University of Oulu, 2016

Cooperation negotiations at three research units proposed to the board of directors

The deans of the faculties of Education and Science as well as Oulu Business School are proposing to the university’s board of directors that cooperation negotiations be opened in one unit of each of their faculties.

The research units subject to the proposal are: Teachers, Teaching and Educational Communities (FEd), Astronomy (FSc), and Department of Economics, Accounting and Finance (OBS).

In regard to the units of the faculties of Education and Science, the action plans are motivated by the low number of completed degrees and the relative costliness of the degree programmes. The cooperation negotiations proposed for the Faculty of Education are directed at music education staff as well as music, instruments and singing instructors totalling 14 persons. The need for staff cutbacks in the unit is estimated to be up to 6 persons in total. The negotiations proposed for the Astronomy unit apply to all staff in the unit, 8 persons in total. The restructuring is not anticipated to result in lay-offs, but the options for consideration may include the discontinuation of fixed-term positions or redefinition of job descriptions.

The Department of Economics, Accounting and Finance unit seeks to achieve a more appropriate and flexible allocation of resources. The proposed cooperation negotiations apply to all staff members of the unit totalling 31 persons. The need for staff cutbacks in the unit is estimated to be up to 2 persons in total.

In the Teachers, Teaching and Educational Communities research unit there is a Music Education degree programme that provides music subject teacher education. In 2015–2018, on average 10 students per year graduated from the research programme, while the annual intake is 20 students. The education in music provided at the unit is expensive compared to other education in art and practical subjects due to a high ratio of individual and small-group instruction. In the minor subject of Music, instruction is provided for 1,140 hours, compared to 200 hours of supervised classroom teaching in other minors of the faculty. The highest unit prices of music courses are almost 20 times more expensive than other courses of the faculty.

The action plan is aimed at harmonising the instruction in Music Education with other instruction of the faculty, taking group sizes and teaching methods into account. Another aim is to modify the contents of the degree programmes to be more appropriate, evaluate the focus points of research and increase research activities.

The Astronomy research unit contributes to the organisation of education in the degree programme of Mathematical and Physical Sciences leading to a bachelor of science degree. Astronomy can be studied as a major subject in the master’s degree programme in Physical Sciences. The specialisation option results in few completed degrees. In 2014–2018, on average 0.8 master’s degrees with Astronomy as the major subject were completed annually.

The purpose of the action plan is to examine the position of Astronomy as a major subject (specialisation option). The aim is to enhance the efficiency of operations and to allocate resources appropriately.

The university’s board of directors last discussed the situation of the programmes of Music Education and Astronomy in 2016. In its meeting on 15 June 2016, the board of directors obligated the university to continue negotiations with other universities and institutes of higher education on the possibility of educational cooperation in these fields, but the negotiations did not lead to the necessary results.

The Department of Economics, Accounting and Finance research unit organises education in three degree programmes and, for its part, also in the Business School’s common bachelor’s degree programme. The three subjects of the research unit – Economics, Accounting and Finance – are closely linked. A new kind of allocation of activities could significantly enhance the efficiency of the use of resources and reduce overlap between the courses. The plan is to specify the contents of the degree programmes as well as reinforce and reassess the research focuses of the subject. Alongside this, the course offering of the unit can be allocated to correspond to the contents of the new degree programme and the resources of the research unit. 

Information sessions for staff were held at all three units during the afternoon of 31 January. The next information sessions for the staff of the three units will be held after the board meeting on Friday, 8 February.

The University of Oulu has eight faculties, which include a total of 66 research units. According to Section 12 of the administrative rules of the university, the dean manages the operations of the faculty and is responsible for the economical, efficient and cost-effective management of the faculty’s obligations.

Last updated: 12.2.2019