Access to knowledge and creative skills are the keys to sustainable success

Merija Timonenis the director of student affairs at the Lapland higher education community (Lapland University Consortium), which consists of Lapland University of Applied Sciences and the University of Lapland. In an interview with Tuudo, Timonen discusses about the Lapland higher education community and its mutual activities with Tuudo.

– The joint strategy of the Lapland higher education community strives and aims to be a responsible Arctic higher education community operating in a global area of arctic responsibility. The operations produce sustainable development, sustainable tourism and future services that are diverse and capable of managing distances, Timonen presents.

The Lapland higher education community is a strong actor especially in fields of art, science and working life, with extensive expertise on both a northern, national and international scale. Its identity also clearly reflects Finnish culture in the way Timonen describes Finland.

– I think Finland is a very spirited country: a longstanding and enduring information seeker. Information is needed to cope with everyday life and in order to streamline it. In other words, information can be used to make life easier. Finland is a user and applicator of various influences to its own context and in that sense persistent. Finland is also a northern country with its northern characteristics, which are utilized in international work.

Timonen continues by describing that the development of Finnish society requires competence and success, which requires the ability to acquire knowledge, master new skills and to apply one’s own competence ingeniously. Finland’s competitiveness thus depends on skilled and creative people and on that fact that competence is being increased in the long-term in society as a whole. On the other hand, tools are needed to collect and analyse information and to manage it, Timonen points out.

– These tools must be such that they enable the development of the bigger picture so that they can bring forth quality in all our activities: including the functioning of the higher education system.

The importance of such data processing tools is growing as society increasingly needs experts in different roles and areas of expertise to create development. Thus, not only is the need for higher education and the number of university graduates constantly growing, but the significance of research, and thus knowledge, is ever-emphasized, Timonen explains.

– Higher education and its activities are always based on researched information.

Furthermore, knowledge is no longer merely the right of a few but it belongs to everyone, because the research-based information is an essential basis for all kinds of decision-making and evaluation of activities. – The use of researched information and its availability means that we must ensure that the resources needed to obtain knowledge are sufficient, Timonen proposes.

Tuudo frees the higher education community to focus on what’s key by enabling effective access to information and facilitating the daily life of students

The Lapland higher education community took on Tuudo right from the start in 2016 becoming Tuudo’s first clients. Timonen explains how the fundamental purpose for acquiring Tuudo as a turnkey service provider to the higher education community remains the same as in the beginning: so that the student themselves would have an easy access to the up-to-date information that concerns them.

– Tuudo is the only real mobile application used by the students in our higher education community. It supports the student’s path throughout their studies: from the first steps of a new student to the end of their studies.

The basic services Tuudo provides which a student needs every day, such as reading their schedule, their credits, enrolling to studies and courses, are easily accessible when the app travels with the student all the time everywhere they go. – It would most likely take more time and effort from the student if they had to use many different services to meet these different needs, Timonen estimates.

In addition, these everyday services that Tuudo provides are not limited to studying, but students are taken into account in an array of different ways: the student’s library card, student card, student restaurant menus and commuter services all travel with the student at all times via Tuudo, Timonen adds. When all the basic information needed by a student is easily found through Tuudo, the university no longer needs to implement such communication to the student separately themselves.

– Tuudo frees up the resources of the Lapland higher education community for the concrete activities it offers to its students, such as counselling and guidance, Merija says. – So yes, Tuudo is such a facilitator for the everyday life!

Tuudo’s flexibility supports the university’s ability to provide the best possible service to its students

Next autumn, the University of Lapland will unify its basic register with Lapland University of Applied Sciences. The most important issue for the Lapland higher education community at that time is to ensure that Tuudo’s basic functionalities continue to work and stay with the student after the adjustment, because providing these services to students is essential for the higher education community. There are many other development plans in the future, which are made possible by Tuudo’s multi-developed ability to provide several different services and the disposition of the Lapland higher education community to innovatively cooperate with Tuudo.

– At the moment, it is relevant for us to include health- and wellbeing as well as international services in Tuudo for our students. Recently, we have also discussed about services that would help support our international students in learning Finnish through Tuudo.

According to Timonen, the development opportunities for facilitating the student life in cooperation with Tuudo are endless. – Tuudo is flexible in the sense that it can be developed indefinitely. Creativity thus is an opportunity and not a limit to its use, Timonen says happily.

Tuudo wants to continue to support both the high-quality work of the Lapland higher education community as well as the activities of other educational institutions by streamlining information sharing between their key actors topically and meaningfully as a creative partner who consults and implements their partner’s needs and wishes in providing comprehensive and convenient services. When higher education students and faculty can focus on developing and sharing their core competencies, society too can achieve better results and success – more simply.

Read more about Tuudo here.
Read more about Lapland higher education community here.

This interview took place in July 2021.