Merits in teaching and pedagogical competence

pedagogical training and competence

  • University Pedagogy YP1, 5 cr, grade 5/5, 10.–14.12.2014
  • University Pedagogy YP2, 5 cr, grade 4/5, 16.1.–28.2.2015
  • University Pedagogy, Ryhmässä oppiminen (learning in groups), essay pending, course 2016.
  • MOOC, Problem Based Learning, Maastricht University, online, Autumn 2015.
  • PhD Supervisor’s course, IHME, University of Jyväskylä, 6.–9.5.2008
  • Learning to teach, University of Essex, August 2002

involvement in curriculum planning and the implementation of courses: subject, including subject, study hours, course level and duration

  • Comparative Study of Political Systems (Comparative Politics), Department of Political and Economic Studies, University of Helsinki, (1st year BA course, Political Science, University of Helsinki), 5 cu. March-April 2016.
  • Political Theory Classics, Department of Political and Economic Studies, University of Helsinki, (1st year BA course, Political Science, University of Helsinki), 5 cu. January-March 2016.
  • Memory, identity and culture in Europe, Department of Philosophy, History, Culture and Art Studies (BA/MA level course in History and Area Studies), 5 cu, 16.1.–27.2.2015
  • Interpretive Policy Analysis, Department of Political and Economic Studies, University of Helsinki, (BA/MA level course in Public Administration and Organization Studies), 5 cu, 2013
  • Metropolitan Politics (in Finnish), Department of Political and Economic Studies, University of Helsinki, (MA level course in Public Administration and Organization Studies), 5 cu, 2013
  • Postmodern Leadership (in Finnish) Department of Political and Economic Studies, University of Helsinki, (BA level advanced course in Leadership Studies Programme)
  • Introduction to Cultural Policy Research (in Finnish), MA Programme in Cultural Policy Research, Department of Social Sciences, University of Jyväskylä 2009 (MA, 5 cu)
  • Theories of Cultural Policy Research (in Finnish), MA Programme in Cultural Policy Research, Department of Social Sciences, University of Jyväskylä 2009 (MA, 5 cu)
  • Urban Cultural Policy and Politics (in Finnish), MA programme on Cultural Policy, Department of Social Sciences and Philosophy, University of Jyväskylä, (MA 5 cu) 2006–10
  • Ideology and Discourse Analysis, Department of Political Science, 5-10 cu., University of Helsinki, (MA/PhD course in Politics, each year 2006–).
  • Discourse Analysis: Logics, Hegemony and Ideology, Unit of Development Studies, 5 cu., University of Helsinki, 2011
  • Ideologia- ja diskurssianalyysi, Helsinki Summer University, 6 cu., August 2010 and May 2011, August 2012, June 2014, and August 2015
  • Ideologia- ja diskurssianalyysi, University of Lapland, MELA, 6 cu., September 2010
  • Tackling Derrida, POLITU national doctoral school on political science and IR, 10 cu. 2009
  • Ideology and Discourse Analysis (in Finnish, BA-level), Department of Social Sciences and Philosophy, University of Jyväskylä, May 2008
  • Introduction to Discourse Theory (in Hungarian), Mouffe and Radical Democracy (in English) Centre for Political Discourse Studies, Institute for Political Sciences, Hungarian Academy of Sciences, Budapest Autumn 2005, Spring 2006

Research seminars

  • BA Thesis seminar Spring 2012, 2016, 2017 (yleinen osa 2016-17)
  • MA Thesis seminar Spring 2011 (yleinen osa 2011), co-taught at Jyväskylä 2009
  • PhD seminar Theoretical Studies (additional) 2010.


PhD Supervision:

  1. Kaisa Savolainen (co-supervisor with Lea Pulkkinen and Jarl Wahlström), University of Jyväskylä, 13.11.2010 , Education as a Means to World Peace: The Case of the 1974 UNESCO Recommendation (http://julkaisut.jyu.fi/?id=978-951-39-4086-7)
  2. Hanna Laako (co-supervisor with Teivo Teivainen 2009-2011), University of Helsinki 6.5.2011, Globalization and the Political – in the Borderlands with the Zapatista Movement
  3. Kanerva Kuokkanen (from 2011) with Pertti Ahonen and Stefan Sjöblom, University of Helsinki 15.4.2016
    Developing Participation through Projects? A Case Study from the Helsinki Metropolitan Area


In process:

  1. Halil Gurhanli (2010-), populism in Turkey and Finland (primary, active)
  2. Päivi Niiles (2010-), ethics and regional public administration reform (primary, passive)
  3. Leea Lamminpää (2011-), EPA negotiations in the EU (primary, passive)
  4. Taavi Sundell (2011-), Universities and globalization (primary, active)
  5. Nea Leo (2012-), third sector actors transformation in cultural public policy (primary, passive)
  6. Anna Kutkina (2012-), cultural differences and local policy prosess in Ukraine (primary, active)
  7. Rūta Kazlauskaitė-Gürbüz (2014-) Historical interpretations in school history education: Poland and Lithuania (primary with Juri Mykkänen and Peter Kraus, active)
    University of Jyväskylä, Centre for the Study of Contemporary Culture:
  8. Kirsi Pulkkinen (2015-) Tutkijoiden asiantuntijatieto hallinnossa (primary at department, active)
  9. Akif Cem Özkarde (2016-) Eurosceptism (with Mikko Mattila, active)
  10. Lazaros Karavasilis (2016- TBC) populism (primary, TBC)

In Jyväskylä:

  1. Lic. Juha Ruuska (2008-), with Urpo Kovala (passive)
  2. Aleksi Lohtaja (2016-), with Miikka Pyykkönen (active)


MA thesis supervision :

University of Helsinki, Faculty of Social Sciences: Jonas Sjöblom: Local democracy pilots Bacchian case study on Arabia Helsinki (May 2014), Anniina Hyttinen, Jobbik – the nationalism of the extreme-right in Hungary (2016); Minna-Maria Tuura (NMP and post-NMP discourses on public sector, Saara Turkka (Politics and planning debates in Oulu, co-supervised upto 2013, laudatur), Anni Tammisto (graffiti); Ville Aula “Strategy” in Finnish Public Administration (co-supervised, 2014); Public Administration studies MA dissertation seminar: Hanne Huvila, Lauri Pulkka, Simo Karvinen, Marianne Törmänen (14.5.2012), Sini Virtanen (12.4.2012), Tiina Kukkonen-Suvivuo (17.1.2012).
University of Jyväskylä, Cultural Policy: Pirjo Sohlo: Oulu City-Marketing 2010

BA thesis supervision: ca. students from Political Science BA seminar, DPES, University of Helsinki in 12 in 2012, and 7 in 2016.

development of teaching methods

WeQPeda goes lukio/gymnasium, Finnish National Board funded project, based in Eira High School, PI at the UH Department of Political and Economic Studies, developing pedagogic theory and practices, particularly thematic teaching in high schools and interaction between society and universities (2016).

The MICE pilot course on problem-based learning in History (https://blogs.helsinki.fi/asymmetries/2015/02/10/lecture-course-on-memory-identity-and-culture-in-europe/)

Helsinki Challenge team Higher Education Unbounded, lead by Katalin Miklossy develops better methods for teaching taboo/difficult topics (https://highedunbounded.wordpress.com/)


Pedagogical writings

Teaching Populism in Tbilisi, in Katalin Miklóssy (ed.) Intercultural Learning: Experiences of Multilateral Co-operation between Finnish, Georgian and Belorussian Univeristies. Aleksanteri Institute, University of Helsinki, 2015, pp. 23-24.

Interviews on teaching:

“Ulos luentosaleista”, Yliopistolainen 4/2016.



1           Teaching and supervision

I am 39 years old and defended my PhD ten years ago, for circa five years I have been full-time employed as a university lecturer developing a teaching curriculum in three different specialisation fields in political science: Cultural Policy, Public Administration and Organisation Studies, and Politics (theory and comparative politics). I have been lecturing and running seminars since 2002, making 14 years of experience. Since 2007 I have been teaching with variation my signature course on Ideology and Discourse Analysis in several universities and audiences. My students have ranged from the first-year undergraduates to final-year undergraduates, MA students and PhDs and postdocs. I have also taught to non-traditional groups at the summer university and occasionally the civic adult education unit. I mainly teach in English. I have taught master’s and bachelor’s and co-taught PhD thesis seminar, and supervised doctoral researchers and postdocs. Besides courses and a MOOCs, I develop my teaching and learning skills, new pedagogy and postfoundational pedagogic theory with university pedagogy experts and teachers in Finnish Education Board (OPH) funded project on WeQPedagogy that originated from a Helsinki Challenge semi-finalist bid.

1.1          Practical teaching experience and the development of teaching skills

Lectureships: In my 13-month-placement as University Lecturer in Cultural Policy (MA programme) at the University of Jyväskylä I taught a methods course and three courses in Cultural Policy Research. As University Lecturer in Political Science, spec. in Public Administration and Organisation Studies, at the University of Helsinki (finally under two contracts 2.5 years, until my maternity leave) my duties included designing courses and curriculum, teaching four courses. I also developed and taught on the Leadership Studies curriculum (JOS). As University Lecturer in Political Science (Politics) from September 2015 (18/36 months to date) I have been teaching two new courses besides BA seminar and methods course, and developing or coordinating three Master’s programmes.

Part-time teaching: As course lecturer I have taught at Helsinki from 2007, at Jyväskylä 2006-2010, at the University of Lapland in 2010, and at the Helsinki Region’s Summer (open) University 2010-2016, and the Hungarian Academy of Sciences 2005-06. I have also lectured in Szombathely and PPTK, Budapest, Hungary, and the European Humanities University in Vilnius, Lithuania, and will in Tbilisi, Georgia, in 2015.

Courses and themes (5-6 credits, see appendix 2):

Policy Analysis: My first signature course was Urban Cultural Policy (Jyväskylä 2006-2010). As lecturer in Jyväskylä I taught MA courses Introduction to Cultural Policy and Theories of Cultural Policy in 2009.  In Helsinki I taught BA courses Metropolitan Politics (Metropolipolitiikkaa) in 2011, 2013, and in 2014 co-taught with Kanerva Kuokkanen. I was responsible for the literature exam in 2011-13. In policy studies, besides urban and cultural policy, I specialise in IPA: Interpretive Policy Analysis in transforming goveranance, I taught in Helsinki in 2012–13. Courses usually include reading for each lecture, seminar-type discussion, an excursion and often creative assignments (e.g. an exhibition).

Organization studies and theory: I examined literature on International institution and organisation research, International administration, and Governance research course units in 2011-13. As course director for Strategic Leadership during my first year as a Lecturer at Helsinki, I learned about managing co-taught courses (especially when they have not really been managed until late), and assessed the exams 2010-11. In 2013, I coordinated and lectured on Postmodern Leadership, emphasising the connection between organization studies and political theory. In 2014, was a co-teacher on the course. Our guest speakers were two prominent young leaders from the public and NGO sectors.

Political Theory: In 2016 I have taught introduction to Political Theory Classics course at the University of Helsinki (Political Science). I have also given lectures on theory Althusser, Gramsci, Laclau and Mouffe at the University of Jyväskylä. In 2009 I taught a Finnish Political Science doctoral school course Tackling Derrida, a 10-credit course that could be modelled on later for theory or methods course. I also taught political theory – Introduction to Discourse Theory (in Hungarian), Mouffe and Radical Democracy (in English) – at the Centre for Political Discourse Studies, Institute for Political Sciences, Hungarian Academy of Sciences, Budapest Autumn 2005, Spring 2006.

European Politics and Politics of History: At Essex, I worked as a Teaching Assistant (2002-2004) at the Department of Government on first-year Introduction to European Studies, teaching weekly seminar groups. Elinor Scarborough, Frances Millard, and Sarah Birch lectured. In 2015, I taught Memory, Identity and Culture in Europe (MICE) course at the Faculty of Humanities, also for Social Sciences students, on European history, historiography, politics of commemoration and cultural identity. I gave a lecture on history course Methodological Nationalism in Europe in 2015.

Democracy, governance, and populism: I have taught the 1st year course on Comparative Politics – or the comparative study of political systems in 2015-16. In spring 2015, I taught a minicourse on Democracy at the Civic Education Unit of Helsinki with lectures on the Crisis of Democracy and Future of Local Democracy. In May 2015 I took part in transnational teaching process: teaching under the theme Populism and new features of political participation, at the Georgia State University. Drama of populist dynamics enabled learning of a complex controversial issue. I have lectured populism at the Swedish School of Social Science in 2016 and the FPSA seminar series in 2012 and 2016, and the Helsinki Summer School (HSS) course on Developments in Eastern Europe. I have lectured on radical democracy in the past in several universities. At the HSS 2017 I will also lecture on populism course.

Methods: Ideology and Discourse Analysis is my signature methods course with post-foundational political analysis, poststructuralist discourse theory, and short insights into rhetoric, deconstruction and psychoanalytic approach to politics. The methods course has been highly subscribed as faculty-wide English-language teaching, with up to 60 people wanting to attend! I opened up the course with larger lectures and separate seminar groups, sometimes with assistants to run a separate workshop. In spring 2017, my IDA course includes separate workshops on techniques in rhetoric, deconstruction, psychoanalysis and the logic’s approach. In the HSS 2017 I am responsible for a course on postfoundational analysis. My students use Moodle for assignments leading to a course essay related to their MA topic. The topics nor the course arrangements are never the same.

1.2          Supervision

Doctoral supervision: I have co-supervised three finalised doctoral thesis one in World Politics at Helsinki (on the Zapatist movement, Laako 2011) and another in Psychology in Jyväskylä (on Unesco’s decision-making, Savolainen 2010), in Public Administration and Organisation studies in Helsinki (on local participatory projects, Kuokkanen 2016). Organising and institutionalising practices is at the core of each of study.

Currently, I supervise the maximum of eight active PhD students of Political Science (on each track) at the Department of Political and Economic Studies, and one at the Centre for the Study of Contemporary Culture in Jyväskylä. Three students that I am the first supervisor for have secured long-term funding from the Finnish foundations of the University’s foundation (Gurhanli on Turkish populism, Sundell on global university reforms, and Kutkina on Ukrainian regional politics). I also co-supervise two funded students (Kazlauskaite-Gurbuz, embodied history in Lithuania and Poland in political science; Pulkkinen, scientific knowledge transfer in policy in public administration and organisation studies). I also (co-)supervise three starting-level PhD students from 2016 (Özkardes on Eurosceptism in Finland and Iceland, and Karavasilis on populism, and  Sopanen on China). In 2016 I started co-supervising doctoral researcher in Cultural Policy at Jyväskylä (Lohtaja with prof. Pyykkönen). Furthermore, I supervise three passive PhD students who have been following Public Administration and Organisation Studies PhD Seminar and plan continuing their PhD studies later (Leo on third-sector organisations and leadership; Niiles on ethics in regional public administration reform; Lamminpää on EPA negotiations in the EU).

MA thesis supervision: I have supervised twelve MA theses, nine in Political Science (Helsinki), and three in Social Policy (Helsinki: local democracy pilots Sjöblom 2014, Jobbik and populist mobilisation in Hungary Hyttinen 2016; and Jyväskylä: cultural politics of urban planning in Oulu Sohlo 2010 and each graded 6/7). Of my MA seminar in spring 2011, 6/7 students graduated in spring 2012 as planned. I additionally supervised other MA students particularly on Public Administration and Organisation Studies Track.

BA supervision: I taught a BA seminar in 2012-13 in Public Administration and Organization Studies, and 2016 in Politics, with successful graduation rates and diverse.

Other guidance: I run an informal PhD seminar in Theoretical Studies since 2010 at the Political Science, UH, and panels and workshops in conferences to further university careers of younger scholars and offer feedback. When possible, I have teaching assistants on courses, to offer possibilities to integrate into academia and develop our skills. The key idea behind Politiikasta.fi that I was the first Editor-in-Chief for was to make it easy to promote younger researchers, to suggest people to for interviews or panels, when you know what they are working on. Finally, it offers a chance to supervise and give guidance when the research topics are related to my own. It has been worth it considering the recognition to the field and its predominantly young researchers.

1.3          Pedagogical training or other development of teaching skills

In 2014-2015 I have taken two courses of University Pedagogy (10 credits, YP1 and YP2, with grades 5/5 and 4/5) taught by the Faculty of Social Sciences pedagogy lecturer. In 2015-16 I took Advanced level university pedagogy course on Learning in groups by the University Pedagogy Unit at the University of Helsinki, but I have postponed the submission of the final essay to autumn 2016. I have used the teaching and learning methods in my own research. In Autumn 2015, I took part and completed a MOOC on Problem Based Learning (PBL) offered by the University of Maastricht. The teachers were leading experts or regular users of PBL. This was an interesting course as it was based on group work while also being a MOOC. It particularly contributed to my skills of teaching and learning in multidisciplinary, multi-ethnic and online environments, but also offered a possibility to explore open-ended active learning myself. Previously, I have also taken a four-day Supervisor’s course at Jyväskylä in 2008, and Learning to Teach course at Essex in 2002. Having joined pedagogical training with more than 12 years in the profession, gave me more confidence to pursue and articulate my own teaching philosophy. My one-year-long experience at the Bauhaus Kolleg Dessau, contributed to the active learning approach, gaining learning outcomes by engaged learning, and assessment beyond the traditional exam.

1.4          Production of learning material

Teaching should be research-based, and I use my own publications (even unpublished work) on practically all of the courses I teach. I have written good introductions to discourse theory (e.g. Palonen 2008 – the volume Politiikan tutkimuksen nykyteoreetikkoja is used as a course book in Finland) and many of the cases in policy studies, too, can be exemplified through materials. My articles have been used as course material in universities globally, for example at Yale, especially in the fields of populism research, East Central Europe and toponymy or Politics of History. Also Urban Space, Place, and National Identity is written to work also as a course book in the US. For a course book on discourse theoretical method, that I plan to write with my junior colleagues, I contacted the Finnish publisher Gaudeamus.

1.5          Other teaching qualifications

In terms of administrative roles in teaching quality and quality teaching, I have involved in curriculum planning during my years as a Lecturer (Jyväskylä 2009, Helsinki 2011-2013). I have also been a member of Teaching Quality Committees in the both Faculties I have worked in, and a member of committee dealing with student intake and entrance exams at Helsinki. In terms of administration, I have been involved in four Master’s programmes, three of which are international, as the vice-coordinator for Master’s programme in Democracy and Global Transformation and as board member for European and Nordic Studies, and Global Politics and Communication. I represented my Political Science in the faculty’s methods teaching coordination team at Helsinki (2012-13). I have also worked been the responsible teacher (vastuuopettaja) of the leadership studies (JOS) at Helsinki (2012-2013).

Pedagogy projects, research and pilots: In 2016 I became the responsible leader of the Finnish Education Board’s (OPH) funded project in international thematic learning WeQPeda goes lukio/gymnasium at its UH end. The university pedagogy lecturers Anne Nevgi and Erika Löfström were part of the team in our project run from Eira High School including four other high schools in the Helsinki region and Tampere. The pedagogical report was launched in November 2016. We were encouraged to apply again with the schools for 2017-2018. We chose populism as the next theme. Also practical and academic papers are planned. The OPH project is part of education planning development that also yields on university pedagogy as well as impact and external relations. Our postfoundational, deliberative approach entails that when teaching and learning is opened up beyond specific materials, taboos and controversies emerge. Our postfoundational pedagogical theory enables dealing with the foundations, different understandings and truths. We also run a workshop with Anne Nevgi at the PedaForum 2015.

The project originates in the Helsinki Challenge the semi-finalist team of Katalin Miklóssy. We had a pedagogical challenge: teaching the unteachable. WeQPedagogy generates activating methods, which enable teaching taboos and emerging difficult topics or questions, and we piloted in a multi-ethnic and multi-disciplinary environment in Tbilisi State University, Georgia. I also contributed to the report by chapter on my teaching. The same spring, 2015, I piloted problem-based or research-based learning on a history course on multiple levels of students: MICE proved successful (https://blogs.helsinki.fi/asymmetries/2015/02/10/lecture-course-on-memory-identity-and-culture-in-europe/).

Lessons and philosophy: Over the years, I have sought to develop my teaching skills following the experience and feedback on the courses – and match the techniques in different audiences. What I have learned most over the last year is the teaching of first-year students – first time since my Teaching Assistant years at the University of Essex (2002-2004). Last year I also took an advanced university pedagogy course on learning in groups and completed an international MOOC on problem-based learning. I try organising visits to key institutions or invite people to lecture, or find creative ways to approach the subject (e.g. portfolio, essay, exhibition, or glossary) for the students to develop their knowledge or their own perspective to what is being learned.. At the Finnish universities students often do not realise how they are learning critical thinking and transferable skills for the -working life. Learning facts and paradigms can overshadow problems and problematizing. A good teacher inspires to look beyond the box and offers different tools (theoretical and pragmatic) for tackling difficult issues. More courses could benefit from visiting teachers, I plan to use the Erasmus exchange and the Helsinki Summer School for this.

ICT: Sometimes thinking on whiteboard works best, but generally I use a lot of ICT, and seek to explore what are the tools available teaching. In 2015-16 we have been using polls and questions (presemo at UH), and for the written exams moodle for timed essay or exam. Although I use the new examinarium for one of the book exams, assessment on my courses is most often done through essays or portfolios that gather and add on the assignments done during the course. I encourage peer commentary and working together. We have also developed longer-term online exams to replace monthly book examinations

Student reviews of my teaching have been generally very positive or at least above the neutral, but there is are some do not appreciate – often it is a sign of a thought-provoking course that it is not to everyone’s tastes. Still, for example, the Ideology and Discourse Analysis Course in 2012 was one of highest rated courses in the whole Summer University. I try to learn from reviews, and one innovation for MICE was to include a separate self-evaluation. It was great to see also students reflecting on their own input and styles of group work. That offers a chance to review how well they thought they learned and how much they thought they worked. After developing my pedagogical skills and teaching philosophy I have received quite a lot of criticism, too (in the period 2015-16): after a long while I teach first-year students. I need to work more on to guide the students through the muddy waters of active learning and also make sure I focus more on explaining carefully what is going on during the course. It is a difficult balance between keeping the course flexible for development by the students themselves and the teacher in reaction to the learning process and maintaining a steady plan for teaching and learning for the students to follow. I plan to improve in 2017, with ideas on focus: offering students the chance to vote in advance for the political theory classics they want to learn during the limited number or weeks. When I started teaching had clear learning objectives and outcomes and lists of relevant literature for each session: nobody was reading the literature, and objectives and outcomes were made on course level. Now I must go back to these good old habits: then the aims of the course would be clearer whatever the method.