Antti Räsänen was born in Mikkeli on 1 December 1969. He graduated as a Master of Arts (Education) from the University of Joensuu in 1985, and as Master of Theology from the University of Helsinki in 1992. Räsänen completed his doctorate in theology in 2002 with religious education as his major subject. Räsänen began working in his current position as professor of religious education at the Faculty of Theology on 1 August 2012. Before that, he worked as university lecturer in religious education at the University of Helsinki and as professor of religious education in the University of Eastern Finland.
Since 2014, Räsänen has served as the director of the doctoral programme of the Faculty of Theology.
According to Räsänen, the dean’s duties in the overall context of the University are focused on strategic leadership and competence.
“According to the University of Helsinki’s new strategy, the goal is to create an international environment of top research, to focus on the students and to ensure and generate the resources needed for reform. The dean’s task is to lead the Faculty in a way that results in measures being taken in a correct, productive, economical way that supports the community,” he says.
As dean, Räsänen intends to emphasise the human relations of leadership.
“Success in leadership of issues or strategies depends on how well individual members of the work community are motivated in their jobs. Everyone should be aware of the value, demands and requirements of their job, which calls for open and interactive leadership.
“In my opinion, a dean must be proactive, not reactive – the dean must build the future, not just end up there by accident,” Räsänen adds.
According to Räsänen, acquiring external international funding and student recruitment are among the biggest challenges facing the Faculty in the future. Leading the staff and students in a way that helps them be enthusiastic and motivated in their jobs and studies after the major changes represented by the University Services and the Big Wheel reform is another central issue.
As dean, Räsänen wants to highlight dialogue between religions, new interpretations of traditions, and an understanding of the modern spirituality and values.