Director's Review

Ulla-Kristiina Tuomi


The target programme of the Language Centre for 2013-16 focussed heavily on objectives related to the development of teaching and these were specifically dealt with in 2013 whilst preparing the new curriculum. At the end of the summer the whole personnel took part in a “Future” day and in the follow-up discussions various focus areas for development were identified. These included mixed method and experiential teaching, internationality, academic thinking, and a clearer perspective on working life skills in our teaching. The pedagogical principles of the Language Centre were also re-visited during the same process. While no great changes to the existing principles were made, it is always fruitful to regularly discuss the topic. Once again, it yielded a lively exchange of views, new insights and viewpoints.

One of the duties of the Language Centre is to support the international character of the University. In Autumn 2013 we embarked on new measures to improve the integration of international students and staff into the university community. The new ‘language buddies’, clubs and course assistants have been very well received and they will continue to be developed on the basis of feedback already given.

Language support, financed by University strategy funding, has been provided by the Language Centre for the bilingual degree pilot project (Finnish and Swedish). A related research project followed the development of the students’ language skills during the period. The results are positive and indicate the functionality of the new degree concept.

Erasmus teacher and staff exchanges are an important form of professional development. It is a pleasure to see how enthusiastically Language Centre teachers and other personnel have participated in exchanges and also hosted an ever-growing number of visitors. It seems that we are a highly popular target for benchmarking and exchange.

In the autumn, the University ran a workplace wellbeing survey and the results from the Language Centre’s point of view were excellent, and once again, among the best in the University. The questionnaire completion rate was also good, at over 70%. High scores were given for the performance of immediate superiors, development opportunities, collegiality, strategic management and personal competence, as well as for the possibilities to influence one’s own work.

From a personal point of view the year ended on a happy note. Helsinki University Personnel Association selected the Language Centre Director as the Superior of the Year. The nomination was done on the basis of a staff initiative and it was celebrated in a warm-spirited occasion just before Christmas.

Ulla-Kristiina Tuomi
Director of the Language Centre