About the department Contact Information

The Department of Modern Languages
PO Box 24
00014 University of Helsinki
Unioninkatu 40 B, 6th floor

+358-2-941 24480

nykykielet-toimisto [at] helsinki.fi

The Department of Modern Languages is part of the
Faculty of Arts.

Quality and development

The Department is constantly planning and developing its operations through, for instance, unit meetings, development seminars and different working groups that operate to promote academic affairs, community relations and practical training, among other things.

Each discipline has appointed a coordinator who is in charge of coordinating and developing teaching in the discipline. The coordinators meet regularly to share information and to discuss topical opportunities and challenges.

As required by the university statutes, the department aims in all its operations to promote equality and communality in the university, influencing opportunities and the motivation of staff and students, as well as equality in decision-making.

Development of teaching

The research-based teaching provided by the Department’s disciplines is of high quality. Researchers employed in research projects teach, and the teaching period system makes it possible for the teaching staff to conduct research. The expertise of doctoral students and postdoctoral researchers is utilised in teaching and thesis supervision.

Students become familiar with the research conducted at the Department early on in their basic studies, and they participate in the Department’s research projects.

The Department seeks to further enhance the link between research and teaching. Teaching is continuously being developed through cooperation between teachers, researchers, other staff responsible for academic administration and students.

The Department’s three members of the University’s Teachers’ Academy have a special role in the development of teaching. The Teachers’ Academy is a network for teachers who have focused and spent time in many different ways on the development of teaching. The Teachers’ Academy also attests to the appreciation of pedagogic expertise among the University community.

Other development initiatives

A department-specific feedback system has been developed. Varied experience possessed by several disciplines was utilised in the creation of the system.

Any department with a wide variety of languages is necessarily faced with the need to determine target and/or acquired language skills. The European Framework in language teaching has provided good tools for this. More detailed descriptions have been drawn up in cooperation between disciplines, which also helps students better evaluate their language skills and their development.

The department monitors the impact of a focused approach in research activities and, if needed, makes new proposals with regard to the research profile of the faculty and/or makes decisions on internal policies. A strong area with potential is the interfaces between language and literary research.

In cooperation with employers, the department charts the employers’ expectations with regard to language and culture experts.  The work methods are discussion events and surveys. In addition to instructors, operative bodies and partners include student organisations and alumni.

Special development areas:

  • student work placement
  • commissioned Master’s theses
  • the link between teaching contents and methods and needs of the world of work
  • utilisation and serving of alumni

A separate question to be tackled is the working life competence provided by postgraduate studies. All people with doctorates are not employed by academia;  therefore, it is studied how the contents or forms of university doctoral degrees can be reformed in order to provide doctoral students with better preconditions to finding an occupation appropriate to their education.