The University Collegium is in a way the parliament of the university, but its operation is not known even to all members of the university community, let alone to the general public. The Collegium members are chosen by university elections and their term of office is four years. Instead of electoral districts, the candidates are divided into separate lists according to the three group categories forming the university community: professors, other teaching and research personnel and other staff, and students.
At JYU, the University Collegium consists of ten members from each of these three categories. The Collegium represents the university community comprehensively, since also the Chair and the two Vice Chairs come from different categories.
The Collegium has just a few official responsibilities. The most important one relates to the University Board. Among other things, the Board appoints the Rector and decides on the aims, strategy and regulations for the University’s operation and finances. Of the seven Board members, three come from outside the University and they are appointed by the Collegium. In fact, the Collegium also decides on the number of Board members and terms of office. In addition, the Collegium approves the financial statements of the university. Other tasks of the Collegium are more unofficial. Therefore, the analogy with a parliament does not apply in this respect.
The appointment of Board members from outside the University was topical in this spring. We sought for persons whose expertise and backgrounds would complement one another and who would have genuine desire to work for the benefit of our University. Jointly with the other Board members and university management, they are wished to draw on their own strenghts in making our university even better and stronger.
Because the Collegium represents the university, it wants to participate in the preparation of significant reforms by commenting proposals from different perspectives. The Collegium can also request statements on issues it considers important.
My term of office as the Chair of the Collegium lasts for this year. I wish to get the Collegium members involved more than before. As we have so many members, small-group discussions are a good practical way to give chances for a greater number of members to participate in discussion. We have also taken into use digital tools for group work and established recently a forum for the members’ initiatives.
I also wish to improve contacts with the University Board and Rector.
For example, the joint informal evening school discussions of the Collegium and the Board have returned on the agenda after a pause of a few years, as also the Board has wished these.
It is necessary that information flows directly without getting filtered or distorted on the way. The Collegium is like a miniature of the university community and serves in practice as a voice channel between the management and different groups of the University. This is why this less well-known administrative body is so important.
The writer is Professor of Industrial Optimization from the JYU Faculty of Information Technology. She is Chair of the Collegium
More information about Jyväskylä’s University Collegium
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