This article is part of the series “Introducing Board 2020”. Here other articles of the series:
1. Communications, corporate relations and worklife
2. Higher education politics
3. Social politics, vice chairman, well-being and sports
4. Associations and events
5. Municipal affairs, offsite campuses Lahti & FITech and international affairs
6. Culture and tutoring
7. Chair of the board
I am Iita and I am responsible of higher education politics in the LTKY board. I am currently studying chemical engineering for the fifth year, so I applied to the board in my 4th year. I worked for many years at the Chemical Engineering Guild (e.g. chairman) before applying for a job, but that is no requirement when applying for these jobs. First, I applied to different job, which would have been more strongly related to the things I had done before. However, I am pleased that I ended up taking care of education politicd, because I have learned now much more. So, it is worth to apply, even if you do not know much about these jobs, by doing you will learn.
What do I do then?
My responsibilities on the board are to handle matters related to studies and to monitor the interests of studies. I work a lot with our advocacy expert Tiia, who has been an invaluable sparring friend when it comes to advocacy. Every month, we see a advocacy committee and HallOpEds discussing current issues. In addition, we meet the Vice Rector for Education at LUT, the Head of Study Services and the Quality Manager, and if necessary, for example, information management, degree program managers. So we keep ourselves aware of what’s going on on campus and bring out the voice of students in decision-making.
I also participate in SYL’s lives where are also other students working with education policies. This year, an annual teaching quality survey, and a new corona survey were conducted to find out how the transition to distance learning affected students. Comprehensive data is important when doing impact work, as it can be used to substantiate claims more convincingly. We have also closely monitored of Sisu taking to use.
This year, the rapid transition to distance learning had a big impact on spring jobs. As everything changed, it was important to pay attention to the fact that rapid change would have the least possible impact on the quality of studies. Work is, on the one hand, very dependent on the things around, but on the other hand, long-term advocacy work. So, this is quite varied job.
Personally, I had not worked with advocacy affairs before this year, and I was a bit scared at first. Can I do anything? However, good familiarization, and enthusiasm to drive student affairs were enough. Over the years, many previously unknown themes have become familiar and a huge amount of experience has been gained. For example, advocacy and political decision-making are now much more familiar topics.
Of course, a year in the board is also anything but a mere education policy. While networking has been more challenging this year, it has been really rewarding to get a peek at the operation of other student unions as well. Here in Lappeenranta we live in some kind of engineering and economics students bubble, which for my part I have been able to break this year. My own understanding of the scope and diversity of the university field has grown enormously.
I encourage everyone interested to apply!
The author is LTKY’s board membr responsible of higher education politics.