PART I – STRATEGIC FRAMEWORK
The Department of Computer Science is responsible for teaching and research in computer science at the University of Helsinki. The department has set up the following items as its basic missions:
- Research: the department carries out international cutting-edge research in its key areas along with quality research into new domains.
- Teaching: the department offers a broad basic scientific education for the Bachelor's degree, expert instruction based on its key research areas for the Master's degree, and a scientist's education based on its key areas for the Doctoral degree. The instruction keeps a high standard.
- Societal interaction: the department is active in its interaction with the rest of society, both through its research and its teaching.
The basic mission of the department has been described in more detail in its Quality Manual, the chapter Strategic premises and operational goals.
In the future, the Department of Computer Science will focus on its strengths more than ever, especially in its Masters' education and its research. The high standard of teaching and research will be improved further. The department will strive for increased acknowledgement of its status as a centre of excellence in its own field. The goal is to attract high-end professional staff and motivated students.
The teaching offered at the Bachelor's level at the department is comprehensive. It takes into account the demands of both the job market and research and scientist education. The relationship between teacher and student will be improved and the teaching further developed flexibly. Scientist education and the supervision of postgraduates will be made more efficient. In research, good quality will be emphasized.
1.3. National special duties, international and academic responsibilities, network coordination
Specialty and coordination responsibilities:
- International Master's Programme in Bioinformatics, MBI: a Master's programmed shared by two universities (UH, TKK) and four faculties (Science, Medicine, Biosciences, Agriculture and Forestry) and coordinated by the Department of Computer Science.
Other coordination and cooperation responsibilities:
- Helsinki Institute for Information Technology HIIT: a research institution shared by UH and TKK with its UH operations located at the department.
- The Finnish Academy Centre of Excellence Algodan (UH, TKK), managed by and mainly operational at the department.
- Helsinki Graduate School in Computer Science and Engineering Hecse (UH, TKK), coordinated by the department.
1.4. Profile and main success factors
The department has profiled itself in three areas:
1. machine learning and algorithms, including the Master's programme in bioinformatics MBI,
2. data networks and distributed systems, and
3. software systems.
In research, the following key areas will be emphasized in the 2010-2012 period:
- data analysis,
- data networks and services, and
- software research, especially research into quality and quality assurance.
It is possible that pioneering focus areas will be considered during the strategy period.
The research focuses on the key areas and research units and project groups that are large enough. Focusing on these areas enables the extensive and multifaceted study of them, supporting high-end international research. Its high profile also enhances the attractiveness of the department.
The degrees and teaching offered by the department keep a high standard and are socially relevant. The broad Bachelor's degree forms a basis for the Master's education in computer science while giving sufficient skills to work in the field for those who do not want to continue with the Master's programme. The Master's and Doctoral education is based on the research carried out at the department and its key areas. Since the teaching is profiled according to the strengths of the department, it is internationally attractive to Master's and Doctoral students. The teaching has continuously and openly been under development at the department.
The research at the department combines theory and interaction with companies and the application fields in a well-balanced whole. Graduates from the department find employment in challenging jobs.
The administration and IT support teams at the department keep a high standard and offer efficient assistance for teaching and research.
According to atmosphere measurements, the work climate and community at the department are very good. Teaching and other activities are developed communally. We invest in well-being in the workplace.
The role of the Helsinki Institute for Information Technology as a shared research environment for the department and TKK is considerable, both from a funding and a networking point of view.
1.5. Strategic subjects for improvement
1. Acquisition of a new network-simulation and computing cluster to create new possibilities in research and teaching (see more detailed description and motivation in Part II – Research, action T2 and Part II – Teaching and studying, action O5). (The investment will be made during 2009, but implementation and utilisation will occur in the strategy period.)
2. Start-up of a global software development laboratory as a broad international collaboration for the improvement of research into software teaching and quality (see Part II – Research, action T3 and Part II – Teaching and studying, action O2b).
3. Globalisation, especially increasing instruction in English at the Master's level to facilitate the recruitment of international Master's students and support their studies (see more details in Part II – Teaching and studying, action O2) as well as more international postgraduate studies (see Part II – Research, action T4b and T4c).
4. Consolidating the Master's programme in bioinformatics, MBI (see Part II – Teaching and studying, action O4). The MBI is a joint venture with the Aalto University, and a significant cross-disciplinary programme for three of the Helsinki University campuses. The department directs some of its resources to this programme and strategic funding has been applied for from the faculty to consolidate its position.
PART II – OPERATIONAL GOALS AND MEASURES
2.1.1. Outlines, key areas and goals
The basic mission of the department is to carry out international cutting-edge research in its key areas along with high-end research into new domains.
In research, the following key areas will be emphasized in the 2010-12 period:
- Data analysis. Method development and applications in modern data analysis: machine learning, data mining, information-theoretic modelling. The research into this topic has long traditions, and the research at the department is a world leader in this area.
- Networking and services. Research into networked systems and their premises: middleware (including service and application platforms, management of middleware, trust, and safety), mobility (independence of technology and location, wireless communications), information networks, service networks, context-awareness and ubiquitous computing. This area combines the department's traditional research into wireless and mobile computing with new emerging research themes such as middleware and ubiquitous computing. The focus of the research is moving from protocols towards the problems of the application level and their solutions.
-Software research. The research into this area will grow considerably during the next three-year period, both in applied and basic research. The focus of software research is on the global development and processes of software, systems of open source code and web technologies and their utilisation, parallel programming, sustainable software technologies and their applicability. During the strategy period, we will strive for world-class skills and networking in each key area.
It is possible that pioneering key areas will be considered during the strategy period. We have, among other opportunities, two vacant professorships that we can direct into new focal areas.
Goals and challenges
The basic goal of the department is to retain its high international standard in the research into its key areas (the international research assessment organised by the University of Helsinki in 2005, the international assessment of scientific IT research organised by the Academy of Finland in 2007) and, when resources allow, the extend its research into new focal areas. During the planning period 2010-12, the more detailed goals for the improvement of research at the department are as follows:
1. extending the research into networks and middleware with the help of new professorship appointments and hardware acquisitions (target 1 for strategic improvement),
2. consolidating the prerequisites for data analysis and algorithm research with the help of hardware acquisitions (target 1 for strategic improvement),
3. extending research into software quality and quality assurance with the help of, among other measures, a software laboratory (target 2 for strategic improvement), and
4. further development of postgraduate studies and internationalisation (target 3 for strategic improvement).
The target 1 for strategic improvement (cluster acquisition) mentioned in Part I supports targets 1 and 2, target 2 (a global software development lab) target 3, and target 3 (internationalisation) target 4, respectively.
2.1.2. Measures for attaining the goals
The academic career and doctoral education (9. Improvement of the doctoral education)
T4a: The tutoring of postgraduates and the postgraduate seminars will be developed further. The work to improve postgraduate studies that started at the department in 2008 will continue. We will specifically work on our mentorship in support of postgraduates and our tutoring routines, as well as our postgraduate seminars.
T4b: We will promote the mobility of postgraduates and researcher visits abroad. We will encourage postgraduates to plan research visits at the stage when they are planning their postgraduate programme, Funds will be set aside for carrying out the visits.
T4c: The proportion of foreign postgraduates will be increased to 25% (currently 20%) by investing in international recruitment.
This action will be funded with department funds.
Infrastructures and premises for research
A global software laboratory will be established.
T3a: A global software laboratory (GSL) will be established as an international cooperation, for simulating real and industrial software development environments. The laboratory will be utilised both for research and teaching of software development.
GSL forms a basis for research into software quality and quality assurance, where modern methods, tools and development techniques will be tested before they are purveyed for more extensive testing in the industry. GSL will be a distributed network in cooperation with universities both abroad and in Finland. The students will implement their software projects in a distributed way both geographically and temporally, so that developers from different cultures will participate in each project. This will enable interesting test cases from the viewpoint of basic research, as well as teach students to work in software-intensive companies with distributed development teams.
The investment into GSL focuses on hardware and measuring instruments locally. With their aid, we can implement test cases in cooperation with the other laboratories. In addition, some investment will be directed towards recruitment from the axis India-China-Hungary-Latvia according to need. The UH software laboratory will be the main laboratory that coordinates the international operations and implements projects in collaboration with the highly respected International Software Engineering Research Network (ISERN).
This action will be funded with department funds.
New research opportunities will be created by developing a modern infra-structure.
T2a: The department will support research and teaching with extensive network-simulation and computation equipment acquisitions. The department will make a large network-simulation and computation environment acquisition in 2009. Its implementation will occur during the strategy period. This measure will create new opportunities for the research into network and parallel computing while strengthening the research premises for studying data analysis and algorithms. The network-simulation and computation equipment will also help us reform our teaching, please see action O5 (Part II – Teaching).
The new cluster will promote research and routines that are not currently possible at the department, some of them not even in Finland. However, there are several active research groups at the department whose work relates to them. Some of the immediately useful new opportunities are:
-Extensive and hands-on testing, analysis and evaluation of network applications and protocols. A large cluster gives us the possibility for extensive testing of network applications, which is not feasible with current Finnish facilities.
-Problems of massive data. The development of algorithms and data structures for large bodies of data requires more capacity than a single computer can offer.
-The utilisation of virtualisation adds to the flexibility of computation management.
-Speeding up the computation enables e.g. the study of different parameter combinations is a shorter time, which will improve the quality of the research considerably.
Furthermore, the acquisition will open up new research opportunities at the department:
-Research into distributed algorithms. In future, computation capacity will increase only through parallelism and distribution.
-Research into virtualisation. Using virtualisation in a cluster will also enable the department to establish research into virtualisation.
The investments and running costs required by this action will mainly be funded by the department's saved assets
Defining and selecting key research areas (1. The focuses of research are defined at the university, the faculty, and the department level.)
T1a: Defining the key research areas. The department has already defined its key research areas and set their goals, see above. The current key areas will be defined in more detail on the basis of the research interests of the four new professors to be appointed to the department at the beginning of the planning period, 2009-2010. At a later stage of the planning period, the key areas will be under reconsideration, since there are two vacant professorships at the department, which could be redirected into new areas, and will be filled during this planning period.
2.2. TEACHING AND STUDYING
2.2.1. Outlines, focus areas, and goals
The department offers an extensive basic scientific education in its Bachelor degree and expert educations in its key areas of research in its Master's degree. The specialised sub-programmes and the Master's programmes reflect the key areas of research and teaching at the department, and they each have their own degree requirements that are geared towards specialist skills in each field and building a scientific foundation.
The goal for post-graduate courses in computer science is to specialise in depth in one of the sub-disciplines of computer science and attain the ability to formulate new scientific knowledge.
The specialisation areas of the sub-programmes at the department are
§ machine learning and algorithms,
§ distributed systems and data communications,
§ software systems, and
§ bioinformatics (the international Master's programme).
The Bachelor's education gives students a broad base of computer science to build their specialisations on; at the MSc level, the sub-programmes offer them education to become experts in their chosen field. The wide scope and depth of courses are important parts of this expert education.
Goals and challenges
The department sets up the following goals for the improvement of teaching and learning in the planning period 2010-2012:
1. The recruitment of knowledgeable, interested student who progress successfully in their studies for both Bachelor's and Master's degrees, including international recruitment for the latter. In the case of foreign students, the challenge is to find students who are advanced enough and have sufficient language skills, since there are many attractive educations available today.
2. Encouraging students to stay at the department. One of the challenges is the tendency of students to leave the department at an early stage of their degree programme, another challenge is that advanced students are sought after on the job market, and therefore they drop out.
3. The internationalisation of the academic environment. The challenge is to preserve the high standard of the department's culture and atmosphere in spite of changes caused by globalisation.
4. The consolidation of the MBI programme.
5. Starting up a global software laboratory.
6. Promoting the cooperation between the industry and teaching at the department.
The strategic improvement target 4 (consolidating MBI) at the department corresponds directly with target 4. Improvement target 3 (internationalisation) supports target 3. In addition, improvement targets 1 (cluster acquisition) and 2 (global software laboratory) support target 2.
The improvement targets in the action plan for teaching and studying at the University of Helsinki are defined as the management of teaching, the teacher-student ratio, the course feedback system, the studying abilities of students, and their tutoring. The steps and measures taken by the department are linked to these targets through its existing strengths and recognised targets for improvement so that by taking specific measures we will accomplish the desired practical effect on, for instance, the teacher-student ratio (e.g., calculation workshops and other supportive tutoring methods) and the ability of students to study (student mentoring by alumni).
2.2.2. Actions to attain our goals
Management of teaching
Action O1: Boosting student recruitment
O1a: Recruitments for the BSc stage: Student recruitments will ongoing and visible at the department so that recently established or new measures taken in late 2009 will develop strongly during the planning period. New efforts in the field of student recruitments will be analysed on the basis of gained experience. The department will increase its visibility through such measures as a dedicated website for school leavers, active contact to upper-secondary schools, info-packages, participation in school fairs and other events, as well as through the cooperation schools, the science clubs in the LUMA centre, and the Luova webzine.
O1b: Recruitments for the MSc stage: We aim for MSc students among both Finnish university and polytechnic graduates and foreign graduates. The recruitment at the MSc stage is part of the internationalisation goal of this strategy period (Action O2). Recruitment includes marketing, application arrangements, the selection process, the integration of new students into the studying community, and early information to accepted students. Integration includes building a bridge between previous studies and degrees to the MSc programmes at the department, for international or polytechnic graduates, for example. Bridging courses could include e.g. an introduction to scientific representation and the prerequisite courses necessary for some of the specific profiles of the sub-programmes, as well an introduction to the tool environment of the department.
Action O2: Master's education in English
O2a: Master's education in English: As a part of the internationalisation of the department, a streamlined alternative for completing a Master's degree in English will be offered to students at the MSc stage (both Finnish and foreign). It can be accomplished by, e.g. establishing new Master's programmes, changing the teaching language of current sub-programmes to English, or building separate performance paths in different languages inside the present sub-programmes. The option of taking a degree in Finnish will remain, as will the option of writing Master's theses, seminar presentations, and exercises in Finnish for an otherwise English degree. The reform will not present Finnish-speaking students with any formal obstacles to transferring to the MSc stage or their choice of courses. Additional English tuition will be organised for the staff, (Finnish) BSc students, and (foreign) MSc students. The recruitment and selection processes of foreign students will be forcibly improved (action O1b). Teaching in English for BSc-stage courses will be improved in those areas where degree and exchange students at the MSc level need remedial teaching.
O2b: Starting up a global software laboratory: In order to strengthen its research-based and practice-orientated teaching in software systems, the department will establish a global software laboratory. The students will implement challenging software projects in a geographically and temporally distributed way so that developers from different cultures will be able to participate. This will prepare students for work in software-intensive companies with distributed development.
This action will be funded by department assets. (Please see Part III - Resources).
Action O3: Student-teacher and student-student learning processes
O3a: Developing the structures of the learning environment The department facilities and other structures will be modified to support interaction as needed. There will be more workshop spaces that anyone can use. The course routines will be improved and teachers supported in their work to improve them. The opportunities for interaction with the industry will be utilised in teaching arrangements, e.g. by applying software solutions from the industry to new forms of studying, and organising so-called code camps in collaboration with different companies. Information on both teaching and studying will increase.
O3b: Reform of student tuition: The current status and need for HOPS tuition and student counselling will be mapped. The guidance system will be modified according to our findings. Our goal is to consolidate the tutoring carried out by the student organisation, the counselling given by department staff, and alumni mentoring, into a form of support that is suitable for the students.
O3c: Better use of the strengths in part-time teaching. Teaching organised by bodies outside the department is a desired strength. During this period, the amount of teaching given by Adjunct Professors will be increased, as will the teaching duties of outside experts, so that the supply of courses complements the department's own teaching with up-to-date contents. As before, part-time teaching will also be used for calculation exercises and group instruction. A new support function will be established with the calculation workshop, modelled on the workshop of the Department of Mathematics and Statistics.
O3d: Reform of the course feedback system: The whole feedback system of the Department of computer Science will be renewed. feedback will be gathered on courses and on larger study modules. The feedback system for teaching at the department has many channels, so that most of the student feedback arrives through representatives of the student organisation directly to the teaching administration team and teachers in charge of courses at their regular meetings. Feedback talks and reciprocal feedback will be widely implemented. There is also an online feedback form.
This action will be funded by department assets.
Action O4: Consolidating the MBI programme
O4a: The International Master's programme in bioinformatics (MBI) has proved a significant and successful programme for the university in producing cross-disciplined bioinformatics with a method science bent for the Viikki and Meilahti campuses and other places. The MBI programme will be consolidated as a permanent part of the department. When the project funding for MBI ends, it will need permanent staff and other resources to ensure its continuity. The resources will be allocated so that the teaching and instruction will not have to be cut back during the strategy period 2010-2012.
To fund this action, we will need strategic funding from the faculty (see Part III - Resource planning for more details).
Action O5: The network simulation and computation cluster and teaching of parallel computation
O5a: The project to acquire a cluster for the department is integrated into both research and teaching. In teaching, it will establish new topics and methods of teaching, such as: emulation of parallel computing, testing distributed algorithms and systems, software development current and future distributed environments, scalable network services, a teaching lab for maintenance and networks, multicore programming. During the planning period 2010-2012, several repeated and one-time courses will be organised on utilising the cluster, some of them organised by outside experts. The cluster will also be used as an attraction for recruiting students from abroad.
This action will be funded with the department's (saved) funds.
2.3. SOCIETAL INTERACTION
2.3.1. Outlines, key areas and goals
Outlines and key areas
The department is active in its interaction with the rest of society, both through its research and its teaching.
- The department carries out scientific cooperation with the industries, public sector, and other academic communities.
- Graduates from the department have no trouble finding jobs in their own line – most of them actually find jobs already before graduating.
The department sets the following goals for promoting societal interaction during the period 2010-2012:
1. closer collaboration with the industries along with extended networking, especially with the strategic centres for science, technology and innovation (ICT-SHOK, Tivit oy),
2. improving student and working-life abilities and connections through alumni, and
3. improving the visibility of the department.
2.3.2. Measures for attaining the goals
3. University collaborators
11. Stronger contacts to industry and commerce
The department takes an active part in building and running the strategic centres for science, technology and innovation (ICT-SHOK, Tivit oy)
Y1a: ICT-SHOK is a significant national network and funding channel for applied research in the ICT field. The employees of the department will take a central role in ICT-SHOK activities, striving to improve their networks and operational conditions.
12. Strengthening local activity and university collaborations
Starting and increasing alumni activities in cooperation with the alumni association.
Y2a: The department has prepared to start up its alumni activities in academic year 2008-9, when the alumni association for former students at the department was established. The department will start up alumni activities in cooperation with the association. The main purpose is to bridge the gap between studying and working life, and especially to support Master's programme students. Some of the methods considered are mentoring, information talks about working life and free enterprising, traineeships, and thesis topics and guidance. We will strive to utilise alumni for improving our teaching, in teaching, and in improving the visibility of the department. The department, for its part, can offer the alumni various events connected with the ICT field, networking opportunities, and 'remedial education.'
This action will be funded with department resources.
Improving the visibility of the department
Y3a: The internal and external online information and communications will be improved. The department's web site will be completely renewed during the academic year 2009-2010. Especially the student recruitment pages and the research pages will be redesigned. Information from the TUHAT system (e.g. list of publications) will be utilised for online communications.
This action will be funded with department resources.
PART III – RESOURCE PLAN
3.1.1. Outlines and goals for staff structure
Annually, over 200 persons work at the department, completing some 160 man-years. Nearly half of the man-years are completed on external funding. In addition, a significant number of part-time teachers are employed by the department. The average age of the staff is under 35 years. Foreigners complete some 13% of the man-years, and women make up slightly less than 20% of the staff.
Current structure of staff
Staff employed with allocated funds on 1 August 2009
Teaching and research staff
- 13 professorships (of which 2 vacant, 2 to be redirected later/1 unappointed in autumn 2009)
- 1 personal pooled professorship
- 17.5 lectureships/university lecturers (3 vacant/ 3 unappointed in autumn 2009)
- 2 fixed-term university lectureships without official post
- 2 fixed-term 5-year university researchers
- 2 university instructors
- 3 fixed-term 3-year postdoctoral researchers
- 4 fixed-term doctoral students/assistants
- 1 doctoral student without official post
- 1 amanuensis (unappointed)
Administration, support, etc
- 1 university lecturer (head of studies), office manager, research coordinator, IT manager
- 2 amanuenses, 1 department secretary, 1 information officer, 1 planner, 1 translator
- 5 IT specialists, 1 IT designer
- staff employed with the department's own project funding (in summer 2009, 13 employees)
- 15 doctoral or research students in the ComBi and Hecse postgraduate schools (1 Aug 2009).
Employees retained on external funding
- research staff on different levels of the structure of official posts, from research directors to research assistants (a total of some 75 man-years annually)
- in 2008, postdoctoral researchers c. 10%, doctoral students c. 30%, research assistants c. 40% and others c. 20%.
In addition, 3 academy fellows and 3 persons completing their non-military service, as well as some 30 part-time teachers per year, work at the department (autumn 2009).
Objective status of the staff
The current situation is close to the objective for the staff. The aim is to change the division of research and teaching posts in a more professorship-orientated direction.
The department staff is young, so there are not many posts becoming vacant through retirement. With the new professors appointed during 2009-2010, a total of 4-6 postdoctoral researchers or doctoral students will be recruited for their fields of research on budgeted funding, and in addition, the research groups of the new professors will add to the research staff employed with external funds. The university reform will increase the financial responsibilities - such as budgeting and follow-up responsibilities - of the departments, so resources will be directed towards financial management inside the department's administration. Even after the reform, financial and HR issues will be administrated with less resources than average for departments of this size. Since the personnel strategy of the university stipulates that the number of administrative staff may not be increased, the changes will be carried out by redirecting the resources. As far as possible, the administrative staff will be made permanent.
Resource requirements for the development projects during the planning period 2010-2012
Research and teaching in network simulation and parallel computing
- Hardware maintenance and further acquisitions (to be managed with current resources)
- Support to research and teaching (a new vacancy for the coordination and establishment of teaching and research)
The global software laboratory:
- Teacher/coordinator, part-time or as sideline to normal duties
Establishing the Master's programme in bioinformatics
- A professor to be appointed permanently (the appointment process has started; in charge of programme overall, thesis supervision, teaching)
- A university lecturer to be appointed permanently (existing vacancy; thesis supervision, teaching, coordination of major-subject teaching)
- Doctoral student (new post) (teaching and supervision)
Outlines and goals for improving the staff structure
The HR policy of the department has been described in the department's quality manual, in chapter C.2 Staff. The department draws up a staff policy at regular intervals to define changes in the structure of employees on allocated funding at the department during the planning period. The directors of research units and projects are in charge of their HR policies.
The goals according to which freed-up resources will be redirected and the HR structure at the department will be developed:
- We will support the research fields of new professors by directing posts for postdoctoral researchers and doctoral students into their fields.
- The new posts established at the department will mainly be professorships (recommendation by the 2005 evaluation of research at UH).
- The main administrative and support staff have permanent positions.
- We will attempt to employ more high-end teaching and research staff from abroad.
- When recruiting staff for teaching posts we will consider their merits in teaching more than before.
- The benefits of part-time teaching will be utilised better, If the amount of part-time teaching is cut back, we will recruit more university instructors instead as the need arises.
- Potential new key areas in research will be studied during the planning period and vacancies will be redirected towards them.
University of Helsinki
H523 Department of Computer Science
23 Sept 2010 Esko Ukkonen & Pirjo Mulari
STAFF PLAN UPDATE 2011
At the beginning of this plan, there is an overview of the current status of primary targets for improvement, followed by a summary of staff development measures to be implemented during 2011. This is followed by the general part of the plan and the appendixes listing the proposals of the 2010-2012 plan and with statistics over the staff structure of the department.
1. Strategic targets for improvement during the 2010-12 planning period: situation in September 2010
The implementation of the four primary targets for improvement listed in the 2010-12 strategy for the department has progressed as follows.
1. Acquisition of a new network-simulation and computing cluster to create new possibilities in research and teaching. (The investment was made during 2009, but implementation and utilisation did not occur until the strategy period.)
• Current status: The hardware has been acquired and is operational. Recruitment of research staff for the project is underway; the funding mainly comes from project funds.
2. Start-up of a global software development laboratory as a broad international collaboration for the improvement of research into software teaching and quality.
• Current status: The pilot laboratory (Software Factory) has been established at the department. Its operations are at a stage of powerful development and expansion (ICT-SHOK funding among others). The establishment of a network of corresponding laboratories is at an early stage, with the goal of opening labs in Cagliari, Madrid, and Sheffield, among other places. The FiDiPro application for support for the project is under assessment.
3. Globalisation, especially increasing instruction in English at the Master's level to facilitate the recruitment of international Master's students and support their studies, as well as more international postgraduate studies.
• Current status: Two of three Master's programmes at the department have been changed so that they are given in English, starting in academic year 2010-11. Around 40 students from abroad have been accepted to these Master's programmes, and some 20 of them have started the programmes. Some 25% of the department's postgraduates are foreigners.
4. Consolidating the Master's programme in bioinformatics, MBI. The MBI is a joint venture with Aalto University, and a significant cross-disciplinary programme for three of the Helsinki University campuses. The department directs some of its resources to this programme and strategic funding has been applied for from the faculty to consolidate its position.
• Current status: The new professor in charge of the programme has been appointed and the University Lectureship will be filled in autumn 2010. The international student application for this programme has established its form and the level of applicants is ever improving.
In addition, the department is paying attention to the improvement of BSc and MSc degrees and their relation to each other after the reformation of the degree structure. Before the nationwide transition to a two-step degree structure, the department's output of degrees was around 70 MSc degrees and 100 BSc degrees annually. Since the degree structure transition period ended in summer 2008, the numbers have developed so that the number of BSc degrees has remained at the same high level, while the number of MSc degrees has decreased significantly, even down to half of before. The straightforward interpretation is that the BSc degree is a good enough basis for a career. The underlying reasons for this are being studied and measures for increasing the relative percentage of MSc degree will be taken during the planning period 2010-2012.
2. Staff-related development in 2011
The distribution of department staff into their various duties is near its objective. However, the department is planning to increase its number of professors in accordance with the previous scientific evaluation, as well as to participate in the new tenure-track method of professor recruitment. These vacancies will be funded with monies freed up from lectureships and professors going into retirement, as well as external funding. The department will progress fairly slowly in establishing new professorships, since it has already employed 5 new professors during the years 2009-2010.
In the staff structure at the department, there is an evident increase of research assistant posts (in 2009, the percentage of teaching and research person-years carried out by research assistants was 28%). This is not positive in the long run, since a high standard of research may not be maintained with only trainees. The department hopes to use a larger part of research resources on higher-end research positions than currently. The research assistant posts are still significant for recruiting new, upcoming talent into the research community at an early stage.
Measures for year 2011:
1. Establishing a professorship to be appointed through the tenure-track method and declaring it open for applications in 2011. The department will apply for funding for the initial stage of this post from the Dean/Rector. For permanent funding, the department will use funds freed up as employees retire.
2. Consolidating the start-up package for new professors:
a. The goal is to fund one postdoctoral researcher or one doctoral student for the group of each new professor (Tarkoma, Jacucci, Mäkinen, Myllymäki), using department funding and external funding. All of them cannot be realised at the same time, but need to be done step by step.
b. Other support for new professors: the department will participate in funding any special equipment that may be necessary for starting up the work of the new professors.
3. The department will apply for external funding for the following research-based professors' duties:
a. The FiDiPro professorship funded by Tekes
b. The Academy professorship of the Finnish Academy
4. Employment of the lectureship being freed up (Myllymäki): The lectureship will be filled temporarily for spring 2011. After that, the status will be recosidered and the post may be declared open for application. Another alternative is to wait and use the funds for a professorship later.
5. Personal title change: Amanuensis – University Instructor
6. Staff organisation in the IT unit of the department: one of the posts will be transferred to the service centre.
7. Improvement of quality:
a. The working order of the department will be updated. The working order will include the duties of the administrative and office staff. The work processes of the administration will be examined by the administration unit and, for pertinent parts, in cooperation with the service centre.
b. More systematic integration of new supervisors into the routines and supervision duties at the department.
c. The SoleTM allocation process will be changed so that the administration unit will prepare the registration template.
Staff Plan update 19 Sept 2011 Esko Ukkonen & Pirjo Mulari
Measures in 2011-2012
1. Establishing a tenure-track professorship and announcing the vacancy (no specialty limitation) in September 2011. Funding for the initial stages of the vacancy from the Rector. Permanent funding from resources freed through retirement.
2. The following vacancies will be announced
- a. University Lecturer (software technology, previously Taina), autumn 2011.
- b. Professor (the field of teaching and research in information management, previously Sippu), autumn-spring 2011-12.
- c. Tenure-track Professor (intelligent systems) or University Lecturer; previously University Lecturer / Myllymäki (intelligent systems) / autumn-spring 2011-12.
- d. Tenure-track Professor (networks and services) or University Lecturer, the corresponding duties have been handled in temporary posts (Kuuppelomäki, Moen) / spring-autumn 2012.
- e. IT Designer (previously Vikberg)
3. Establishing the initiation package for new professors.
- a. The goal is to fund one postdoctoral researcher or one doctoral student for the group of each new professor (Tarkoma, Jacucci, Mäkinen, Myllymäki), using department funding and external funding. All of them cannot be realised at the same time, but need to be done step by step. Postdoctoral Researcher Eve Hoggan has been employed in Jacucci’s roup.
- b. Other support for new professors: the department will participate in funding any special equipment that may be necessary for starting up the work of the new professors.
4. The department will apply for external funding for the following research-based professors' duties:
- a. FiDiPro professorship (SA)
- b. The Academy professorship of the Finnish Academy
- 5. Personal title change: Amanuensis – University Instructor (effected in 2011)
- 6. Staff organisation in the IT unit of the department: one of the posts transferred to the service centre (effected in 2011).
- 7. The department’s research coordinator changed in June 2011 (Pirjo Moen).
- 8. A new staff and finance coordinator started in May 2011 (Pauliina Pajunen).
- 9. Improvement of quality:
- a. The working order of the department will be updated. The working order will include the duties of the administrative and office staff. The work processes of the administration will be examined by the administration unit and, for pertinent parts, in cooperation with the service centre.
- b. More systematic integration of new supervisors into the routines and supervision duties at the department. (progressing)
- c. The SoleTM allocation process will be changed so that the administration unit will prepare the registration template (effected in 2011).
- d. Creating a policy for using the department’s own research funding. Funds accumulate from e.g. external funding revenue surplus. The department has taxed the revenue surplus for projects that started before 2010 in accordance with confirmed tables. We must decide how to use the surplus revenue from newer projects in the near future. The alternatives include the old routine of returning the surplus to principal investigators, and establishing various surplus pools for joint use. The principles for utilising the department’s own research positions are related to this issue.
- e. Measures brought about by the results of the research evaluation. Principles for how to use award monies, if any.
3.1.2. Actions to attain our goals
V001: Supporting the research fields of new professors
Action V1: One postdoctoral researcher or doctoral student will be recruited for each of the research fields of the new professors appointed to the department. (During 2009-2010, 4-6 postdoctoral researchers or doctoral students)
V1: Recruiting postdoctoral researchers or doctoral students to the fields of the new professors
V002: Redirecting vacant professorships to new key areas
Action V2: Two vacant professorships will be redirected after revision of their key research areas, and will then be declared vacant. When revising the key areas, we will consider the availability of merited applicants on the job market.
V2: Two vacant professorships will be redirected to new key areas in research
V003: Establishing the Master's programme in bioinformatics
Action V3: Making the HR resources for the MBI permanent and stronger
V3a: The posts of the professor in charge of the MBI programme and the university lecturer acting as its coordinator will be filled permanently.
V3b: Redirecting a doctoral-student post on university/faculty funding to the MBI programme.
V004: A 3-year vacancy for a postdoctoral researcher to utilise the new cluster
Action V4: A 3-year vacancy for a postdoctoral researcher to utilise the new cluster.
V4: Establishing a 3-year vacancy for a postdoctoral researcher to utilise the new cluster. Duties will include research and teaching that utilises the cluster, along with their coordination and support.
V005: Strengthening the resources for financial administration at the department
Action V5: Strengthening the resources for financial administration at the department
V5: The amanuensis post in charge of HR and finances will be made permanent. The vacant information officer's post will be discontinued when the locum period ends on 1 January 2010. We will consider establishing a new information officer post in collaboration with another department, e.g. HIIT.
V006: International recruitment
Action V6: When recruiting new employees, we will mainly have international calls for application
Action V6: When recruiting new employees, we will mainly have international calls for application (recommendation by the 2005 evaluation of research at UH).
V007: Utilising the benefits of part-time teaching
Action V7: Added teaching by adjunct professors and by outside experts
V7: The amount of teaching given by adjunct professors will be increased, as will the teaching duties of outside experts, so that the supply of courses complements the department's own teaching with up-to-date contents.
3.1.3. Key areas and goals for developing the skills and well-being of the human resources
The key areas of the development and well-being of the department's staff have been described in the quality manual, chapter C.2 Staff. The department actively encourages its staff to develop and maintain its skills. Employees are encouraged to participate in the training offered by the university, and independent training in each employee's own field is supported, e.g. by flexible working hours. The department especially supports the pedagogical training of teaching staff and strives to systematise it.
The key areas of skill and well-being during the planning period 2010-2012, and the department's goals are:
- well-being at work
- review talks
- the internationalisation of the work community
3.1.4. Actions to attain our goals
Action V8: Improving integration routines
V8a: Making the integration responsibilities and guidelines clearer at the department.
V8b: Updating the department's integration plan.
V8c: Improving the staff guide to correspond better with the needs of both old and new employees.
V009: Review talks
Action V9: Revising the review talks
V9a: The review talks will be improved by using new review-talk form, among other things.
V9b: The training needs and interests (e.g. pedagogical training) of each employee will be discussed and plans made on the basis of them.
V9c: Guidelines for the utilisation of feedback on e.g. teaching as review material will be drawn up.
V9d: We will study the possibility of using the TUHAT/JULKI data in the UPJ talks.
V9e: Supervisors are encouraged to give direct feedback to their employees.
V9f: UH action: Combine the making of the 1600-hour annual working-hour plan with the preparation of teaching plans and review talks.
V010: Well-being at work
Action V10: Investing in well-being at work
V10a: We will support the well-being of our human resources within the framework of financial resources by offering various benefits (sports fees, massage)
V10b: As far as possible, implementing projects developed by the taskforce for well-being at work to support the mental and physical health of employees.
V10c: Maintaining a positive atmosphere: developing our sense of community and being heard by organising events that are planned and implemented by the employees as a joint effort.
V10d: Teaching and other activities are developed communally.
V011: The internationalisation of the work community
Action V11: The internationalisation of the work community
V11a: Making a separate and more extensive version of the staff guide for international employees.
V11b: Encouraging the staff to participate in international conferences and exchanges of researchers and teachers with the help of our own internationalisation programme.
V11c: Support visits from foreign researchers and teachers to the department.
V11d: While renewing the department's website, updating all its pages in two languages.
3.2.1. Guidelines and plans for use of facilities
The department facilities are efficiently used. Since six new professors, along with their research groups, will start working at the department during the planning period, we will need more office space. In addition, the need for space varies according to season, with e.g. summer employees and visitors. We will react to the changes in the need for teaching spaces by e.g. reorganisation of rooms, which will increase the interaction between teachers and students on one hand, and between students on the other. The computer labs will be changed to more adaptable workshop spaces. We have asked the building management to improve certain teaching and lab facilities.
PART IV - MANAGEMENT AND SUPPORT
4.1. Outlines and goals
The management system of the department has been described in the department's quality manual, in chapter A.2 System of management.
The administration and support at the department are divided into four main areas: general administration (HR, finances), teaching administration, research administration, and IT administration. Each main administration area has a supervisor in charge of it under the supervision of the chair of the department, but with independent responsibility for their own area inside the department.
Goals for improving the administration and support of the department:
1. The support staff is well prepared for the university reform and the changes it will bring to their working environment
2. The support measures back up the internationalisation of the department
3. Forms of collaboration and peer networks will be developed
4. The IT management is well prepared for the ongoing development and changes in the field of information technology
4.2. Actions to attain our goals
The IT management is well prepared for the ongoing development and changes in the field of information technology
Action JT4: The IT management is well prepared for the ongoing development and changes in the field of information technology
JT4a: A matrix on the skills of the IT team will be compiled and used for an expedient revision of the duties of the IT support staff.
JT4b: The skills of the IT staff will be redirected into new projects, such as the management of the computation cluster and support of the global software laboratory, as well as to comply with the changes in the IT environment, such as increasing mobility and the significance of individual IT environments for the students.
JT4c: The processes of the IT management will be improved in cooperation with HIIT so that the IT staff of each unit can serve both units when necessary.
The support measures back up the internationalisation of the department
Action JT2: The support measures back up the internationalisation of the department
JT2a: The administrative staff is encouraged to participate in training that supports the internationalisation of the department, e.g. through language courses and the training and information events offered by the international services of the university.
JT2b: The department organises training for the support staff in Kumpula as needed.
JT2c: A liaison for international staff has been appointed in the administrative team to work closely with the international services of the university.
The support staff is well prepared for the university reform and the changes it will bring to their working environment
Action JT1: The support staff is well prepared for the university reform and the changes it will bring to their working environment
JT1a: We will prepare for the changes brought by the university reform through training of the staff and reforming the procedures and duties of the administration.
JT1b: The support staff will participate actively in training in their own administrative fields as well as more general administrative training and informational meetings.
JT1c: The duties of the administrative team will be reorganised so that all team members have as pleasing a list of duties as they can while the duties are handled efficiently and professionally. The efficient workings of the administrative team will be ensured during absences and illnesses.
Developing collaborations and peer networks
Action JT3: Developing collaborations and peer networks
JT3a: The administrative staff of the department is active in various peer networks inside the university, such as the networks and meetings of people in charge of finances and HR, organised by the faculty and service centre.
JT3b: The department administration has taken the initiative to develop new and expedient routines and forms of collaboration to strengthen the cooperation with the service centre, especially.
JT3c: The department pilots the budgeting cooperation with the project services of the Kumpula service centre when it comes to external funding.