Director's Review

For the University of Helsinki, 2015 was a year of preparations for the raft of upcoming changes, such as the extensive Big Wheel reform of degree programmes, the new model for administrative services, and the development of campus structures, as well as the launch of the Change Programme and related cooperation negotiations resulting from the economic downturn. Against this backdrop, the University and the Language Centre carried on with their core duties as planned.

The Language Centre’s operations are characterised by diverse and multilateral collaboration with local, national and international partners. Although primarily an educational institution, the Language Centre develops its operations based on research. A good example is the annual Miniconference it organises with Aalto University’s Language Centre to allow the staff of both language centres to present their research projects related to teaching and its development. The conference also helps staff learn from each other and supports collegial cooperation between the universities.

The Language Centre aimed to provide diverse learning environments for communication and language studies throughout the most recent strategy period. Digital resources and online environments are already an integral part of studies. It is important that staff receive sufficient support for using digital tools in educationally appropriate ways. Of equal importance are the innovative and inspiring experiences and examples that colleagues share with each other.

Teachers now use various methods of autonomous to teach several languages. This annual report presents one recent example: the ALMS course in Swedish. The Language Centre must continue to systematically develop opportunities that support learning outside the classroom.

The Language Centre has also collaborated successfully with the University of Helsinki’s Faculty of Arts in providing instruction in languages seldom taught in Finland. This collaboration helps eliminate overlaps, saves resources and creates new connections between teachers and other staff across unit boundaries.

Despite the general circumstances of uncertainty and anxiety at the University, the Language Centre achieved outstanding results in the University’s workplace wellbeing survey in the autumn of 2015 and retained its position as one of the University units with the highest survey scores.

I wish to extend my sincere thanks for the past year to all Language Centre partners and staff for their contribution and commitment during these difficult times of change.

Ulla-Kristiina Tuomi
Director of the Language Centre