High-quality research, improvement needed for management and appreciation of teaching

The university community has extensively discussed the strengths and weaknesses of the present state of the university. The university staff members and the stakeholder groups of the university were requested to give their views about the current state and the future of the university through an online survey in early February. Over 2,000 respondents took the challenge. At the same time, committees supporting the university’s strategy work processed the views on the strengths and weaknesses of our operations. The Rector and the Vice-Rectors were also interviewed to support the analysis. 

The strengths of the present state included that we are an international, high-quality research university and a good employer. Research has identified its strong areas and the main themes formed by the areas. The research work has been long-term, and the decades of work have resulted in the university now being a global leader in climate and cancer research, for example.

Our university is also an inspiring research and learning environment. The staff are very positive towards training and development, and have specialised expertise. Our strengths include several centres of excellence, internationally leading researchers and research teams as well as good research environments.

The working sector currently has approximately 200,000 specialists educated by the University of Helsinki. Through this, many disciplines have cooperative projects with the business sector.  Reinforcing alumni activities is an important channel for social influencing from now on.

The weaknesses are that teaching tasks are not appreciated enough. Teaching merits/good teaching performance is not sufficiently rewarded. The management and planning of teaching also involves challenges.

The development of an interactive management system is still in progress. Heads of departments and office managers have a new mandate, and the roles of the Deans and administrative managers have also changed.

Regarding social influencing, it is a good thing that we are involved in many projects as a partner. However, the university does not have a clear, consistent policy regarding key partnerships. Internationalisation should also be promoted.


Online survey results

The online survey respondents considered research and teaching as the current strengths of the university. On a scale from 4 to 10, research was graded 8.25 and teaching 7.38. According to the respondents, the research is also internationally esteemed, encouraging students and researchers to join the university. Regarding teaching, the competence and enthusiasm of the teachers was commended, but the respondents would also like teaching to receive more appreciation.

Management and administrative and support services were considered as particular areas in need of improvement. Management was graded at 6.53, and administrative and support services 6.71. However, the grades for management varied extensively, and many respondents found that management at the university has improved.  The respondents would like to have a more interactive management culture and more management training. Administrative and support services are expected to be effective, customer-oriented and comprehensive.

Among the different groups of respondents, the stakeholder groups and the alumni were the most satisfied with the current state of the university, whereas the teachers, researchers and students were the most dissatisfied with it.

The results of the interviews and the analysis of the current state will be used for planning the university strategy 2013–2016.

For more information about the survey results, see the file attachment below.

High-quality research, improvement needed for management