FinEd Newsletter 2022 – A Year in Review

In the beginning of 2022, responsibility for steering FinEd activities was handed over to the University of Helsinki from the University of Lapland, for the coming two years. The year 2022 also saw us returning to in-person seminars and meetings, as well as launching some new kinds of activities and events. In this newsletter, we take a look at the past year and its activities. We also want to take this opportunity to extend our warmest thank-yous to everyone who has taken part in our events, be it as keynote speakers, mentors, workshop participants, or in any other role, and to wish everyone Season’s Greetings and a Happy New Year 2023!

FinEd Online Research Talks

In the spring, we introduced a series of online research talks, with professors from member universities taking turns in giving a keynote speech on a topic of their choice, approximately once a month during termtime. The series has provided us with a new way of reaching out to doctoral researchers as well as the academic community more broadly. Furthermore, the talks raise awareness of FinEd and showcase the broad range of research done within our network. This year’s speakers were Professors Markku Niemivirta (University of Eastern Finland), on The role of goals in motivation and well-being; Päivi Rasi-Heikkinen (University of Lapland) on Media literacies among senior citizens; Niina Rutanen (University of Jyväskylä), on Ethics in research with young children; Annalisa Sannino (Tampere University), on Challenges of transformative agency for equity and sustainability: A perspective from the learning sciences; and Kristina Ström and Mia Porko-Hudd (Åbo Akademi University), on Special Education and Sloyd Education at ÅAU. The series has garnered interest and been well attended and received, and will continue in 2023, so stay tuned!

Writing workshop for doctoral researchers, 17-18 August

Seventeen doctoral researchers from seven of our eight member universities participated in a two-day writing workshop at the beautiful, inspiring environment of the Hanaholmen Conference Center in Espoo. Activities at the workshop included two keynote speeches, How to understand and optimize the process of academic writing from University Lecturer Elina Ketonen (University of Helsinki) and Summary of the PhD Thesis from Professor Auli Toom (University of Helsinki), work in small groups on participants’ abstracts and article manuscripts, as well as time set aside for networking, sharing experiences with peers, and making new friends. Participants also received comments on their article manuscripts from senior FinEd members. We received positive feedback for the workshop, as well as some suggestions for making it even better, which we will take into account when planning and organising the 2023 workshop.

“Thank all of the organizers and mentors of FinEd seminar. It was a really wonderful and enlightening workshop, encouraging many PHD researchers to share the questions what’s bothering them most during the academic writing.” – Feedback comment from a participant

FinEd preseminar at the FERA Educational Research days, 23 November, University of Oulu

The topic of the FinEd preseminar, Values matter in education and research – Exploring the philosophical foundations of Educational Sciences, was chosen based on suggestions received from a questionnaire for doctoral researchers from the autumn of 2021. The preseminar comprised two parts, with Professor Katariina Holma’s (University of Oulu) keynote speech Science, theories, and values arranged in hybrid form, to enable interested parties who could not make it to Oulu in person to participate, too. The keynote was attended by approximately 40 audience members, of whom 15 took part online via zoom. After a lunchbreak, twelve doctoral researchers from different member universities attended the in-person workshop part of the preseminar. The feedback for both the keynote and the workshop was very positive. For the record, should you come across the term Empathic-Relational-Dialogical Science – it was invented at this workshop by some participants!

“I think we need an interesting keynote who directs participants’ thoughts and reflection towards the topic. The keynote was a spot on.” – Feedback comment from a participant

“I think workshop working as a whole is something we need as doctoral students. In workshops we get to know each other properly and get to share our thoughts on doing a PhD. There could even be more of such activity.” – Feedback comment from a participant

Other activities

In June, FinEd supported the organisation of the “Oppimis- ja oppimisvaikeustutkijatapaaminen 2022” (Meeting of learning and learning-difficulties researchers) by funding the FinEd keynote speech Developmental dynamics between academic well-being and educational outcomes from an accomplished younger researcher, Dr Anna Widlund (Åbo Akademi University).

During the autumn term, the steering board has been examining differences and similarities in the criteria set for article-based doctoral theses in member universities. This work of exploring the possibility of unifying these criteria across member universities is still ongoing.

Finally, FinEd now has a Twitter account, and we warmly invite you to follow us on @FinEdVerkosto, to keep up-to-date and receive reminders of our various events.