Contributing to society is the main task and raison d’être of any university – certainly for Arcada! 2019 was a year of vision, of planning what our contribution to society could be and should be, and how to put it into practice.
2019 was quite simply a year of transition – our areas of focus, our way of working and our organisation sought new routes – and by the end of the year we were looking steadily to the future.
The year was a dynamic one. Arcada entered the new decade well-prepared, most importantly by developing a new strategy during the course of 2019. Our new strategy takes its cue from Arcada’s previous choices and strategy, but focuses on new demands in society and global challenges identified as focal points for an urban Swedish-language university in Helsinki. Our entire organisation was involved in the drawing up of our new strategy and the task was completed at the end of the year by Arcada’s management team and board. Here Arcada took farewell of Arne Wessberg, the long-standing chairperson of our board. Through the years, he’s steered Arcada through both difficult changes and happy ones. He saw that the creation of Arcada’s new strategy needed a chairperson who would be living the strategy. Marcus Rantala was the person who took over from Arne. Marcus with his extensive network and his commitment soon found his place and his way of working with the board in order to finalise Arcada’s future strategy. The final version of the strategy was determined in January 2020.
Two important ventures were instigated in 2019; both will in the long run be made possible by Arcada’s successful fundraising campaign Tomorrow’s Heroes. The newly-established position as director of academic partnerships will strengthen Nordic cooperation among universities while furthering Arcada’s cooperation with external university partners. The establishment of this position stems from two of the strategic focuses Arcada has chosen. Firstly, we aim to be a bridge between Finland and the other Nordic countries; secondly, we see cooperation between universities as a means of creating a breadth in competencies that we, as a small university, can’t achieve on our own.
The second venture has to do with digital development, in particular digital pedagogics. Arcada’s teaching staff were supported in developing their digital competency and their digital toolboxes with the help of our I-factory and the new courses and tools that Arcada had to offer. In 2019 we became much better prepared for distance work, with a view to furthering sustainability, reducing travel that burdens the environment and being able to interact better with others. Little did we know how valuable this would very shortly become.
Our school can also pride itself on having achieved several visible successes in 2019. On 27 March our state-of-the art Arcada Hall, built above five stories of student flats, was inaugurated with all due ceremony. Arcada’s own sports education department and quite a few sports associations didn’t hesitate to immediately put it to good use.
Rector Mona Forsskåhl handing out congratulation letters during the graduation ceremony.
We can report even more success stories regarding education. Arcada can pride itself on being first in Finland to introduce an osteoporosis specialisation programme in nursing. Furthermore, the new ground-breaking IT Master’s degree programme, Big Data Analytics, saw its first experts graduate. Two new degree programmes developed in 2019 will start up in 2020: a bilingual nursing programme and a Master’s degree leadership programme with a Nordic focus.
As a Swedish-language university in the capital city, Arcada is one of the many and important threads in the network that makes it possible to live a rich and satisfactory life in Swedish in Finland. In this capacity, Arcada was involved in an active dialogue with many different aspects of society: in a Nordic conference on PROFESSIONS education, as a newly-flagged Pride school, being an active part of the SuomiAreena and seeing rector chosen as new chairperson for Samordningsdelegationen för den svenskspråkiga högskoleutbildningen i Finland, an organisation coordinating Swedish-language university education in Finland. All these involvements are part of our so-called third mission - to continuously interact with the rest of society. And beyond these involvements, Arcada’s contacts are fortunately broad, active and alive, and there’s ample proof at Arcada of the will and the capability to work at strengthening these contacts.
Looking to our operating profit, the year 2019 was a success story. We can relate this to the changeover the university underwent. Focus shifted, in part, to developing projects and areas that will generate results in the long run. The reasons for this shift were twofold: the targets set up together with the ministry up to 2020 had, to a large extent, been achieved; also, our successful fundraising campaign made it possible for Arcada to go in for wholeheartedly developing the school. This successful shift is mirrored in the overall result for Arcada, which landed at close to 1,6 million euro.
As rector I can on a daily basis be proud of the involvement that both staff and students show in developing Arcada and all its departments. I’m also more than pleased to note the positive interest in our school shown by so many, from guest lecturers and partner universities to visiting colleagues and alumni. Let me conclude by offering a sincere thank you to both students and staff and to all our external partners. Thank you all for the unwavering support you have accorded Arcada!
Helsinki in May 2020
Mona Forsskåhl, PhD