The final year of my term (2014–2017) as a vice-dean is over. During the four-year term, the University of Helsinki was shaken by several simultaneous changes, including an extensive educational reform, a significant reduction in administrative staff, the concentration of operations in central administration, as well as new regulations on specialist training. The regulations concerning specialist veterinary training are still waiting to be processed by the ministries, which has restricted the development of the training. Regardless, a specialisation committee convened on five occasions, while a training day with the theme What next after specialisation? was organised in March for specialising veterinarians. Altogether 20 students took the specialisation examination in November. In the last four years, an average of 20 specialists in veterinary medicine have graduated annually, the goal being 25. The specialisation committee was abolished, to be replaced at the beginning of 2018 by a steering group for specialist training led by Professor Päivi Rajala-Schultz.
Many changes have also taken place in bilingual activities. In 2014, campus steering groups were established to advance bilingualism at the University. In addition to myself, the meetings of the steering group for Viikki and Kumpula were attended by Anna Valros, the Faculty’s Swedish-speaking professor. During the four-year term, only a handful of Swedish-speaking students have begun studying at the Faculty, which has had an effect on bilingual activities. In the future, the aim is to strengthen Swedish-language teaching also among Finnish-speaking students. In late 2017, the planning of a Swedish-language teaching strand for ten voluntary students interested in Swedish commenced. The planning is led by Anna Valros and Antti Iivanainen, director of the Bachelor’s Programme. The Faculty’s committee for bilingual affairs was abolished, with responsibility for implementing bilingual activities transferring to bachelor’s and licentiate’s programmes at the turn of the year. In the next term, the vice-dean in charge of bilingual affairs will be Olli Peltoniemi.
As the vice-dean in charge of the Faculty’s community relations, I have participated in the vice-dean meetings of the University of Helsinki, focused on discussions on topical joint matters related to community relations. In the past year, only a few of these meetings were held, and the operational model is now being changed. As of the beginning of the next year, a reformed council for community relations will begin operations, comprised of the vice-deans in charge of community relations or deans of the faculties who will prepare strategic guidelines, decisions and development measures related to the University’s community relations. At the council, our Faculty is represented by Dean Antti Sukura.
Vice-dean in charge of specialist training, bilingual affairs and community relations
Faculty of Veterinary Medicine
University of Helsinki