What is accessibility?
Accessibility refers to the state of physical, psychological and social environment where everyone has an equal opportunity to engage with others.
Accessibility is particularly important for those members of the university community who have a handicap, are elderly or belong to cultural or linguistic minorities (here it refers to the physically challenged and the diversity of learners). Accessibility also refers to understanding information and the opportunity to participate in the decision-making when it involves yourself.
Accessibility does not only mean individual arrangements but overall trouble-free life, open communication, study experience, understanding of information and interaction with others.
- Guidelines and Regulations
- Celia – a national center for accessible literature and publishing in Finland
In addition Erasmus-programme offers extra suppot for students with disabilites and/or with children
Moving from one floor to another is obstacle-free In most buildings on the campus and there are appropriate sanitary facilities. In auditoria and other premises the physically challenged have been taken into consideration, and the acoustics of the lecture halls is good. The university also has portable audio induction loop that in the first place is meant for those with a hearing aid. The induction loop can be reserved from the porters.
Mobility of those with special needs has been taken into consideration In the university's new buildings. The needs of the physically challenged will be more thoroughly adapted when the premises are renovated (e.g. door-opening switches and ramps). Entrances for all buildings are accessible for physically challenged and they can be reached with e.g. a wheelchair.
If needed, teaching can be organised in premises that are accessible for everyone. Meetings with persons whose offices are not accessible can be arranged somewhere else.
There is unhindered access to all student restaurants that are within university premises. The most popular dietary dishes are daily available in the cafeterias, and at request the availability of some other dietary dishes can be negotiated.
There are specific parking areas for disabled persons on campus.
Organisation of studies and study counselling
It is important that study and teaching arrangements and practices are implemented so that all students get the support they need in their studies.
International students get guidance and counselling related to applying and studying e.g. from teachers and personnel in charge of study counselling in the different Schools as well as from the Admission Services and Mobility Services.
At the University of Vaasa, students can for certain reasons apply for individual arrangements related to study. Individual arrangements refer to specific measures that have been taken to support studies and are related to the completion of studies. Applications are handled and processed on a case-by-case basis.
Individual arrangements can refer e.g. to moving to a room that is accessible for the student, delivering the teaching material in advance or other supporting actions or solutions regarding teaching and completion of studies. Individual arrangements can also be or individual exam arrangements (such as extended time, undisturbed room or allowing the use of a computer). Grounds for requesting individual arrangements could be for example hearing/visual or other such impairment, dyslexia and related learning disorder, panic disorder, Asperger’s syndrome, mental problems, allergy or other hypersensitivity.
For more specific instructions for individual arrangements see How to apply for special arrangements. In case you need special arrangements only in examination, see Individual arrangements in examination.
The University does not offer interpretation services. Aid and equipment needed for study are provided when and if possible. The study material (e.g. books) required for a course is listed in the study guide. In addition, the rest of the material (e.g. literature) needed during the course is announced when teaching starts. It is possible to contact the teacher in charge of the course in advance for example by e-mail.
The library offers services that support accessible study, such as an extended loan period of textbooks for students with dyslexia. A national library for accessible literature and publishing in Finland, Celia provides equal access to fiction and non-fiction including educational material in accessible formats, such as talking books, Braille and e-books, free of charge for people who have difficulties with reading traditional printed books.
How to apply for individual arrangements?
In case you need special support and guidance or individual arrangements to study, please contact the University either before your studies begin or before a course starts. If it is a question of a short term/sudden need (e.g. a hand fracture), contact the University as soon as possible after the incident, so that there will be time to make individual study arrangements.
In case the need for individual arrangements is known in advance and you have an expert opinion or a medical certificate concerning the problem, you need them when applying for individual arrangements. Please take them with you when you arrive at the University of Vaasa.
Exchange students should contact the International Education Specialist, incoming.international(at)uwasa.fi.
Special arrangements are applied for with Application form for special arrangements of studies. You can print it from this page or you can go and get it from the International Education Specialist or Study Psychologist. Do not forget to sign!
In the application you define what kind of individual arrangements you need and justify them. Enclose with the application the original expert statements (such as doctor’s, psychologist’s or speech therapist’s or other such like person’s certificate) giving grounds for applying for individual arrangements.
Submit the application and expert statements to the Study Psychologist Ray Ohtonen with whom you can discuss the individual arrangements. Remember to make an appointment with the Study Psychologist in advance!
After the discussion the Study Psychologist presents a recommendation of individual arrangements and sends a copy of the 2nd page of the application to the contact person of your own study programme. If the recommendation is related to centralised examination arrangements, the Assistant in Student Services who is in charge of exam arrangements will also receive the recommendation section of the application.
The Study Psychologist will send you a copy of your application and the recommendation together with the expert statement. The original application is stored for the duration of your study-right at most, unless you request its removal from the archive at an earlier stage.
The validity period is specified in the recommendation. If required, you can apply for individual arrangements again, if e.g. your status changes or your studies continue and you need individual arrangements after the validity period.
Use the recommendation when you discuss individual arrangements with teachers. You can show the teacher only the second page i.e. the actual recommendation. The application is confidential and information on health is classified. Apart from the Study Psychologist, no other member of the University Staff (teachers, contact persons) can see the expert statements attached to your application without your permission.
The purpose of individual arrangements is to safeguard your opportunity to learn and demonstrate your knowledge. It is, however, important to realise that the teacher evaluates and defines the implementation of individual arrangements on the basis of the objectives of the course. Individual arrangements must not prevent achieving the learning objectives of the course.
Print here the Application form for individual arrangements of studies:
Individual arrangements in examinations
It is possible that a student taking an exam may need individual arrangements. Arrangements can be e.g. extended time, separate place, auxiliary equipment or a bigger font of the examination questions.
Exchange students should contact the International Education Specialist; incoming.international(at)univaasa.fi
In case you need individual arrangements in an exam, contact or the Study Psychologist Ray Ohtonen well in advance before the first examination or if the need in question is of short duration/sudden (e.g. broken arm), as quickly as possible after the need has occurred.
Fill in the Application for Special Arrangements of Studies form where you explain what kind of individual arrangements you need and attach to your application an expert statement that proves the need for individual arrangements.
The Study Psychologist processes the application and makes the decision of individual arrangements, in which case the exam is usually arranged in a separate room. The Study Psychologist forwards the recommendation on individual arrangements to you together with the statement from the expert.
For more specific instructions see How to apply for individual arrangements?
In case the need for individual arrangements is of short duration or sudden and only applies to exams on official exam dates (e.g. a need to use a computer to take an exam because of a broken arm) it is sufficient that you contact the Assistant in Education Services (tentit(at)uwasa.fi) who is in charge of exam arrangements.
Examination taken in a separate space
Students needing individual arrangements to take an examination can do it in a place that is available for all University of Vaasa students who need individual arrangements.
The room that is usually used in such cases is the EXAM room F222 and room F220 in Fabriikki, where there is recordable camera surveillance. Before the first exam of this kind, the student has to sign an permission for the recording of the examination occasion.
If you need individual arrangements in the examination, you must always remember to register both in Peppi and contact the Assistant in Education Services who is in charge of exam arrangements (tentit(at)uwasa.fi).
Contact persons for accessible studying
The Contact Persons for accessible study at the University of Vaasa
When you need information concerning accessibility, contact persons whose addresses are below:
- Master’s Programme in Strategic Business Development, Master’s Degree Programme in International Business
Amanuensis Elina Alho
tel. +358 294 498 604
- Master’s Degree Programme in Finance, Master’s Programme in Industrial Management
Amanuensis Mia Kujanhaara
tel. +358 29449 8640
- Master’s Programme in Communications and Systems Engineering, Master's Programme in Industrial Digitalisation, Master’s Programme in Intercultural Management and Communication, Master's Programme in Industrial Systems Analytics, Master's Programme in Smart Energy
Amanuensis Anniina Saksa
tel. +358 29 449 8728
Contact person for exchange students
International Education Specialist
Contact person for special study arrangements
Study Psychologist Ray Ohtonen
tel. 029 449 8407
Contact person for special arrangements in the entrance exam
Admission specialist Miisa Aho
tel. 029 449 8005
Web sites for Prospective students
Contact person for Tritonia Academic Library
Information services advisor Vesa Perkiömäki
tel. 029 449 8243
Accessibility at Tritonia
Contact person of the Student Union
Specialist in Students Interests Elli Uusi-Kokko
VYY Service Office, the Student Union house Domus Bothnica
tel. 044 324 8961
The Student Union of the University of Vaasa
Ombudsman for people with impairments and disabilities in Vaasa
tel. 0400 956 221
City of Vaasa
Different areas of accessibility
It is important that the study and teaching arrangements have been organised so that also the diversity of learners and students with different disabilities get the support they need.
In addition to removing the physical barriers that impede movement, it is important that in teaching and supervision e.g. dyslexia and other learning difficulties as well as other individual needs are taken into consideration. Educational material, too, has to be applicable for as wide a range of students as possible.
Important factors affecting accessibility are for example
- Student selection and the practical arrangements of entrance examinations (e.g. different forms of access to information, premises, facilities, form of exam questions)
- Organisation and practical arrangement of teaching and study (organisation of teaching and methods used, study material, auxiliary equipment, assistance and online services)
- Examination arrangements (such as registration, form of questions, organisation of the actual examination)
- Teacher action (e.g. voice control, presentation of the teaching material).
Premises and the physical environment
Premises have a central role in obtaining accessibility because accessible environment is basically suitable for everyone. Accessibility is also a safety issue.
Accessibility has to be taken into account when e.g. following arrangements are planned:
- Paths of travel (such as entrances, doors, thresholds, stairs and elevators)
- Listening conditions (such as acoustics, sound transmission systems)
- Signs (e.g. size, height, clarity)
- Floor and wall materials (e.g. slippery floors)
- Colours and contrasts
- Toilet facilities (e.g. security alarm)
- Parking spaces (e.g. sufficient lighting in the area).
Accessibility has to be a natural part of communication at the University. Attention has to be paid to the availability of information, especially in connection with network services and printed communication.
Accessibility should also be taken into account when availability of communication and communication methods are considered (especially the technical solutions of network services).
Links to accessible study and the norms, services and support pages
On this page there are links to accessible study and the norms, services and support pages related to it as well as to organisations and other material.
Laws and decrees
- The Constitution of Finland (11.6.1999/731)
Polices of the University of Vaasa
In support of learning and study
- Kynnys ry - the Threshold Association
- Federation of Hard of Hearing
- The Finnish Association of People with Physical Disabilities
- The National Council on Disability VANE
- Inclusion Finland FDUV