The University of Turku and the Student Union organised the traditional Opening Carnival for the new academic year on 5 September 2023. The Opening Carnival was held at the square between Educarium and Publicum.
The Carnival invites the students and staff to celebrate the new academic year. Rector Jukka Kola welcomed the students and staff to open the academic year 2023–2024 of the University of Turku.
At the beginning of the new academic year, Rector Kola reminded the audience about the importance of encounters.
“I have had the opportunity to meet our new students at the orientations and the encounters have been inspiring and rewarding. I have encouraged the new students to share their thoughts and hopes openly and boldly from the very beginning of their academic journey. The same applies to all students – tell us how you are and what you need. At the University of Turku, each student receives guidance from the beginning of their studies all the way to career counselling.”
Kola said that these great encounters at the orientations led him to reflect on the great significance of having an active campus.
“It is essential for the well-being of us all – both students and personnel – that we are there for each other. Requesting and offering support services is of course important, but how we act in our everyday lives makes a big difference. Small, everyday tasks become important matters to the whole community when we work on them together.”
Teacher, Counsellor and Language Deed of the Year Announced at the Carnival
The winners of the Teacher, Counsellor and Language Deed of the Year awards were announced at the Carnival. The Counsellor of the Year was awarded for the first time as 2023 is the theme year of guidance and counselling. The Teacher and Counsellor of the Year were selected by the University’s Teaching and Learning Council from amongst the students’ suggestions collected by the Student Union. The Language Deed of the Year is selected by the University's Working Group on Language Matters from amongst the suggestions of the University community.
The Teacher of the Year 2023 is University Lecturer Saana Myllyntausta (psychology, the Faculty of Social Sciences). According to the justifications, Myllyntausta is an inspiring and emphatic teacher who can create a safe space in teaching situations. Her teaching style is clear and she uses versatile teaching methods. Myllyntausta actively collects feedback from her students, gives feedback in turn, and develops her teaching. Myllyntausta is actively involved in the student and teacher community. In addition, she has successfully supported students’ master’s thesis process and helped solve their thesis blocks.
The Counsellor of the Year award was given to two candidates: Student Advisor Tanja Viherä from the Faculty of Law and University Lecturer Maija Hupli from the Department of Nursing Science.
Tanja Viherä is commended for her student-centred counselling. Students think that Viherä is a cheerful and nice counsellor who gives space for the students’ thoughts, hopes and goals in the counselling situation. Viherä ensured that student counselling is a visible part of the renewed Bachelor’s degree in law. In addition, Viherä has been involved in creating a new guidance model that pays particular attention to students’ well-being and experiences of loneliness.
Maija Hupli has had a significant academic career as a teacher in health science education and research. The justifications state that Hupli’s teaching centres around student guidance. Her counselling has always been student-driven and she helps the students to recognise their own goals and strengths and to plan their studies accordingly. Hupli has also been proactive by following the students’ well-being and progress. In addition, Hupli has extensive experience in thesis supervision. She has particularly supported the master's thesis process of students who have taken a break from studies.
The Language Deed of the Year 2023 is the Language is the key webinar series. The webinar series was created by the School of Languages and Translation Studies and it successfully highlights the social significance of languages both within the University and in wider society. At the same time, it showcases research in language studies and career opportunities for language experts. The webinar series started in autumn 2022 and a new episode was published each month.