I began my term as vice-dean at the beginning of 2014. One of my responsibilities is to oversee specialist education in veterinary medicine in Finland. The specialist committee (2014–2017) met four times in 2014. On 17 October, 34 students pursuing specialist education in veterinary medicine participated in the annual seminar. All participants attended the morning programme and then separated into field-specific groups in the afternoon. The specialist examination was administered on the Moodle platform for the first time on 21 November 2014. Of the 32 students who registered for the examination, 31 took it, of whom 27 passed. Over the course of the year, 31 new students registered as pursuing the specialist degree, and ten graduated.
The Faculty Council approved the revised standing orders for specialist education in veterinary medicine on 11 February 2014. The new standing orders stipulate that a licensed veterinarian cannot apply for the right to study until he or she has worked for at least a year after graduation in a position accepted by the degree programme. An electronic application form has been introduced, and new forms for the registration of modules were launched in the spring. Written contracts with authorised training clinics as well as a written agreement with the immediate supervisor were introduced in all degree programmes.
Finnish universities will cease offering degree-oriented specialist education in veterinary medicine because its nature and implementation do not correspond to other academic degrees. However, the regulations on specialist education in veterinary medicine have not yet been amended. The Faculty’s proposal (including further specifications) on the amendment to the decree on specialist degrees in veterinary medicine is currently awaiting consideration by the Ministry of Education and Culture.
In 2014 the bilingual affairs committee convened twice, and the vice-deans in charge of bilingual affairs, once. In September, the campus groups developing the University’s bilingual activities began to make plans for the use of strategic funding allocated to promote bilingualism. The plans will be discussed by the committee for Swedish-language affairs (Svenska verksamhetsnämnden). In the autumn, Mathilda Sjöholm, a student member of the bilingual affairs committee, participated in the campaign to recruit Swedish-speaking students.
Also in the autumn, the Finlandssvenska vetmed (FSV) club was established under the EKY association of veterinary students to promote the networking of Swedish-speaking veterinary students. At the summer fete on 11 June, the University’s Swedish-language affairs unit presented Janna Koivisto with an award for her long-term commitment to promoting Swedish-language affairs at the Faculty. The University’s new Language Policy was published in December.
All current and former students and staff of the Faculty (formerly the College of Veterinary Medicine) are alumni of the University of Helsinki. The University monitors the number of registered alumni as a measure of community relations. In 2014 the number of registered veterinary alumni totalled 420, about which we are pleased, although we still have some way to go to reach the goal (699) for the 2013–2016 strategy period. Interaction with colleagues outside the Faculty is a natural part of our daily activities. Each spring, we invite alumni to visit the Faculty and learn about its activities. We also wish to keep in contact with alumni to foster cooperation with them. They can choose and propose suitable forms of cooperation. If you are not yet a part of the alumni network, you are warmly welcome to join it by registering in the free Campus Alumni network: http://www.helsinki.fi/alumni/.
Vice-Dean for specialist education, bilingual affairs and community relations
Faculty of Veterinary Medicine
University of Helsinki