Strategy 2010—2017

This strategy replaces the former strategies of the Department of History and Ethnology.
Considered at the Departmental Meeting of 29 April 2010


The strategy of the Department of History and Ethnology (Hela), University of Jyväskylä, takes effect at a time when the administrative environment is in a state of change. The effects on education and research will be significant and visible during the strategy period. Thus, adapting and integrating its activities with various changes is crucial to Hela. In the current climate of change, Hela develops its activities in a proactive, innovative, and analytical manner.

The declining size of younger age groups and the resulting competition for potential students, as well as possible changes in the university student admission practices, are all factors that generate pressure for change in education. With administrative change, the importance of supplementary funding for research becomes even more emphasized in terms of research.

The university education and research environment will become more international during the strategy period. The fields of education and research in Hela will maintain their distinct national character and role but, at the same time, they will follow the move toward internationalization already taking place in many other disciplines.

Hela is a medium-sized department. Significantly increasing the size of the depart-ment is neither feasible nor desirable. The two disciplines currently offered at Hela complement each other, and a strong tradition of cooperation is developing between them. Large-scale department mergers resulting in an increase in the choice of avail-able disciplines do not fit the strategic policies of Hela.

Throughout the strategy period, Hela will continue to invest in quality. In our view, a good reputation and trust can only be built through good deeds. Primarily, the reputa-tion and trust, and hence justification for Hela’s operations is gained from the results of first-rate education and research: high-quality degrees and publications define Hela’s position in the academic community.

Department of History and Ethnology (Hela)

Description and responsibilities of Hela
The Department of History and Ethnology (Hela) comprises the people working and studying within the organization.

The core responsibilities of Hela are research and education in history and ethnology.

The social interaction within Hela is linked to research and education: the Department produces high-quality research and trains experts to serve society. The two broad dis-ciplines of Hela, history and ethnology, participate in national and international dis-cussion in the arenas central to each discipline. The Department is one of Finland’s  most efficient educators in terms of master’s and doctoral degrees within both of its fields. 

Hela is part of the University of Jyväskylä and its Faculty of Humanities. The Univer-sity of Jyväskylä provides the Department’s core funding and administrative support, as well as working spaces and equipment. Hela complies with the effective university regulations of the University of Jyväskylä, as well as with its other guidelines, and implements the strategic policies of the University and the Faculty of Humanities through its activities.


The values of Hela
The activities of Hela are based on valuing and respecting the views of its staff, stu-dents, and stakeholders. Hela follows good scientific practice and is committed to the guidelines of the National Advisory Board on Research Ethics. Hela’s educational activities aim at achieving the best for its students. Highly motivated and proficient teachers form the basis of education. Special attention is paid to the well-being of staff and to successfully combining family and work.


The goal of the Hela strategy
Hela aims to excel in its disciplines. The goal of the strategy is to create a work community that motivates and encourages its members towards successful and meaningful research, teaching and studying

The activities of those working and studying in Hela are goal-oriented, innovative and productive. Achieving the designated qualitative and quantitative goals strengthens Hela’s status within the scientific community. The qualitative goals are to produce the highest quality education in the disciplines of the Department, to produce excellent research in the core fields of the Department, and to actively participate in societal debate from the Department’s disciplinary viewpoint. The quantitative goal is to meet the annual performance targets.


Responsibilities and the current state of research in Hela
Hela’s mission is to produce high-quality and valuable knowledge through research.

Hela is a unique and genuinely multidisciplinary research community that includes all of its members – from undergraduate students to emeritus professors. The Department has an unparalleled combination of major subjects (ethnology, Finnish history, general history, and economic history), generating a unique competence potential. Com-binations of different traditions are leading to new initiatives. The relatively small size of the Department is a resource that enables strategic agility in changing circumstances.
Research emphasis and strengths

Hela conducts research on various human and communal activities as well as on the conditions, results, and temporal multilayeredness of such activities. In our research, the following dimensions are emphasized during the strategy period:

  1. The agency of individuals and functioning of communities: communities, experiences, thought; individuals as subjects/citizens and cultural actors; social interaction
  2. Preconditions, contexts and consequences of action: historicity and culturality; organizations and institutions
  3. Multilayered historicity: continuity and change; simultaneity and non-simultaneity; temporal, spatial, and cultural differences

The strength of the Department of History and Ethnology lies in its highly motivated and proficient research staff. Hela’s particular strengths are its active research groups and the tradition of working together. The Department houses diverse theoretical-methodological and empirical expertise, among which our particular strengths include broad competence related to data collection, classification, analysis, and methods, as well as multidisciplinary theoretical and methodological competence. Characteristic features of the research conducted in the Department include the analysis of phenomena in different periods of history and over long time spans. Early-modern and modern ages are particular strengths of historical research at the Department.
Goals of research during the strategy period

With regard to research, the central goals of the strategy are:

  • To secure operational preconditions for highest quality research – funding, infrastructure, education, and staff
  • To strengthen the role of Hela in national and international scientific communities, and particularly promoting the international aspect of re-search, including comparative research
  • To increase the proportional share of peer-reviewed publications and the number of international publications
  • To improve doctoral education and supporting researchers at the post-doctoral stage




Responsibilities and the current state of education in Hela
The mission of Hela is to train future global experts who will contribute to the knowledge of national and international phenomena, cultures, and cultural in-teractions in different periods.

Hela trains experts in ethnology and history. Within these disciplines, the Department is among the country’s leading providers of master’s and doctoral degrees in terms of quality and efficiency, as well as the leading institution of history teacher education. In addition, Hela is the only department in Finland to offer master’s level education in records and archives management. The foundation of education in Hela is research-based teaching that provides each student with a diverse set of basic research knowl-edge and skills.


Goals of education during the strategy period

With regard to education, the central goals of the strategy are:

  • To establish Hela’s status among Finland’s leading institutions in history teacher education and as the leading institution providing education for cultural memory organizations
  • To ensure that Hela remains an attractive and renowned department whose in-coming students are highly motivated and are of a high starting level
  • To achieve the performance targets of education
  • To highlight the employment-oriented relevance of education provided by the Department
  • To raise the level of internationalization in education


Societal interaction

Responsibilities and the current state of societal interaction in Hela
Through research and education, Hela aims to contribute to local, national, and international conditions in its fields, and to actively bring its work to wider public knowledge.

Societal interaction pervades the work of Hela staff and students in various expert and civic activities, as well as in its diverse cooperation with multiple stakeholders.
Goals of societal interaction during the strategy period

With regard to societal interaction, the central goals of the strategy are:

  • To further expand, deepen, and systematize cooperation with stakeholders
  • To involve stakeholders in individual/group research in the work of entire Department 
  • To consolidate the status and visibility of Hela’s research and education both in national and international scientific communities, and in various tasks requiring expertise




Responsibilities and the current state of affairs
The Hela personnel are responsible for the research, education, and societal in-teraction of the Department.

A highly motivated and competent personnel is the driving force of the Department of History and Ethnology. Retaining our highly trained and motivated staff and recruit-ing top candidates is pivotal in the successful operation of the Department. Educa-tional and financial administration is supported by the Faculty Office. In addition, the Department has two departmental coordinators, a secretary, and a trainee to assist the teaching and research staff.

Goals of the human resources strategy
With regard to the staff, the central goals of the strategy are:

  • To ensure the well-being  and motivation of staff, as well as the free flow of information within the Department
  • To build, via core and supplementary funding, a system of new internal ca-reer paths which aim to motivate and encourage those working in research and teaching


Executing the strategy

Responsibilities in executing the strategy
Both the staff and the students of the Department of History and Ethnology participate in executing the strategy. The head of the Department is, with the help of the vice head and the Steering Group, responsible for compliance with the policies of the strategy, as well as for developing and running the Department. The Department’s policy model is based on open interaction with its staff and students. According to the Hela model, the head of the Department reports on implementing the strategy to the Steering Group monthly, to the professors of the Department every three months, and to the Department as a whole every six months. The policies outlined in the strategy are considered in the annual action plans and reports. The departmental activities are regularly discussed with staff and students.

Measures in executing the goals of the strategy
The strategy forms the basis for development and governance in Hela during the pe-riod 2010—2017. The strategy is implemented in preparing curricula and programmes, recruiting students and members of staff, supporting research, and allocating intra-departmental resources. Annual action plans are made according to the strategy, and the implementation of the strategy is evaluated in the annual reports. An operational agenda for executing the strategy in terms of staff, research, education, and societal impact is presented in a separate appendix, which also summarizes the criteria for performance assessment.