Theologian Henrietta Grönlund is Docent of the Year

The University of Helsinki Docent Association has named Henrietta Grönlund, docent of Church and Social Studies and University Lecturer of Urban Theology, as the Docent of the Year 2017.

Henrietta Grönlund (@Henrietta_G) is an internationally esteemed researcher who has actively applied her research results in both NGOs and the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland.

 “Grönlund’s work combines the University’s research and teaching with social involvement in other sectors of society. In addition, her teaching and research topic, urban theology, is a very important issue as migration brings more people into cities,” states Anne Nevgi, chair of the University of Helsinki Docent Association.

A scholar of help, values and welfare

Docent of the Year Grönlund has studied loneliness, the gaps in the social welfare system, volunteering, charitable donations, compassion and the responsibilities of the welfare state as well as the role of religion, values and various signifying systems in these themes.

Grönlund has actively published her research results and extensively lectured on them both in Finland and abroad, and she has applied her research to practice in her work and elected positions and as an expert representative in government ministries, the Church of Finland and several NGOs.

 “Outside the borders of Finland, Henrietta Grönlund has been involved in several global networks, projects and publications on volunteer activities, charitable donations and organisations. She has also received the award for promising young researchers from the Association for Research on Nonprofit Organizations and Voluntary Action ARNOVA as well as an honorary mention from the same organisation for her doctoral dissertation,” state the award justifications.

Valuing humanity and understanding

For Grönlund, this is a great honour.

 “During my career, I have reached in multiple directions in many ways, both by choosing a multidisciplinary perspective and by immersing myself in the dialogue between theory and practice. Neither of these things is always considered a merit in academic evaluations, and it is wonderful that this is now to my credit,” she says.

Grönlund greatly values the docents at the University and society at large.

 “The title of docent is a recognition granted by the academic community, and as such I feel it has great value. Docents bring academic expertise from the University to other areas of society, and on the other hand, they provide new perspectives for the University’s teaching.”

 “Even though some consider docents unimportant, they in fact constitute a significant expert resource,” Grönlund states.

Helsingin yliopiston dosenttiyhdistys – Docentföreningen vid Helsingfors universitet ry – University of Helsinki Docent Association

Docents of the Year 2012–2016

Henrietta Grönlund in the Tuhat database

Protecting the weak

The urban theology research and teaching project led by Henrietta Grönlund focuses on the things that theological perspectives and religious expertise can bring to efforts to reduce social opposition, segregation and poverty and to increase connection, understanding and compassion.

Grönlund is currently a member of the CoLearning CoPassion team in the Helsinki Challenge science competition, seeking solutions for loneliness among young city dwellers.

She also leads a research project conducted in cooperation with HelsinkiMissio, focusing on urban poverty. 

In addition, Grönlund represents Finland and the University of Helsinki in the Europe Engage project of 12 European universities, which seeks to develop a new service learning approach for academic teaching.