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Good teachers awarded at Tampere University

Published on 22.9.2020
Tampere University
Kirsi Granberg, Hasse Nylund and Maiju Paananen
Teacher of the year -awards were given to Kirsi Granberg, Hasse Nylund and Maiju Paananen.
On 23 September, the Student Union of Tampere University (TREY) presented the annual Teacher of the Year awards to three teachers.

The prize of €2,000 was awarded to University Instructor Hasse Nylund (automation and mechanical engineering, Faculty of Engineering and Natural Sciences), Assistant Professor (tenure track) Maiju Paananen, (early childhood education, Faculty of Education and Culture) and University Lecturer Kirsi Granberg (degree programme in biotechnology, Faculty of Medicine and Health Technology).

Flexibility and interaction skills were praised

The Teacher of the Year award is a joint award of the University of Tampere Foundation, the Industrial Research Fund at Tampere University of Technology and TREY. The award committee set up by TREY selected the winners based on proposals collected from student organisations and individual students. The foundations funded the awards.

The award criteria set by TREY's Executive Board were the diversity of teaching methods and tools, the accessibility of teaching, the motivation of students and interaction in teaching situations. As the special criterion this year, the award committee chose the implementation of distance learning with a supportive, encouraging and considerate attitude to the students.

In the justifications of the award proposals, Hasse Nylund was described as a teacher who uses diverse and flexible teaching methods. He considers the different life situations of students, among other things, by offering alternative methods of completing the study units. Nylund develops his teaching and course arrangements based on the students’ feedback. He is easy to approach, and students have received comprehensive responses to their questions from him. He is also actively involved in supervision and keeps students in the field aware of things that are not otherwise communicated to students. The special criterion for 2020 is clearly reflected in the flexible forms of his teaching, a high level of distance learning and alternative forms of implementation, and the active development of teaching.

In the justifications for awarding Maiju Paananen, accessibility, motivating students and investing in distance learning were particularly important. Students describe Paananen as an interactive lecturer who actively collects feedback and takes it into account in developing her teaching. When the COVID-19 pandemic began last spring, Paananen managed to switch to distance learning without difficulty. Her diverse distance learning methods have enabled more accessible and student-friendly teaching in the courses. According to the justifications, Paananen does not collect student feedback only because it is compulsory but also because she genuinely wants to develop her teaching.

In the award justifications, Kirsi Granberg received praise for her good interaction with students and for teaching methods and course assignments that support the studies well. She is described as a teacher who encourages and actively develops her teaching and takes students into account. The justifications state that Granberg is clearly interested in her field and wants to motivate students to get excited about it and the research conducted in it. When the University switched to remote teaching, Granberg managed to transfer courses to distance learning smoothly without compromising the quality of teaching. She has also actively collected students’ feedback and listened to students ’opinions and wishes on how distance learning should be implemented.

Award winners will be immortalised in caricatures

Before the merger of the universities in Tampere, the teachers of the University of Tampere and Tampere University of Technology were rewarded in slightly different ways. The new university also wants to continue the tradition of rewarding teachers.

“Students appreciate the high quality of teaching at our university and want to be involved in highlighting teachers who provide particularly high-quality teaching. The intention is that this award, implemented in collaboration with the foundations and the student union, will become an annual tradition,” Tiia Virtanen, TREY’s Specialist in Educational Affairs says.

Virtanen says that caricature drawings of the award-winning teachers will also be commissioned. The drawings will be unveiled at TREY’s own celebration later this year and will be hung for display on all campuses of the university.

Caricatures of award-winning teachers at the former Tampere University of Technology have a long tradition, and now that the universities have merged, we decided to continue the popular tradition,” Virtanen adds.

The Teacher of the Year awards were granted on 23 September in an awards ceremony at Tampere University. In the event, doctoral dissertation awards from the City of Tampere’s Research Grants Committee, the University of Tampere Foundation and the Industrial Research Fund at Tampere University of Technology were awarded. In addition, the Influential Publisher and Social Impact awards were also presented.