An odd year – people as a resource

An odd year. That was the year of Vaasa University of Applied Sciences in 2022. It was similar in many other organizations as well. In the middle of the complex world situation, our focus has been in the theme year of pedagogical development, sustainable growth and building a human-sized management culture.

At the beginning of 2022, our campus was closed due to the Covid-19 pandemic under the national guidance of the Ministry of Education and Culture. I always remember the day the campus opened again. That day was March 8, 2022. However, before that date, there was another day that I will never forget. It was February 24, 2022. The day Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine began. In the midst of all this, it has become more and more relevant and true that education builds a better tomorrow. Education is always on the side of hope.

The highlight of the year is the pedagogical theme year

From the perspective of development, the year 2022 was a theme year for pedagogical development. As a result, we created together the pedagogical development program. A program you can be proud of. Now we are making our program a reality and it lives in time. For example, we have taken a curious, enthusiastic attitude towards artificial intelligence. A special reason to be proud is that our pedagogical program begins with the themes of openness and accessibility. In 2022, we completed our accessibility plan, which is meaningful to follow in everyday life. For us, accessibility isn’t words, it’s actions. And choices according to our values.

As another concrete act, I would like to highlight the launch of the Vaasa University of Applied Sciences’ Master School. While the development work is still ongoing, we can state based on national student feedback that we are the second best university of applied sciences offering Master’s level degrees!

On the way to sustainable growth

Universities of applied sciences are governed by a funding model where various issues are examined quantitatively. A monetary value has been defined for these indicators. The whole community has been unbelievably happy with our 2022 result. The increase in functional indicator results was significantly the largest of all Finnish universities of applied sciences. As a whole, our result increased by 12%, the economic value of which is approximately two million euros for the years 2024–2026. The funding consists of the three-year average of the previous years, i.e. our funding will be calculated in 2024 based on the years 2020, 2021 and 2022, which is already visible as a significant increase in basic funding due to the excellent year 2022. Operational metric results had started to grow already in the fall of 2020, but a clear growth leap did not occur until 2022. The purposeful work must now continue so that we can benefit from our results also through funding. Maintaining the achieved level requires constant work and renewal.

A big, joint effort by universities of applied sciences was to waive internship fees for students of Health Care and Social Services. This showed the ability of universities of applied sciences to move things forward together, and with a broad front of influence. It has a great symbolic meaning for our students as well. After all, the practice had only been used in the sector of Health Care and Social Services.

Human-sized leadership culture

Writing and compiling the annual report is an important moment for the organization. In the midst of continuous development and improvement, it is important to stop. Look back. To admire the things people have achieved. Learn from things that didn’t go as planned and at the same time create an eye for the future. In autumn 2023, we will start a joint strategy process with our staff, students and stakeholders. Expectations are high for it. We want to be building a truly bold and pioneering strategy. A year from now, we will know where we are headed.

Although the year 2022 was strange, it was particularly successful for Vaasa University of Applied Sciences. Even in the middle of strangeness, a strong, shared and jointly understood strategy and a human-sized management culture carry.

Thank you to our owners; City of Vaasa, University of Vaasa and Ostrobothnia Chamber of Commerce. Your support is palpable every day. Together, we are building a sustainable future from which the whole of Ostrobothnia will benefit, for example through the availability of a skilled workforce.

Thank you to our people. You have been very brave. You have set out to try new things, taken steps in new directions, and thus your own job description may have changed in a new direction after years. Our greatest asset is our people. It is good to make and live our strategy with you. To be the most important partner in expertise.

Kati Komulainen

CEO, President