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Rector Jari Niemelä to go on sick leave: The Rector’s letter to the University community

Dear members of the University community,

Life is full of surprises, and unfortunately not all of them are pleasant. I have been diagnosed with tumour. My treatment will begin next week.

During my sick leave, my duties as rector will be handled by Vice-Rector Sari Lindblom, as decided by the Board. Some of Sari’s duties will be temporarily delegated to the other vice-rectors: Tom Böhling, Paula Eerola and Hanna Snellman. Further information about the distribution of duties between the leadership can be obtained from Esa Hämäläinen, director of administration.

This spring, we will face two major tasks. We have just launched the process for preparing the University’s new strategic plan, determining the University’s direction until 2030. This spring, we will analyse changes in the University’s environment from the perspective of both faculties and the University’s various operations. The bulk of this work will be done by units and committees.

Another major issue for this spring will be the Finnish parliamentary election. We have together outlined the University’s objectives for the next government programme and communicated them throughout the autumn to political parties, politicians and candidates. The work is now in its final stages. It is highly important that our lobbying continue throughout the spring, for universities are an investment in the future. I hope all members of the University community will remind voters and candidates of this fact, through, for example, the #ResearchMatters (#siksitiede) campaign.

Last autumn, my work with the University community and the Board got a great start. The vice-rectors and I make a good team with a culture of openness and a strong commitment to building a better future for our University.

I will participate in the work this spring as much as my treatment allows. I know I will receive the best possible treatment at Meilahti Hospital. I am confident that I will be able to participate fully in the preparation of the University’s new strategic plan later this spring.

Together we will pull through this spring.

Jari Niemelä