Metropolia University of Applied Sciences Academic Year Opening Ceremony on September 10th, 2008.
Summary of President Riitta Konkola's opening speech
The Finnish higher education system has come to a turning point. Two institutions, our Metropolia and the upcoming Aalto-university exemplify the potential of those changes that are restructing the Finnish higher education system. Together Metropolia and Aalto University will form a pair that will further develop competition in the Helsinki area as well as in the whole country. At the same time -- and this applies to both of the sectors, universities and universities of applied sciences -- both institutions will be scrutinized very closely. Mere potential related to our size and location in Helsinki area place us under a magnifying glass. Relatedly, our stakeholders sure are paying attention to our capability of further cooperation between various fields and different sectors of higher education in ways that produce new expertise and innovations. We in Metropolia need to show that we are worthy of this interest. It will of course be a great challenge, but I am confident that we will succeed in making Metropolia an agent of change in the Finnish society and academic world.
The history of the Metropolia University of Applied Sciences goes back a couple years to two thousand and six, when two Universities of Higher Education, Evtek and Stadia, started negotiations on the fusion. As a result of those talks we set a goal of creating an international, competitive and innovation-oriented University of Higher Education. Actual groundwork for fusion was done in various workgroups and was led by Arvo Jäppinen, former Director General of Ministry of Education. The underlying principle of all the work was participatory development, that is, all the teams preparing principles for the new school, had student and faculty members from EVTEK and Stadia.
Our schedule for fusion was tight but we succeeded in it. In a year we had shaped the organizational structure and strategy, new brand and visual image, main processes, new curricula, and IT-services, among others. Today, when we are celebrating the official opening of this school year, Metropolia forms a unity that consists of 14 000 students, over a thousand faculty and staff members, and 61 programs spread out in Helsinki, Espoo and Vantaa. Our vision is ambitious but at the same time appropriate for an institution of our scale and importance: By 2012 we want to be the best University of Higher Education in whole Finland, working in the various networks linking working life and the educational system. We will be a multidisciplinary educational and research institution benefiting our students, faculty members, staff and surrounding region -- and in the end whole Finland.