Sanni Tiitinen has been an active force within the Finnish Union of University Researchers and Teachers, both on the local and union level. She is the President of the Tampere University Association of Researchers and Teachers and also the new Vice President of the Board of the Finnish Union of University Researchers and Teachers. She is proud that she can contribute to making working possibilities and conditions better and fairer for academics nationwide.
1. Who are you and what is your task within FUURT?
My name is Sanni Tiitinen, and I am an academic living in Tampere. Currently, I work as a Postdoctoral Research Fellow for the Faculty of Social Sciences at the University of Tampere. I defended my thesis in the field of social psychology in 2015 and conducted research work that focused on social interaction within various situations related to working life. My current research project examines empowerment within coaching for the intermediate labour market. My work also involves teaching and supervising those working on their theses for a master’s or doctorate degree.
I am an active contributor on the local level as President of the Tampere University Association of Researchers and Teachers and on the union level as Vice President of the Union Board.
2. How do you view the activities of the Union from your own perspective as VP on the Union Board and as President of the Tampere University Association of Researchers and Teachers?
I originally heard about the association’s work from my colleague, and it felt important to be part of a group which actively deals with current issues that concern my own workplace. I ended up as President of the association nearly by chance, but it has been an extremely inspiring and meaningful task. There is a great spirit of co-operation within the association!
I have only been in the position of VP of the Union Board for a few months, but it’s already clear that it will offer me an excellent vantage point and opportunity to affect the working conditions of academics. It also provides a great opportunity to get acquainted with the active members of FUURT all over Finland.
3. What topical issues are currently on your desk?
As President of the Tampere University Association of Researchers and Teachers, my work currently consists of regular association activities related to the preparation work for the spring meeting. I am right now preparing a supplementary budget proposal to utilise the funds saved last year due to the pandemic. The proposal will be presented to the spring meeting participants.
The autonomy report of the Ministry of Education and Culture has been heavily discussed both on the local and union level since the start of the year. This work will continue with us gathering information and discussing the current state of the rules of procedure and election guidelines of the different universities. I am especially interested and looking forward to this investigation and comparison work.
4. What does it mean to you to have an active role in FUURT and of which aspects of your work are you especially proud?
I originally applied to study in the field of social sciences and wanted to become a researcher because I had a desire to improve the world. The same modest goal still drives my activities in FUURT. The cultures and structures for scientific discovery have been plagued by elements that do not create a favourable foundation for sustainable and humane scientific work, such as continuous competition and pressure concerning funding, short work periods and accomplishments. As an active contributor to the Union, I am proud to be part of smaller and larger actions that endeavour to make working possibilities and conditions better and fairer for academics nationwide.
5. What do you do during your free time?
During my free time, I enjoy yoga and jogging with my spouse and two Labrador retrievers, Reku and Kerttu. Our cat, Selma, also helps me to relax at home and she’s always ready in position waiting to be scratched. My newest hobby is creative writing, which provides a wonderful counterbalance to academic writing and its rules. Currently, I am working on a series of sci-fi inspired short stories in which I examine the world and relationships between people from a social psychological perspective. I am also a huge fan of the theatre, and I am really looking forward to the theatres opening up again.
Photo: Jonne Renvall / University of Tampere
The Five questions article series takes a peek at the everyday operation of the Finnish Union of University Researchers and Teachers through Union personnel and member association activists.