1.2 The implementation of education

The most central University-level regulation for the implementation of education is the University of Turku Regulation on Studies.

Student selection

In 2022, UTU was the most popular Finnish university in the number of applicants applying to the programmes taught in Finnish.

On both national and University-level, there are common admission criteria that are followed at UTU. The most of the field-specific admission criteria are planned in national co-operation with other universities (joint admissions). The admission criteria are approved by the faculties and they are published on the national Studyinfo portal. The student selection decisions are based on the admission criteria and they are appealable. A Rector’s decision defines the ways of proving language skills in the student selection processes in all three cycles.

Doctoral training can be accessed through the doctoral programmes. The decisions on granting the right to pursue a doctoral degree at UTU are made by the faculties based on the DP’s proposals. There are two annual calls for applications for the right to pursue a doctoral degree.

The recognition of prior learning is carefully taken in account and steered by Vice Rector’s Guideline for RPL at UTU.

Wide range of teaching methods and student-centred learning

All teaching and learning in UTU is based on ethical guidelines.

In the Vice Rector’s curriculum guideline, in the UTU pedagogical studies provided by UTUPeda unit, and in staff training courses, teachers are asked to pay attention to constructively aligned planning and implementation of education.

In UTU’s pedagogical studies, teachers are advised to use a wide range of teaching methods. UTU’s learning environments (digital and traditional) and teaching aim at enhancing students’ self-regulated and active role in their learning process. The used teaching methods, learning platforms, and course assignments are planned to activate their agency in order to develop their expertise. The feedback from the students proof how effective the used methods have been for teaching and learning and how the learning outcomes have been achieved.

The feedback that the students get from their studies is vital for high-quality learning. In continuing assessment, the teacher gives feedback to the student on smaller learning tasks during the course. If the teacher is using traditional assessment, i.e. e-exams at the end of the course, the feedback is given to the students by assessing the e-exam on a numerical scale (0-5). Students can also get feedback from their fellow students.

The student dashboard in the PEPPI study system provides information on the progress of studies in relation to the student’s personal study plan. On the e-exam platform, the teachers can easily give qualitative feedback in addition to a numeric grade.

Connection to working life is one of the key areas in the implementation of education. The faculties have several ways of integrating working life into studies: internships, excursions, project works, participation in mentoring, working-life-oriented and practical courses in the curricula, visiting lecturers, and professors of practice. In doctoral training, one of UTUGS’s unique features is the extensive comprehensive transferable skills training available for all doctoral researchers.

As one of the few Finnish universities, UTU grants all degree students an internship subsidy once during their studies. Students can also apply for grants for internship periods abroad.

The Career Services coordinates the internship programme. CS also gives all students and doctoral researchers an equal and cross-disciplinary opportunity to identify and increase working life relevance, e.g., by obtaining and transmitting up-to-date information through career coaching and CS’s work-life connections.

Flexible study paths and good possibilities for mobility

Most degree structures enable flexible study paths and possibilities for mobility for students. The students can include studies from other faculties or HEIs in their degree programme. There are also interdisciplinary study modules within UTU. During 2023, UTU will integrate the national cross-institutional service into its operations, which will enable the students to choose courses from another HEIs in Finland even more flexibly.

UTU has a wide range of student exchange agreements with HEIs around the world. Each year, approximately 500 UTU students spend a semester or an academic year abroad at the partner universities, and an equivalent number of students arrive from those universities to Turku. All UTU students accepted to an outgoing exchange programme receive a grant. UTU is a member of the EC2U Alliance. The co-operation produces synergy benefits for education, research and innovation.

High quality guidance to study paths

The system and goals of student guidance at different stages of studies are described in the Rector’s decision. At the beginning of studies, students’ engagement in university studies and the academic community are supported by peer support (student tutors) and academic support (teacher tutors). Furthermore, study advisors in each faculty provide an orientation programme for new students. All students have a study planning advisor who supports the study planning process with individual and/or group guidance sessions. During the studies, the teacher tutors, study advisors, career counsellors, study psychologists, and some of the planning officers provide individual and/or group guidance for students according to their needs. UTU also offers optional courses to promote study and career planning skills.

To intervene in the termination of studies, UTU offers the student individual counselling or peer support. UTU has also implemented a motivation profile tool to support students who struggle with motivation. Some of the degree programmes use their students’ study data to follow the progress of studies and to provide support for those who seem to drop from the normal study pace.

Every student and staff member have the right to a good and balanced study and work environment. The well-being of students and personnel stems from balanced, inspiring, and functional everyday life in the UTU community. There is a special early support model for situations where there is a concern about a student or conflict in the student community as well as situations where students notice inappropriate behaviour or face other difficulties (see chapter 3.2).

Examples of individual or work community problems that disturb working. Student’s early support situations. Learning difficulties, e.g. problems with motivation, dyslexia or neuropsychiatric disorders. Matters related to legal protection. Changes in behavior, e.g. constant fatigue, isolation. Experiences of bullying or harassment. Declining learning results. Declining commitment to rules. Suspected substance abuse problem. Study community’s early support situations. Problems in the interaction between a student and a teacher or a supervisor. Community divides into quarrelling groups. Discussions between parties ends or isolation. Teacher’s or other personnel’s might also need early support. The early support model for personnel is presented in figure 23.  Every member of the study community has the responsibility to identify a problem and initiate discussion, together with others if necessary. Responsible persons include academic tutors, teacher tutors, responsible teachers for the academic subject, the Head of Academic and Student Affairs, student advisors, the Head of Department, the Dean and Vice-dean responsible for education. Other parties that initiate discussion are the student Union, student organisations, the Finnish Student Health Service and third sector organisations. Different actors, instructions and processes support the responsible persons. The actors include early support contact persons, Educational Affairs, including matters related to legal protection and career guidance, the study psychologists, the Accessibility Planning Officer, the Security Manager, the contact person for substance abuse issues, experts at the Finnish Student Health Service, experts at the Student Union and University Chaplains. The supporting instructions and processes include the University Regulation on Studies, ethical instructions for learning, rector's decision on student guidance, opportunity for special arrangements during studies, safety instruction and Substance Abuse Prevention Policy for Students.

In doctoral training, supervision plays a crucial role. The Rector’s decision defines the guidelines of supervision of doctoral researchers at UTU. In 2017, UTUGS introduced an annual career and review discussion model which gives every doctoral researcher an opportunity to discuss their career goals with the supervisor and/or with the career counsellor.

Strengths. The student admission system is strictly based on national legislation and university regulation. There are various guidance services to support students at different stages of their studies. UTUGS annual career and review discussion model. Enhancement areas. Feedback to students on their studies. Despite of good guidance and support services, there is still need to develop these activities. In particular, the guidance of the international master’s degree students requires development.