Interim rector Kuusisto: Competition for resources incentivises operational improvements
– Competition for resources on the national level is also a good thing as it incentivises us to improve our own activities, Kuusisto said in his speech.
At the commencement of the academic year, the University of Vaasa's rector, Jari Kuusisto, who holds the position for a fixed term, said that universities are confronting new challenges due to restricted public funding.
– Competition for resources on the national level is also a good thing as it incentivises us to improve our own activities, Kuusisto said in his speech on Monday, 7th September.
According to Kuusisto, the University should also be prepared for the effect of increasingly direct global competition, which make take surprising new forms due to digitalisation.
He said that in this climate, the University of Vaasa's strength is a sense of community and humanity. A positive attitude and willingness to confront challenges are also key attributes.
– It is now more important than ever for our research to be correctly targeted and of high quality, and that we educate skilful, responsible experts for the future.
A good start for a new academic year
Kuusisto said that the University of Vaasa was commencing a new academic year in good condition with regard to both performance and finances. A key factor in this is the University of Vaasa's fund-raising campaign, which will be up to speed in the coming weeks.
Good results help the University of Vaasa to succeed even as university structures are being reformed.
– For the University of Vaasa, reprofiling does not mean a radical change in direction – just a fine-tuning, Kuusisto said.
The University has already plotted a course towards business orientation. The strategic focus areas are finance, management, energy and multilingualism.
Internal cooperation is important
After his speech, Kuusisto also passed on a few words from Suvi Ronkainen, the University of Vaasa's rector who is currently on a leave of absence due to illness. Suvi Ronkainen is recovering from a very serious infection. Ronkainen recalled the extraordinary strengths of the University of Vaasa and mentioned the importance of developing internal cooperation at the University.
– The University of Vaasa has strong expertise in business and finance. Its other faculties – societal studies, technology, languages and understanding linguistic practices – are important from the perspective of developing society, Ronkainen said in her message.
Megatrends - a huge possibility
Speaking at the commencement of the academic year, Sitra's president, Mikko Kosonen, emphasised the effect that megatrends such as climate change, overuse of natural resources and digitalisation have on all of us.
He said that universities play a key role as interpreters, helping people to understand and exploit megatrends. Finland can return to growth by combining the opportunities offered by megatrends with its top-class expertise in natural sciences and technology.
The chairman of the University of Vaasa's student union, Mikko Martikkala, said that the scarcity of resources must be seen as a challenge and an incentive to reform the University's activities.
He said that the outdated mindset of traditional lectures in darkened halls needed to be thrown on the scrap heap and digital education needed to be developed.
– Could the University of Vaasa take on an ambitious new objective to become Finland's most digital university? Martikkala asked.