Dear students,

by the end of April, we are getting somewhat used to the new reality. Although similarly to the student body as a whole, we at the Union also feel tense and tired, we have created a routine for ourselves and redesigned our workflow to allow us to continue representing

students even in this peculiar situation. April is the busiest month of the year for us for another reason – we must find successors to our great reps and recruit almost 150 new people. Let’s take a look at everything we have been up to during the past month.

Gathering feedback to e-learning

From the beginning of the state of emergency until mid-April, we were busy gathering feedback to e-learning. Altogether, the opinions of more than 500 students reached us. We believe that thanks to diligent subject-based student organisations and student activists, the call to provide input for improving the quality of studies reached an even wider audience. The most common problems we also forwarded to the university administration, Institute Heads and Programme Directors.

The unexpectedly increased workload that is exhausting and can lead to burnouts

Of special concern were:


Unclarity in study organisation

A lack of online seminars and teaching methodology promoting interactive discussions

We urge you to let us know what the situation is like now and notify us of any remaining concerns. During these times, we’ve realised more than ever before that improving study quality is dependent on the constructive cooperation of teachers and learners and we hope that the state of emergency helps both sides see the other’s perspective — we are all adapting and doing our best.

Graduation

It is quite likely that those students meant to graduate this year are worried about making the graduation day special. Although no physical graduation ceremonies will be held to keep us all happy and healthy, we are doing our best to design virtual ceremonies that are festive and serve as the symbolic milestone you deserve.

PhD reform

In addition to the study organisation topics related to the state of emergency, we also spent a considerable amount of time on discussing PhD Studies. At the beginning of the month, the Ministry of Education and Research came out with their reform plans. On 6 April, we held a discussion evening on the topic with UT´s Head of HR Kristi Kuningas and Vice Rector for Research Kristjan Vassil. Due to these proposed changes, we have provided feedback to the UT career model which makes promotions easier and is supposed to urge young researchers to stay in academia. If you want to chime in on these topics, let us know.

How can you contribute?

We finally made it to the most important bit: if you feel that You have the enthusiasm to stand for the well-being of your peers and achieve something already during your studies, then run to become a student representative! You will be rewarded with valuable contacts, a large group of friends and experiences valuable later in life. So how can you sign up?

  • The end of the application period is 8 May at 23:59.
  • You can apply for both your institute and faculty student council. Read more here.
  • If the thought of going through this process alone seems scary, have a friend join you and give it a shot together. You can always ask us for additional details on what the experience is like.
  • Why should you apply? Just read what our current reps think!

“I feel that this has really broadened my horizon, I´ve learned a lot about the university as a whole.”

Linda Tender, student representative in the Faculty of Arts and Humanities and in the College of Foreign Languages and Cultures.

“Every student gets to provide valuable input for making the university better and no one should be afraid of speaking their mind.”

Merli Ilves, Faculty of Science and Technology, representative in the Institute of Ecology and Earth Sciences.

“Being a representative has given me the chance to have a say in developing my own curriculum and designing a brand new study programme.”

Mona Sõukand, Faculty of Social Sciences, representative in the Institute of Social Studies.

“Joining the Student Union is a great way to develop as a person and achieve something already during your studies.”

Darja Sotnikova, representative in the Faculty of Medicine.

After the application period, you have another task and responsibility – you must decide who are the best people to represent your interests in your institute and faculty. Keep an eye on our info channels and stay up to date!

Discussion evening

On 4 May at 4 PM, we will meet to have a virtual discussion evening on the UT feedback system. Think about the questions you are puzzled about and want others to chime in on – maybe you’ve been discussing the anonymity of confidentiality of feedback, maybe you would like to learn, how to better give and receive feedback. 

No previous knowledge is required and both those who want to simply listen and muster up courage to engage later and the out-spoken are more than welcome. Synchronised translation from Estonian into English will be provided. Notify us of your attendance by emailing tyye@ut.ee See more here.

What we do seems cool? Very soon you can join UTSU too! Read more here.

Best wishes,
UT Student Union