Towards Better Academia: Strategic Leadership and Experiences of Academic Community During the Tampere3 University Merger

This research project explores foundations of Finnish higher education policies and analyzes policies’ application in university practices. We focus on questions of university democracy and autonomy. More precisely, we dive into strategic leadership and experiences of academic community during Tampere3 university merger. This research project develops constructive alternatives for future universities and higher education policies. The project is lead by docent Hanna Kuusela (PI) and funded by KONE Foundation, Finland. POISED members Tuomas Tervasmäki and Tuukka Tomperi take part in this research project.

More info can be found from the project’s webpage:


Kuusela, H., Kaleva, V., Tomperi, T., Poutanen, M. & Tervasmäki, T. (2021). Korkeakoulupolitiikan muuttuvat valtasuhteet Suomessa. Säätiöyliopiston synty ja kamppailu yliopistodemokratiasta. Politiikka 63 (2), 158–187.

Poutanen, M., Tervasmäki, T. ., & Harju, A. (2021). Katse sisäänpäin: Yliopisto­reformin organisatoriset jännitteet koti­etnografian silmin. Tiede & Edistys, 46(1-2), 28–46.

Mikko Poutanen , Tuukka Tomperi , Hanna Kuusela , Veera Kaleva & Tuomas Tervasmäki (2020): From democracy to managerialism: foundation universities as the embodiment of Finnish university policies, Journal of Education Policy,

The project’s first research report Kenen yliopisto? Tampereen yliopiston henkilöstön näkemyksiä yliopistojen johtamisjärjestelmistä ja itsehallinnosta (In English: Whose university is it? Tampere University staff views on university leadership structures and university autonomy) was released on September 2019. It can be found in TREPO (open access). Updated 2nd edition of the report includes an extended English summary.

English introduction: This report offers insights into the opinions of the staff of Tampere University regarding university autonomy, the ideal constitution of the University Board, and the process by which the University leadership is appointed. The report is based on the survey conducted at Tampere University in the spring of 2019 by two separate research projects. The response rate to the survey was high – almost half (49%) of the staff employed at Tampere University at the time of survey. The respondents also represented both of the former merged institutions almost equally, and most faculties were also evenly represented. This report offers the latest research data on how the staff perceives changes in university management brought about by the 2009 University Act reform.