Sari Lindblom appointed as rector of the University of Helsinki

Sari Lindblom had been attending to the duties of the rector since 1 February 2022. Lindblom has been joined in the senior leadership by two new vice-rectors: Kai Nordlund and Jouni Hirvonen. The term of office of the rector and vice-rectors will continue until 31 July 2023.

The Board of the University of Helsinki has appointed Sari Lindblom, DPhil, professor of higher education, as the University rector to serve until 31 July 2023. Lindblom has served as vice-rector for academic affairs and deputy rector since February 2017. She also attended to the duties of the rector during Jari Niemelä’s sick leaves in 2020–2022.

Previously, Lindblom was director of the Centre for University Teaching and Learning HYPE in 2004–2017, vice-dean for research and doctoral education at the Faculty of Behavioural Sciences in 2014–2016, and deputy director for research at the Institute of Behavioural sciences (and its predecessor, the Department of Education) in 2007–2015.

“Sari Lindblom has served as rector during most of the challenging Covid-19 pandemic, leading the University community successfully through this difficult period. She has extensive leadership experience in demanding environments and engages with a number of international networks. I’m also pleased to note that she is the first woman to be appointed as rector of the University of Helsinki,” says Niklas Bruun, chair of the University Board.

Bruun also highlights the importance of ensuring the continuity of University operations as a factor in the appointment.

“We wished to avoid a situation in which the rector and vice-rectors would again rely on short-term deputy arrangements this year. We have lived through a long period of uncertainty caused by Covid-19 and are keen to guarantee the continuity of operations and a smooth transition to more normal conditions at the University,” he notes.

Kai Nordlund and Jouni Hirvonen appointed as new vice-rectors

With Sari Lindblom’s appointment as rector, and Vice-Rector Paula Eerola taking up the position of president of the Academy of Finland, the University’s senior leadership had to be supplemented with two vice-rectors. The new vice-rectors, appointed to serve as of 1 March 2022, are Kai Nordlund, PhD, professor of computational materials physics, and Jouni Hirvonen, PhD (Pharm), professor of pharmaceutical technology. Continuing as vice-rector is Hanna Snellman, DPhil, professor of ethnology, who has now been designated as the rector’s deputy. Also continuing as vice-rector is Tom Böhling, MD, professor of pathology.

Kai Nordlund has been dean of the University of Helsinki’s Faculty of Science since 2018. Previously, he was director of the Department of Physics in 2018 and vice-dean for academic affairs, bilingual activities and infrastructures at the Faculty of Science from 2014 to 2017.

Jouni Hirvonen became dean of the University of Helsinki’s Faculty of Pharmacy in 2010. He was the Faculty’s vice-dean for academic affairs from 2004 to 2010.

Main responsibilities of the vice-rectors:

  • Hanna Snellman: deputy rector, international affairs and cultural heritage
  • Tom Böhling: public engagement, sustainability and responsibility as well as wellbeing
  • Kai Nordlund: academic affairs, bilingual activities and digitalisation
  • Jouni Hirvonen: research, doctoral education and innovations

The rector will decide on a more detailed division of responsibilities at a later date.