Election Programme of Volli Kalm
Joint work of the academic community of the University of Tartu and goal-oriented management decisions have contributed to the fruitful development of the University and created a basis for innovative progress
Volli Kalm: Development Vision of the University, March 2017
Dedicated work has made us one of the best universities in Central and Eastern Europe. Our joint achievements are:
• rapidly growing contribution of the University to the solution of Estonian and global challenges, made possible by the praiseworthy efforts of the University staff. International assessment of our work was also expressed in the excellent results of institutional accreditation of the University (2015) and cooperation invitations from leading European universities;
• contribution of the University to the Estonian society by addressing the research, educational, economic and social policies, and primarily by provision of goal-oriented higher education of top quality;
• development of the University as an academic organisation that carries and defends joint values, learns from our own and others’ errors, supports cooperation between specialities and values fruitful work;
• concentration of teaching and studies on the needs of the society and learners, increase in interdisciplinarity and internationalisation, orientation of the teaching staff to support learners’ development and students’ responsibility for their studies.
With our effective work, we have created a firm basis for further sustainable development:
• we fulfilled most of the objectives set in the vision document for Rector’s election in 2012, which continued to be relevant in the following years;
• we drafted and implemented the new development plan (2020) and its annual action plans;
• we agreed on the focal areas of research, development and innovation, and principles for creation of laboratories in joint use;
• we implemented management and structural reforms, implemented a system of performance-based agreements and financing, and created corresponding development funds, incorporated deans in the Rector’s Office, and transferred the major part of educational, research, development and innovation, personnel and fiscal policy decisions to the level of faculties;
• we developed a cooperative attitude that considers the developmental needs of all the units, and constructive goal-oriented management by the deans and Rector’s Office on the basis of rapid exchange of information;
• we compiled a development plan for implementation of the ASTRA programme and received the biggest financial support among universities (42.4 million euros);
• we developed curricula and agreed on financial support for traineeship, interdisciplinary and entrepreneurial studies, and increased the share of curricula taught in English (from 12 to 22);
• we developed organisational culture, agreed on good academic practice and principles of equal treatment, involved significantly more alumni in the life of the University and supported cooperation between structural units and joint activities of the staff;
• in international cooperation, we concentrated on leading European universities: in 2016, we became a member of the Guild of European Research-Intensive Universities and joined the partner universities of the League of European Research Universities (CE7). We decided to apply for the sign of an international enterprising university and to order an external assessment of the socio-economic influence of the University.
In the following years, the members of the University community work together to be:
• the best university in Central and Eastern Europe, an international university oriented to global and Estonian challenges, equally valuing and developing top-level research and education;
• an appreciated cooperation partner among leading European universities and a representative of our region in their international networks;
• the most appreciated choice for the best Estonian secondary school graduates and the most prestigious workplace among Estonian universities and research institutions;
• the central developer and protector of the Estonian national language and culture; the national university where tuition is in Estonian in all groups of curricula, textbooks are published in Estonian, and language technologies and digital humanities are developed;
• the largest research and development institution in Estonia which recognises the distinctive features of research areas, and where more than half of Estonian research results are created even now;
• the largest development partner of businesses and the public sector in the Baltic countries and provider of the regional innovation support system for Estonia;
• the main partner in shaping of Estonia’s development visions, in discussions on the sore spots of the society, in legislative drafting, shaping of research, educational and social policies, in launching of socio-economic studies.
The achievement of these objectives is based on the common understanding that:
• the underlying idea of the University is to develop Estonian life;
• the University functions in supportive cooperation between academic and support units; we are united by common academic principal values and confidence that everyone is noticed and everyone’s contribution is appreciated;
• students deserve teaching that considers their future needs; the teaching staff deserves students who are dedicated to their studies;
• for functioning as a cooperative, open and responsible academic community, everyone should develop the skills necessary for their work to be spiritual leaders of the Estonian society and to develop these qualities in their students;
• inclusive management oriented to common objectives and stable budgeting principles create confidence for developing a work collective with stable jobs and top-level results.
Involving the academic community of the University, I as Rector will work to achieve the following objectives:
• we will develop and implement a new, flexible model of academic career, which equally values teaching and research and other services to the society, simplifies young people’s entry into academic life, supports confidence in the staff and facilitates promotion to higher academic positions;
• we will introduce a salary policy related to the career model, which rewards successful academic work with a motivating rise in salary, ensures stable financing, supports the transition of leading academic positions at retirement age and dignified retirement;
• during the nominal period of studies, we will raise the monthly income of doctoral students who are fully engaged in their doctoral studies to the average salary of Estonia;
• we will decrease project-based financing and revise the principles of using the development fund of the University, we will use the resources of baseline funding to increase the stable financing of academic units and positions;
• we will continue renewal of curricula with the emphasis on quality and modern concepts of learning, increase learners’ responsibility and freedom of choice, and broaden the availability of part-time studies;
• we will worthily celebrate the centenary of the national university and Estonian-language university education; we will ensure the predominance of the Estonian language in all groups of curricula by fixing the optimum level of internationalisation (20–25% of foreign students, foreign staff and curricula in foreign languages);
• we will ensure support and counselling to all members of the University community in achievement of their aims and solving their problems, learn from the experience of cases of dishonourable or unequal treatment, and make good academic practice and principles of equal treatment an inseparable part of the duty regulations of the staff;
• we will devise and implement the fundamental module of university studies that includes training in learning and expression skills, management and entrepreneurship;
• we will involve entrepreneurs in the development and conduct of entrepreneurial studies;
• we will support high-level research, use the academic capacities of leading partner universities (Guild, LERU) for training of our leaders and staff, and for launching joint research and study projects;
• we will appreciate the contribution of support units to the functioning of the University, develop technological support services assisting the University in its main functions (Study Information System 2, electronic elections and invoices. DHIS, the entrepreneurship cooperation platform ADAPTER, etc.) and enhance support services targeted at research using them for selecting research projects, applying for financing and management of projects, we will strive for better communication services;
• to increase the social influence of the University and to make the state’s decision-making processes more knowledge-based, we will arrange regular thematic (Rector’s) seminars and University development days targeted at solving problems essential for Estonia;
• we will draft and implement an environment programme for the University, applying environment-friendly and smart technical solutions for developing an inspiring work environment.
Vivat, Crescat, Floreat, Universitas Tartuensis!