Jari Iisakkala leads the Faculty of Service Business

Jari Iisakkala started as the Dean of the Faculty of Service Business at the beginning of April. Iisakkala feels enthusiastic about his new position and is pleased with the growing appreciation of SAMK, which has taken place in the region in recent years.

23.5.2019 | By: Aino Pelto-Huikko | Photo: Anne Sankari

ri Iisakkala pyöräilee usein töihin. | Jari Iisakkala often rides a bike to work.
ri Iisakkala pyöräilee usein töihin. | Jari Iisakkala often rides a bike to work.

– When I heard I was selected, I started very intensely to study how Service Business is doing at the moment. Based on indicators and the gut feeling I had, I can say that Service Business is doing fine, Iisakkala states.

“Very intense” describes Iisakkala´s style of doing things: after consideration, he acts fast and throws himself into whatever interests him.

Iisakkala was chosen to the position from the post of Chief Digital Officer at SAMK. Previously he worked as Director for Higher Education Services and Dean of Faculty.

What are your plans now that you have started in a new position?

For example in Business Administration education it is worth considering what new contents we could have – what would interest the applicants. The same applies to Tourism education and its appeal: it has decreased nationwide. It is possible that climate awareness affects young people, as air travel has become “demonized” in the media. However, Tourism at SAMK has a strong emphasis on sustainable local and nature tourism; let´s hope young people will notice it.

The degree programme in Entrepreneurship and degree programme in International Tourism Development in English are new, and their early stages look good. Multiform education attracts applicants, both for Bachelor´s and Master´s degree studies. Is this the direction to invest in from now on? Besides new contents, e.g. software robotics and online shopping, the whole faculty needs to ponder new and flexible ways of providing education.

What are you proud of?

I´m proud of the appreciation of SAMK in the region, which has grown immensely since I started 12 years ago – and having had the chance to be involved in it. I´m also proud that SAMK has managed well despite huge financial cuts. There are several individual reasons to be proud of: for example RDI activities are fantastic nowadays: all the academies, laboratories, simulators etc.

Where do you want to invest in?

For me, the most important thing is that the personnel of Service Business would feel that I´m here for them, that I try to help in every matter that I can affect and where my competence is useful. I can get very little done alone but with 40 – 50 people a lot.

Actually, on a daily basis I reflect on the future and development. It´s generating ideas, personnel planning form the perspective of competence, project matters, stakeholder group cooperation: what ideas and opinions the companies in the field have about the competence needs of the work force. Everything affects degree programme contents and the implementation of SAMK strategy.

What inspires you?

Reaching the objectives. They need to be set so high that you have to make an effort and develop operations and people, but not so high that trying to reach them feels like a joke.

The Ministry sets the major objectives because that´s where the financing comes from. You have to constantly keep in mind that what is done, is done according to those objectives. Expectations keep coming from many directions: students, enterprises in the region and other employers, personnel, colleagues, the Board of SAMK, the superior.

What makes you happy?

When someone succeeds in their work. It may be a minor or major success. Many kinds of things: a friendly smile or a good conversation, even minor things.

What kind of a man are you and how do you recharge your batteries?

I´m a father of three teenagers, a husband and an owner of two hunting dachshunds. A busy job and three teenagers require recharging. Physical exercise helps me to keep fit, at the moment it´s orienteering and commuting by bike. From September to February it´s hunting with dogs, and soon after into the woods with a map.

What should everyone do at least once in their lifetime?

Something you have always wanted to do but haven´t done, knowing that it should be done. Something you have thought, hesitated, feared, dreaded or felt ashamed of. To go above and beyond, to stick your neck out. It may be meeting with someone you have fallen out with. Or doing a task you´ve been avoiding, getting a new competence or making a journey you haven´t had the courage to make before. Everyone has their own thing, all have something for sure.

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