Investing in the development of teaching
Kohonen commends the university for investing in the development of teaching and pedagogy in this way. On an individual level, however, the development of teaching is still largely done outside working hours, because there simply isn’t enough time during the day.
“That’s not how it should be. From the part of the university, it would be important to demonstrate the importance and relevance of the development of teaching by actually allocating time and resources for it. I wrote a piece about this topic in the Times Higher Education Campus, too.”
Kohonen says that the importance of the teaching profession and its development cannot be overemphasised.
“After all, we are a university where people not only do research, but also actually teach.”
Research will later also be integrated into the Facilitators’ work and its outcomes. Little by little, the Facilitators’ job descriptions have also been slightly reformulated according to their own interests.
“However, keeping the dialogue with teachers and researchers going, and providing and seeking various forms of support, continue to be at the core of our work.”
Stronger sense of community
In her “actual” work as a Lecturer of Academic and Legal English, Kohonen wants to make sure that no one at the university feels left out or isolated because of language.
“We have a good language policy and a comprehensive selection of supporting services available in two languages, but we still need to strengthen our sense of community in English. A sense of community cannot be forced; instead, the will to achieve a truly inclusive university starts from the individual, from each of us taking responsibility for promoting it.”
Thanks to working as a Facilitator, Kohonen says she now understands the multitude of wonderful people working at the university.
“I dream of having better opportunities for getting to know people and collaborating with them. This would, quite naturally, promote a sense of unity and accessibility.”
Designing one’s own work is important
Kohonen says that each day working as a Facilitator is different, and she finds it great to be doing a job the team have been able to design to meet existing needs. The duties have been formulated on the basis of long discussions and analyses.
“I would like for everyone at the university to feel heard and seen in their work. That’s also important for everyone's mental health – especially in times like these, when some of the work is done remotely and alone.”
Kohonen also appreciates the fact that flexible multi-location work is possible at the University of Eastern Finland, meaning that people can choose their physical place of work according to their duties.
“And the locations of our campuses are just fantastic! We tend to take the nature, forests and opportunities for outdoor activities around us for granted, although what we have is something truly different and valuable in the world, something we could be prouder for.”
Susanna Kohonen is one of the five Facilitators working at the University of Eastern Finland. She is also a University Lecturer. There are 244 University Lecturers at UEF. (Situation September 2022)