Jyväskylä Pedagogic Institute (later to become a university). Erkki Lahdes, who had started in the department as an assistant in the latter half of the 1950's and acted as associate professor in the 1960's, went on to pilot the Department of Teacher Education in Turku and was replaced by Taimo Iisalo from the University of Helsinki who paved the way for the department's research in educational history. At the turn of the decade, Erkki Olkinuora from the University of Jyväskylä was elected to the other vice professorship and after a few years he continuted as the professor of the department when Juhani Karvonen died unexpectedly.

The 1980's: the era of profilization

The 1980's can be called the decade of profilization in the history of the department. The research of the department was based on two interdisciplinary domains of research. The research project on Learning Difficulties, launched in co-operation with the Department of Psychology at the beginning of the decade, was placed in the field of educational and learning psychology. Its originators were Erkki Olkinuora, Erno Lehtinen and Pekka Salonen. Close co-operation with the Department of Psychologyof the University of Turku lead to the foundation of the Learning Difficulties Clinic, the presentday Centre for Learning Research, in the middle of the decade.

A project analyzing the socio-historical formation of basic education triggered the department's research on the sociology of education. A joint project with the Department of Research on Sociology and Politics, it was piloted by Risto Rinne and Joel Kivirauma from the Department of Education and Osmo Kivinen from the Department of Sociology. Research on the sociology of education was also organized as a separate research unit. The Research Unit on the Sociology of Education, the Research Centre of the Sociology of Education by its present name, was founded in 1987 as a result of cooperation between the departments. The status of research and instruction of educational sociology was further strengthened when the sociology and planning of education was defined as the research domain of the other vice professorship.

In addition to the research on learning and sociology, the department's research profile was diversified by the research on educational philosophy and music therapy of which the latter, under KimmoLehtonen's guidance, made an important contribution to the internationalizationof research.

The instruction of the second subject of the department, that of special education, had during the whole of the1970's, suffered from chronic lack of teachers. Instruction had had to be taken care of entirely as docent or hourly-based instruction. Considerable improvement to the situation came in 1981 when the lectureship inspecial education was established in the department. In 1983 Hanna-Sofia Poussu-Olli was elected to the post.

Education studies were characterized in the 1980's by the degree reform which the entire field of education changed over to in 1979. Major studies leading to the degree of Master of Education took place thereafter in the degree programme of Educational Planning, Administration and Research. In 1987 the name was shortened to the Degree Programme in Educational Science.

The student organization "K-klubi" continued its lively activity. The politicizing generation of the 1970's changed into the "sähly" -generation. Alongside with sports and leisure activities, the K-Klubi members had time to participate, for instance, in the activities of PRAKSIS , the nation-wide organization of education students founded in 1984.

With growing responsibilities to the 21st Century

The great changes and turning points in the Finnish higher education and educational policy in general, which had been launched already in the 1980's, took shape in the 1990's. The internationalization of research, changes in higher education and science policy with the new accountability demands and funding problems were, in many ways, also reflected in the functioning of the Department of Education, forcing it to renovation and new areas.

The reforms in university and school legislation, maintenance of the system of vocational higher education as well as the strong expansion of adult education, created constantly increasing educational needs and pressures on the entire field of education. The expansion of adult education was concreticized in the instruction work of the department, especially in the enlargement of Open University studies. Teachers working on an hourly basis had been harnessed in the 1980's to manage this task and in 1988 a decision to establish a lectureship of adult and vocational education was made and Kimmo Lehtonen was elected as its permanent holder in1990. Since the middle of the 1990's the management of the comprehensive grade instruction of education in the Open University has taken place on the basis of a separate agreement which has made it possible to invest in a professor in addition to the contribution of a full-time teacher working on an hourly basis.

At the turn of the 1990's an orientation alternative of adult education was constructed inside the degree programme of educational science to which the first students - one of the admission criteria being five years work experience - were admitted in the semester 1990-1991. The professorship of adult education was established in 1995 and adult education became the third subject of the department. Now it was possible to start the gradeing of the new subject as a major and minor. The office was at first held by Erno Lehtinen who later on took up a professorship in the Department of Teacher Education inTurku. Risto Rinne was elected as permanent holder of the office. Since 1998 a senior assistantship has been devoted to adult education.

In addition to regular adult education, the department's tasks as a teacher educator have increased. Since1994 the department has been primarily responsible for the realization of the pedagogical studies for subject teachers directed to the students of education and social sciences. At the turn of the millennium offers expanded to the humanities and other fields. The exceptional education of special teachers is a noteworthy educational task situated at the crossroads of adult and teacher education. It was started in the department at the very end of the decade. The strengthening of the entire field of special education is set for the new millennium. One of the territorial conquests of the 1990's was participation in the development and training work of higher education in the university to which the department has given since 1996 part of the other senior assistant's contribution.

The department has also invested in the early stage of lifelong learning. As a part of the rearrangements of kindergarten teacher education of the faculty, a vice professorship (professorship at present) in pre-school education was established in 1995 and Kaarina Laine was appointed permanent holder of the office in 1997.

The extension of the department's tasks is clearly manifested also in research work. The psychologic-didactic research of the 1990's and the 1960's has expanded into numerous research projects and plans, e.g. in the areas of educational sociology, adult education, educational technology,special education, educational policy, educational psychology, educational philosophy and pre-school education. Increase in research collaboration within the faculty and between other universities has been both the prerequisite and consequence of this development.

The blurring of the boundaries between research and development work has been a development trend to which people in the academic world have had to adjust at the turn of the millennium. The Assessment Unit of Education of which the Department of Education is in charge, may be mentioned as an example of this.

On the threshold of the new millennium education had been taught for almost 70 years in the University of Turku. Even the department has reached a mature and productive middle age getting over to its 50th anniversary. These decades have been years of growth - both in quantity and quality. When Inkeri Vikainen started as the first professor in pedagogics she could hardly have imagined that the then institute with its personnel of three would in four decades grow into a working community of 40 persons in which there would be over 400 students doing their majors. And although the first lectures in pedagogics by J.E. Salomaa attracted a lot of students at the time he could hardly have foreseen what sort of seeds of growth he was sowing.

The department has met the challenges of research and instruction in the 21st century with the staff of about 40 persons. Masters of Education will be educated at approximately the speed of 50-60 per year. Department moved to permanent premises in the new faculty building in the centre of the University Campus in 2001.