Universities need clear distribution of work and good collaboration
A functional university democracy, a healthy university community and first-class management are required in order to maintain high-level scientific research and teaching at universities. To meet these requirements, universities shall develop the so-called collegium model, which refers to distribution of work and collaboration between the multi-member administrative body representing the university community and the board.
Distinct distribution of work and good collaboration are highlighted as key factors in the report drawn up by Professor Jari Stenvall for the Finnish Union of University Professors, entitled “Towards well-managed, communal universities and university democracy – universities’ rules of procedure, management and democracy in Finland from the point of view of active professors” (”Kohti hyvin johdettuja, yhteisöllisiä yliopistoja ja yliopistodemokratiaa – yliopistojen johtosäännöt, johtaminen ja demokratia Suomessa professoriaktiivien näkökulmasta”).
“The collegium model proposed by Stenvall would clarify the management in universities and promote a sense of community. Also, the evaluation of the operations of boards and rectors should be developed in universities. This would allow the top management of universities to function effectively, supported by the university community and for the benefit of scientific research”, emphasises Jukka Heikkilä, Chair of the Finnish Union of University Professors.
Successful universities are autonomous everywhere in the world. In Finland, the autonomy or self-government of universities is guaranteed by the Constitution of Finland. Self-government refers to freedom of research and higher education as well as to the fact that the power of decision at universities lies in the hands of the university community itself.
The nature of the organisational and management culture, created by the rule of procedure of universities, is of key importance for the autonomy of universities. Stenvall's report shows that the Universities Act has not achieved its original goals with regard to management and university democracy.
“The Universities Act must be changed to state that a multi-member administrative body representing the university community shall approve certain aspects of the university rules of procedure. Furthermore, approval of the university strategy, the budget as well as the operative and financial plans should be added to the duties of the administrative body ”, Heikkilä points out.
The multi-member administrative body representing the university community is called by different names in different universities – Collegium, Consistory or Academic Affairs Committee.
Professor Jari Stenvall’s report “Towards well-managed, communal universities and university democracy – universities’ rules of procedure, management and democracy in Finland from the point of view of active professors” (in Finnish)
Conclusions of the Finnish Union of University Professors regarding Jari Stenvall’s report (in Finnish)