About us

The University of Helsinki established the Language Centre in 1977 to provide the language studies included in all faculty degrees. Teaching is currently offered on all four University campuses, but the main location is on the City Centre Campus. The Language Centre consists of eight language units, the Support for Teaching and Learning Unit and the Language Services unit. The Language Centre has a staff of approximately 150, including 65 full-time teachers and 21 non-academic members of staff. In addition, University Services staff also attend to duties at the Language Centre.

Stairway of Language Centre, small

 

Language Centre organization chart

The Language Centre is an independent institute of the University of Helsinki. Its duties include providing teaching in language and communication skills to students in the faculties and degree programmes of the University of Helsinki; conducting research relevant to this mission; developing language teaching, learning material and diverse forms of learning; and offering language training, translation and revision services.

The Language Centre has a board set up by the rector for a term of four years. The board comprises nine members, each of whom has a deputy.

The board comprehensively develops the Language Centre’s operations under the leadership of the chair and in cooperation with the Centre director in accordance with the University’s operational and financial objectives as well as the University’s strategic plan and the Centre’s implementation plan.

The duties of the board specifically include the following:

  • Consider the Language Centre’s implementation plan and the related HR plan and budget
  • Resolve matters referred to it by the director because of their importance or far-reaching nature

The director of the Language Centre is responsible for the Centre’s operations, finances and staff. The organisation is divided into language and development units, each of which has a supervisor.

The Language Centre has established several working and development groups, on which staff serve as members. The groups promote professional development, community and the quality of operations.  

The groups are as follows:

  • The Committee for the Development of Teaching promotes and supports the planning, provision and assessment of teaching at the Language Centre.
  • The Research Support Group promotes the research-based development of teaching as well as research-based cooperation within the Language Centre and with partners. The Group organises the Language Centre’s research seminars and coordinates the editing of the Centre’s publication series. 
  • The Communications Committee discusses the principles and practices of the Language Centre’s communications and is responsible for the Centre’s annual report, communications plan and website.
  • The Cooperative Committee promotes the University’s HR policy goals and enhances the activities and working conditions of the work community.
  • The aim of the HYMY team is to highlight what welfare means for students and staff. The HYMY team works, for example, with the following themes: student welfare, staff welfare, tutoring and diverse learning.

  • The DigiPeda Group shares experiences and plans forums and training sessions to support digital language teaching and collaborative learning.

  • Textbook of the Year Award in 2018: Marjatta Alestalo, lecturer of Russian. Granted by the Association of Finnish Non-fiction Writers
  • Award for the Promotion of Bilingualism in 2016: Lis Auvinen, university lecturer of Swedish. Granted by the Board of the University of Helsinki Student Union
  • Article of the Year in Yliopistopedagogiikka in 2016: Johanna Vaattovaara, senior lecturer in higher education. Granted by the editors of Yliopistopedagogiikka
  • Jakov Grot Enthusiast Award in 2015: Marjatta Alestalo, lecturer of Russian, Eija Hämäläinen, lecturer of Russian, and Heidi Mäkäläinen, university instructor of Russian. Granted by the University of Helsinki Russian Society
  • Academic of the Year in 2014: Kimmo Svinhufvud, university instructor of Finnish as a native language. Granted by the Finnish Union of University Researchers and Teachers
  • Member of the Teachers’ Academy in 2014: Tuula Lehtonen, university lecturer of English
  • University of Helsinki Supervisor of the Year in 2013: Ulla-Kristiina Tuomi, director. Granted by the University of Helsinki Staff Association
  • Occupational Health and Safety Award in 2012: Language Centre. Granted by the University of Helsinki Occupational Health and Safety Committee
  • Maikki Friberg Equality Award in 2011: Language Centre and its Committee for the Equality and Accessibility of Learning. Granted by the University of Helsinki Equality Committee
  • Honourable mention in the University of Helsinki competition on educational technology in 2009: Kielijelppi
  • Honourable mention in the University of Helsinki competition on educational technology in 2007: Kaleidoskooppi − Kaleidoscope
  • University of Helsinki Supervisor of the Year in 2005: Seija Korhonen, director of Language Services. Granted by the University of Helsinki Staff Association
  • Two founding members of the Teachers’ Academy in 2013: Leena Karlsson, university lecturer of English, and Kimmo Svinhufvud, university instructor of Finnish as a native language
  • University of Helsinki Centre of Excellence in Teaching in 2010−2012: Language Centre. Granted by the University of Helsinki
  • University of Helsinki Quality Award in 2002: Language Centre. Granted by the University of Helsinki