UEF 2030 strategy events: Our strategy is made together
The University of Eastern Finland is formulating its strategy for 2020-2030. Openness, interaction and participation of the academic community constitute fundamental principles of the strategy process. The goal is for the new strategy to be ready by the end of 2019.
Held in Joensuu and Kuopio in the last week of May, the UEF 2030 strategy events attracted both staff and students to discuss the university’s future direction.
Chair of the UEF Board Lea Ryynänen-Karjalainen noted in her opening words that collaboration plays a key role in the formulation of the new strategy.
“During this strategy formulation process, it is vital that we think about how to build a good and solid foundation for the university’s desired future state, and how to take care of the university’s core missions in the future. We need to be increasingly adaptable to change and have the ability to react, proactively, to challenges emerging around us,” Ryynänen-Karjalainen said.
Collaboration is key – not only in ice hockey, but in universities, too.
“Although we are individuals, it is worth bearing in mind, and to believe in, that we will excel as a team,” Ryynänen-Karjalainen said, inspired by Finland’s victory in the ice hockey World Championships.
The University of Eastern Finland is preparing a strategy that will guide the university’s activities over the next decade.
“The goal is to identify our major topics and themes, and to establish a long-term link between them and our strategy. It is both a challenge and an opportunity to make a strategy that combines a long time span and constant renewal,” Rector Jukka Mönkkönen noted.
Mönkkönen reminded the audience of the importance of a sense of community and interaction in both the formulation and implementation of the strategy. Moreover, openness is highlighted in all activities of the university.
“This is the key to creating an even better university,” Mönkkönen said.
Strategy becomes reality through action
Hosted by Editor Anne Heikkinen, the panel discussions focused on the significance of a strategy and on the university’s future direction.
According to Sirpa Lätti-Hyvönen, Strategy Director of the City of Kuopio, the city’s strategy sets a course for its activities.
“It is a message of the city and its goals not only to our residents, but also to a wider audience.”
According to Lätti-Hyvönen, as strategy that is made together already aims at its implementation.
“A strategy becomes reality through action, and it must be closely linked to an organisation’s everyday activities,” Lätti-Hyvänen said.
According to Professor of Practice Reijo Karhinen, a strategy identifies the choices an organisation makes in order to gain competitive advantage.
“A strategy is not made just for the organisation itself, but it is also geared outwards; towards the region in the case of the university.”
According to Karhinen, the university should take the future and vitality of eastern Finland into consideration in its new strategy.
“A strategy is an inspiring and insightful vision of the future,” Karhinen said, summing up his thoughts.
According to students Ella Partanen and Susanna Remes, it is important that the voice of students be heard within the academic community. Moreover, it is important for students to have the opportunity to participate in the academic community's shared events.
Research Manager Tero Karjalainen pointed out that it is essential for students to feel included as members of the community.
According to Academic Rector Harri Siiskonen, studying will be increasingly diverse in ten years’ time.
“Educational responsibilities will be divided between different universities and strong internationalisation will be highlighted in the universities’ everyday life,” Siiskonen said, creating a vision for 2030.
Members of the academic community have participated in the formulation of the strategy in many ways. The spring has witnessed surveys aimed at the academic community, collection of ideas and suggestions, as well as discussions on the university’s future direction in events organised in each faculty. External stakeholders will also be included in the strategy formulation.
A video showcasing the atmosphere and comments heard in the UEF 2030 strategy events will be released in early June.
Members of the academic community can follow the progress of the strategy formulation process on the strategy website in Heimo.