Marja Sutela (PhD) (born 1967) is an expert in higher education administration and management and related legal questions. Her speciality is educational leadership and change management in higher education institutions. Combined with a strong academic background, she has more than 20 years of experience in pedagogical leadership and in the planning and implementation of new practices and organisational reforms. This includes two large mergers of higher education institutions since 2010.
Ms. Sutela has held several higher education positions since the beginning of 1990s, including Researcher, Associate Professor and Professor of Administrative Law at the Universities of Lapland, Tampere, and Joensuu (present-day University of Eastern Finland). In 2005, she took up the position of Director of Degree Education at Tampere University of Applied Sciences. When the Universities of Applied Sciences of Pirkanmaa and Tampere merged in 2010, Ms. Sutela was appointed as Vice President of the new Tampere University of Applied Sciences with degree education as her area of responsibility.
Currently, Ms. Sutela is Vice President for Education at Tampere University, a new multidisciplinary foundation-based University established through the merger of Tampere University of Technology and the University of Tampere at the beginning of 2019. As Vice President, she is responsible for pedagogical leadership, including curriculum development and redesigning at Tampere University as well as leadership of the newly-organized support services for education and learning, and continuous education services.
Ms. Sutela is Doctor of Administrative Sciences in the field of Public Law. Her doctoral thesis from the University of Joensuu in 2000 was a comparative legal study of municipal referenda in four European countries. During her postgraduate studies, Ms. Sutela carried out research at the University of Kiel, Germany, and the University of Fribourg, Switzerland. Ms. Sutela holds the position of Docent of Public Law at the universities of Vaasa and Eastern Finland.
TAMKO Students’ Union of Tampere University of Applied Sciences nominated Ms. Sutela as the Staff Member of the Year in 2011. In 2020, she was granted the First Class of the Order of the White Rose of Finland (FWR K I) for her services to society.
Ms. Sutela has excellent theoretical and practical experience in higher education administration and management with a special expertise on legal issues. She has written several scientific papers on the topic as well as completed additional specialist management qualifications. In 2015, she was a member of an international research group which studied issues related to higher education mergers in the Nordic Countries.
The Finnish government has appointed her a member of the National Study Grant Advisory Board for 2015–2021 and of the National Higher Education Students’ Health Care Advisory Board in 2021–2024. In autumn 2022 Ms. Sutela acted as a Member of the Strategy Group for Continuous Education in Higher Education for Ministry of Education and Culture.
Ms. Sutela most important international positions of trust include the following positions. Since February 2020, she has been a member of the Learning & Teaching Steering Committee of the European University Association (EUA). Since May 2021 she has been a Member of the Vice President for Education Group, ECIU University – The European Consortium of Innovative Universities.
Recently, Sutela has expanded her expertise in quality management in higher education and has been invited to join several university quality audit teams. In autumn 2022 she acted as a Panel Member of the Institutional Quality Audit Review of Ghent University organized by Accreditation Organisation of the Netherlands and Flanders (NVAO).
In spring 2023 Sutela was Member of the Quality Audit Peer Review Group of Dublin City University and in autumn 2023 she will act as Chair of the Audit Team of the University of Ljubljana organized by Finnish Education Evaluation Centre (FINEEC).