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Timo Mattila, Vice President for Education: We are here for our students to get along in life

Timo Mattila started as Vice President for Education at SAMK at the beginning of the year. This brought him many new fields to lead. Mattila finds learning interesting and highly addictive. He also has a surprising vice – or is it a virtue?

31.1.2019 | By: Anne Sankari | Photo: Anne Sankari

Timo Mattila opetuksen vararehtori SAMK
Timo Mattila siirtyi opetuksen vararehtorin tehtäviin Palveluliiketoiminnan osaamisaluejohtajan paikalta.

Timo Mattila is a lawyer turned pedagogue, who has experimenting with new ideas and developing activities close to his heart. Maybe the following tells something essential about him:

– We are here for our students to get along in working life. When I grasped this in the mid-2000s, it´s been a lot easier to realize one´s own doings and role.

What´s on the mind of the new Vice President when taking up the post?

I hope that after having been in education and education administration for a long time I can help in the dialogue between the matrix and the faculties. It sometimes feels as if we were speaking somehow different dialects. As a director you should be able to address everybody and make clear what is expected.

What makes you tick?

When I became a superior for the first time, I learned at Management (Specialist Qualification) training that well-being at work equals capacity to make profits. So it motivates me when there´s a feeling that we´re doing fine – after we´ve done something new and maybe have been out of our comfort zone. Usually when something is done in a new way, it hurts for some time.

What´s the best thing about SAMK?

SAMK is an opportunity. SAMK is the best workplace I´ve had. Developing yourself and your professional skills is possible for everybody at SAMK and when you really dedicate yourself into something, it may become a success story for the whole of SAMK.

What do you think of learning?

It´s a full-time activity. A human being learns all the time. Our role is to help our customers work and with pedagogy professionals to learn faster than without guidance. Learning in itself is really addictive; it´s great when you notice you´re starting to learn and your own views change.

Where do you want to invest in?

We know that the number of young people is decreasing and the Ministry of Education and Culture has outlined that our mission is not to educate degree students alone but for example assist companies in educating their employees. At University of Applied Sciences Conference organized in Pori last May, the Minister of Education stated that further education of a million Finns is not a single performance but a change of paradigm. It´s up to all of us to ponder how to act in this new situation. How do we develop our own competence and activities?

What brightens up your day every day?

There are nice people and a cosy atmosphere at all the campuses. People help each other, there´s always someone who gives advice and guides you. A general feeling is that people don´t hesitate to say what they think.

What irritates you?

Last year I read the self-evaluations of all the degree programmes. What I wished to have read was a more courageous approach to possibilities that exist outside this house. The whole world needs to be educated. How do we seize the opportunity? For sure there is a market segment out there that looks like us, as long as we recognize the needs of the customers and seize the opportunities.

What kind of a man is our Vice President? How do you recharge your batteries?

I always say I´m an icecreamaholic…For me a Dry January means that I don´t have ice cream or chocolate. I can easily eat a litre of ice cream in the evening but I´ve decided to cut down on it. Somehow I can´t believe that it´s only good for me.

We have a training ring with some of my childhood friends, and we always send a message when one of us has done any kind of sports performance. The others of course admire this. The major celebration is the annual Jukola relay, which we´ve participated in since upper secondary school times. The speed is not the most important thing, it´s the atmosphere that matters and being a part of it, a big event with challenging enough tracks.

I do 90 percent of the sports with my spouse. We often go for a run in total silence but it´s good for the brain and helps put things into perspective.

What should everybody do at least once in their lifetime?

Run a marathon.

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