Jussi Halttunen, rector of JAMK University of Applied Sciences

New-generation institute of higher education

"The core vision of JAMK’s strategy is to become a new-generation institute of higher education by the year 2020. It is clear that this form will differ dramatically from the JAMK of today."

The core vision of JAMK’s strategy is to become a new-generation institute of higher education by the year 2020. It is clear that this form will differ dramatically from the JAMK of today. By that point, nearly one hundred of the current staff will have retired or will be about to retire, including myself.  The new people recruited to fill in the gaps will directly represent a new generation with their ideas and networks.

I also firmly believe that, by 2020, learning through digital means will have increased significantly. In this context, I am not exclusively referring to traditional online learning, but also to hybrid teaching solutions that enable efficient learning, regardless of the time and place. Classroom and contact education will naturally still be required, and online resources alone cannot provide solutions to all the learning challenges of the new generation. 

Changes in academic education are necessary, as the optimal way for young age groups to absorb new information may not be from the monologues of a teacher standing at the classroom lectern. Various advanced forms of contact education are required, based on learner-oriented interaction and strong dialogue between students. The need for different forms of student guidance will also increase. The most important thing is to understand that learning can take place in many ways and in many situations. A young person’s cognitive schemata are more likely to become appropriately attuned when the learning situation and environment feel appealing and pleasant.

JAMK has recognised a clear need for new forms of learning, as well as related products and year-round studies. The market demand for various adult education products seems to be increasing substantially, as evidenced by the open university path studies, academic diplomas, specialised studies and retraining studies, all of which are shorter and more intensive than traditional degree studies. These new forms will enable us to respond faster to competence-related demands imposed by the labour market. In addition to this, applicant numbers are growing rapidly for part-time implementations of degree studies.  Tapio Kosunen, Director General at the Ministry of Education and Culture, gave us encouraging feedback on our new innovative learning products and investments in adult education in the target negotiations of last autumn. JAMK has been regarded as a national pioneer, especially in the development of adult education.

The new-generation institute of higher education will also require a learning infrastructure and services that support and promote the implementation of new pedagogic arrangements. Under the agreement with the Ministry of Education and Culture, JAMK is committed to implementing a comprehensive training programme on digital pedagogy for the entire staff by the year 2020. For this purpose, we have received a significant strategic allocation from the Ministry for the period from 2017 to 2020. In addition to this, the Ministry granted JAMK €3 million in project funding for the implementation of the national eAMK (electronic university of applied sciences) project. The development project is coordinated by JAMK and involves Turku University of Applied Sciences and Häme University of Applied Sciences as key development partners.  Among other benefits, the implementation of this project will also promote the development of the new-generation institute of higher education at JAMK.

I would like to encourage you all to join in with the efforts to build an institution of higher education for the new generation!