UTSU in September

The Student Union’s mission is still and always to protect the interests of the students. We are continually participating in all the decision-making bodies of the university, in order to guarantee that the regulations and decisions that affect the students are student-friendly. We want the students to maintain their will to study.

We value the student representatives, because without them our sight and hearing would be limited. We organise events and recognise our members, because we want the representatives to maintain their will to represent.

We have also expanded our team. We have brought in a translator, who is helping us in our communication with the international students and a development advisor, who will be busy with organising nice and engaging events. In addition to these people joining the team, there has also been a change. The former policy advisor Marge Vaikjärv, who has been with UTSU for many years, received her PhD this year and has moved on to new and exciting challenges, so we now also have a new policy advisor.

Marlen Laanep

Marlen Laanep

Marlen is helping the Office with various translating assignments and, wherever necessary, with synchronised translating as well.

Õnnely Roos

Õnnely Roos

Õnnely supports the Board and representatives in representing students and shaping education policy

Kristin Nugis

Kristin Nugis

Kristin is a part of the Philosophy and Semiotics Institute’s Student Council and from now on also a part of the UTSU Office as the development advisor

WORK AND FUN

UTSU’s Student Parliament Meeting

The first meeting of the new composition for the Student Parliament took place on the 10th of September, where the members met each other and set the dates for future meetings. Thanks to the decision to add a translator to the student union from this year forth, it was made possible to also include the international students in the work of the Student Parliament.
The Student Parliament consists of the members of the Faculty Student Councils. Find your faculty and feel free to contact them if you sense a problem in the university that goes throughout your faculty.

Funding of Higher Education

On the 14th of September we joined a protest at Toompea with EÜL, The Council of Academic Unions, Estonian Trade Union Confederation, Estonian Science Shop and other student unions and demanded the increase of the funding of science to 1% and the funding of higher education to 1,5% of the GDP. In his speech at the protest, UTSU’s chairperson emphasised the irreplaceable importance of science and higher education in handling the coronavirus crisis.

The 29th of September brought joyful news. The government’s draft budget for 2021 is planning to raise the funding of science to 1% of the GDP and an increase in funding for higher education.

“Increasing the financing of science to 1% of the GDP is an important milestone and with reaching it we confirm that knowledge and smart solutions are being held in high regard in Estonia,” said the Minister of Education and Research Mailis Reps.

UTSU in the Decision-Making Bodies of the University

In the middle of September we discussed the Senate’s materials with the Rector’s office: the fulfillment of the development plans for the faculties, the Rector’s office’s performance targets and the overview of the surveys about leadership and work satisfaction. We brought attention to the importance of adhering to the university’s corona rules, making masks available and creating digital learning opportunities first and foremost in lectures that have a big amount of participants. The Vice Rector for Academic Affairs promised to consider placing courses with many participants under special attention.

In the Senate we initiated a discussion about the reimbursement of studying fees. We made a proposal to exempt students from paying their tuition fees if they’re studying full-time on an Estonian curriculum not only if they have a disability, but also if they have a partial or complete incapacity for work. The proposal was rejected this time, but it was promised to put it back on the table once they have done a more specific costs analysis.

UTSU Development Group

In order to have some fun times together in addition to the more serious moments, we have an UTSU development group that organises the event series “UTSU presents”. The event series consists of exciting talks, board games and movie nights. And the corona virus will not stop us – on the last Wednesday of every month it is possible to spend some fun time together virtually as well!

Communications’ Working Group

Since most of the student union’s messages are more practical than entertaining, it can be complicated to reach students through platforms not linked to their studies, like social media. This is why the communications’ working group has taken up the task to physically place UTSU in all the study buildings. You’ll see!

The Study Quality Working Group

Online learning, distance learning, e-learning, virtual studies, hybrid studies, web-based studies… Does this ring a bell? Then join us! This semester we are focusing on new study solutions, but we will also look at everyday problems like non-transparent grading or the absence of masks in practical lessons. We will work with attesting and peer-reviewing, but sometimes we will also just eat pizza and discuss all the issues that need fixing in the university.

The International Students’ Working Group

The goals and tasks of the international students’ working group are more challenging
than ever, due to the fast-changing pandemic situation. The main goal is to create clarity in the confusing messages coming from the state and to support the foreign students in their challenges. We also exchange experiences in grading English curricula and try our best to guarantee a high level of study quality in all parts of the university.

The PhD Students’ Working Group

While their PhD studies are a topic in the far distance for many, UTSU has taken the PhD students into their focus this year. Due to the upcoming reforms on the university and state level, now is the best time to have a say in the matter. At their meetings the working group has so far dealt with the results of last year’s feedback survey, in order to see changes taking place at a grassroots level.

Fall Workshop

A sense of camaraderie plays an important part in making teams work and in order for it to continue, we occasionally organise workshops with the student representatives, where we work hard and play hard. The two days spent at Sokka holiday resort were full of lectures about digital development, the environment, international students, mental health and the students’ views and positions, but also various sports and social activities. A sense of belonging is guaranteed for at least four months now!

ONGOING AND UPCOMING

Learning Outcomes Show You the Way

Why do you have to read hundreds of pages of difficult scientific articles, write tens of essays and research papers, and have endless discussions at seminars? It’s easier to do all of this, if we know what is the point of it all. In order to know what are the goals of our activities and what we gain from them, every subject and curriculum has its own learning outcomes: the knowledge, skills and attitudes that we wish to acquire through learning.
The learning outcomes project spans across semesters and is led by the project manager and UTSU alumni Marge Vaikjärv, who has taken up the task of explaining to the students what exactly is the nature of studies that are learning outcomes based via series of articles and talks. Feel free to read the first article
“Õpiväljund näitab teed” and keep an eye on all the UT magazine’s issues up to January. In order to participate in the talks check UTSU’s information channels.

UTSU’s Survey

How much does a student know about the activities of the student union? What brings them to seek help from UTSU? Why don’t they seek help from UTSU? How many student representatives can they have and who can they be? We don’t know. That is why UTSU is starting up a multi-month survey, where we will try to find answers to these exact questions. Keep your eyes open and be prepared to introduce your viewpoints to us!

LEISURE

Disc golf and Sauna Evening

The staff of UTSU’s Office try to fit some rest and relaxation into their schedules that are otherwise full of intense work and participate each month in something that one of us engages in and would like to introduce to the others as well. This time we met in Elva for a small disc golf and sauna evening. Our marketing and communications specialist Silja is a real disc golf fan. If only she’d have more spare time, she’d probably live between those goal baskets. From the drive of her passion she introduced the basics of the game to the entire team, and we had a go in a friendly competition. In order to make sure that our otherwise unused muscles wouldn’t be sore later on, we also had a nice relaxing sauna. What new and exciting things will the next activity bring, we will just have to wait and see!