In English

“Of course I wanted to participate” – The new Rector of the University of Tampere is Liisa Laakso

Text: Aino Heikkonen
Translation: Camilla Kiviaho

The new rector of the University of Tampere will be Professor Liisa Laakso. She was elected to the post by the University Board in its meeting on Monday, 26 October.

Laakso comes to the University of Tampere from the University of Helsinki, leaving behind the post of Dean of the Faculty of Social Sciences.

“I am excited and motivated, but also a bit nervous. This is a big challenge. It is nice to get engaged in such development activities that seem to be heading in a promising direction”, Laakso describes her feelings after the announcement of the election results.

Besides Laakso, other candidates who made it to the last stages of the recruitment process were Vice Rector of the University of Tampere Harri Melin and the former Rector of Åbo Akademi University Jorma Mattinen. According to the press release of the University of Tampere, Laakso was considered the strongest candidate on the basis of her research and international merits. Laakso has researched, among other topics, the democratization of Africa and the Middle East.

Laakso joined the recruitment race through headhunting. The personal invitation in the summer took her by surprise; according to Laakso, she would not have applied for the position had she not been asked to apply.

“After considering it, of course I wanted to participate.”

Laakso welcomes the Tampere3 cooperation project between the University of Tampere, Tampere University of Technology and Tampere University of Applied Sciences. In her opinion, Finland educates too much.

“Cramming for the entrance exams in the spring or completing multiple degrees is not worthwhile for students, teachers or the University. We really should streamline the degree programmes and develop them in a direction that allows students to enter working life right after completing their Bachelor’s degree, at least within some disciplines.”

Laakso will start as rector in the beginning of January 2016, following Kaija Holli who has lead the University since 2009.

Laakso predicts that she will partly begin to work already before the end of the year. According to the Regulations of the University of Tampere, the University Board appoints vice rectors on the basis of the Rector’s proposal.

“I’ll have to see that the new rectorate appropriately represents the entire University, but I have not yet fully thought about what kind of an application process should be organized.”

Liisa Laakso. Photo: Jonne Renvall.


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