University of Vaasa awarded its best research and teaching acts

During the anniversary celebration on Friday 26 January, the University of Vaasa awarded the research and teaching acts of the year. The Research Act of the Year 2023 was awarded to professors Annukka Jokipii and Harri Jalonen. Programme Manager and Assistant Professor Aušrinė Šilenskytė got the Teaching Act of the Year 2023. In addition, University Teacher Heini Pensar received the Good Teacher award and University Teacher Tahir Ali an honorary mention from the Students' Union of the University of Vaasa.

Professors Annukka Jokipii and Harri Jalonen were awarded the Research Act of the Year award for the IRWIN project led by the University of Vaasa. The project, which was funded by the Academy of Finland, is an interdisciplinary research project that studies information resilience in complex environments. 

The project developed a participatory model of national preparedness in which decision-makers, civil society, and the business sector work together to promote crisis preparedness.

Annukka Jokipii

- We are living in a time of multiple crises. In crises, it is important that decision-makers and we citizens have a shared understanding of what has happened, influencing circumstances and the possible ways in which events may evolve. While information cannot eliminate crises, it can help us cope with them. Decision-making based on high-quality information also strengthens social trust, says Professor Harri Jalonen.

In addition to high-quality scientific publications and other scientific contributions, the project has had a significant societal impact. 

The University of Vaasa research team has published over twenty peer-reviewed articles and given presentations at numerous conferences. Regarding societal impact, we are proud that information resilience has found its way into the national media and into the discourse of decision-makers, says Jalonen.

According to Professor Jokipii, the project has been successful in its interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary approach.

-The research results are directly applicable to the development of Finnish society and security. The results have not been limited to scientific forums and publication channels, but we have invested heavily in communication and actively produced material for decision-makers.

In addition to Jokipii and Jalonen, Petri Uusikylä, Harri Raisio, Juha Lindell, Aino Rantamäki and Ville-Pekka Niskanen from the University of Vaasa also participated in the project. Besides the University of Vaasa, the consortium included the University of Eastern Finland, Laurea University of Applied Sciences, and the National Defence University. According to Jalonen and Jokipii, this recognition belongs to the entire research consortium.

Teaching Act of the Year for contribution to the development and internationalisation of education

Aušrinė Šilenskytė

Programme Manager and Assistant Professor Aušrinė Šilenskytė received the Teaching Act of the Year Award for her extensive contribution to the development of teaching and education at the University of Vaasa and internationally. She has been widely engaged in developing both bachelor's and master's programmes. She has also created international collaboration in teaching excellence and has brought research opportunities to the university.

Šilenskytė has chaired the prestigious Academy of International Business (AIB) Teaching and Education Shared Interest Group. The group aims to promote teaching excellence and best teaching practices in international business education worldwide. She also represented the University of Vaasa in the AIB-CIBER Doctoral Academy and was one of the most active members of its founding governing board. 

In addition, Šilenskytė has worked on high-quality publications and editorial projects related to teaching excellence. In addition to publications focused on improving the quality of teaching, Šilenskytė has developed several cases and teaching materials, including an instructor's guide for one of the best-selling textbooks in the field of international business. Last year, she received significant national and EU funding for developing international study programmes that bridge academia and industry.

At the University of Vaasa, Šilenskytė is a programme manager of the bachelor's degree programme in international business. She has developed programmes and teaching, supervised theses and taught several highly-evaluated courses.

- I am very pleased that our university values excellence in teaching and education. While our university is a research-oriented university, teaching excellence is of equal importance. Our university provides a good environment and opportunities for educators to develop and innovate teaching and to conduct research related to teaching excellence.

Wide range of teaching methods and high-quality thesis supervision

Heini Pensar

The Good Teacher Award is given annually to a successful teacher who has inspired students at the University of Vaasa. This year, University Teacher Heini Pensar received the award. According to the Students' Union of the University of Vaasa, she has used a wide range of teaching methods in her courses. She is a supportive teacher who actively engages with students. 

University Teacher Tahir Ali received an honourable mention for the quality of his thesis supervision. He was praised for his effective guidance in defining the topic and for his encouragement throughout the process.

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