Tallinn University development plan

I Introduction

The Tallinn University School of Humanities (SH) is the leading centre for humanities in Estonia. Strong humanities intertwined with other disciplines and the development of cultural competences form an important pillar for the activity of Tallinn University as a whole.

The SH values research in and teaching of the Estonian language, culture, literature and history. We support and develop Estonian-language research and higher education, in a multilingual and multicultural context. We contribute to better knowledge in Estonia of different cultures and societies, and study and teach mostly Western European, Eastern European and Asian languages and cultures. We define and organise the teaching process in a creative and contemporary manner, and offer high-level teacher education in the humanities.

We consider the multiple analysis of cultural phenomena as of importance and develop interdisciplinary cooperation within the framework of integrated humanities. We see environmental and digital humanities, history, linguistics, translation and literary studies, and landscape and memory studies as our strengths.

In addition to active participation in the achievement of the university’s strategic goals, one of the main goals of the SH is the development of the Estonian language competence centre in the years 2023-2027; this is our contribution to the transition to education in Estonian language. We also focus on increasing international research capacity in environmental and digital humanities, comparative border studies and Eastern European studies.

II The relevance of the activities of the School of Humanities to the three strategic goals of the university

1. High-level research and creative work for Estonia

Description of the goal of the university: Tallinn University gives its contribution to Estonia’s ability to function as a smart, strong and creative society which can cope with the global tensions as well as with its own development needs. To this end, we carry out high-level basic and applied research, creative work, innovation and knowledge transfer, and contribute to the knowledge base of the Estonian way of life, Estonian language and culture, and more generally, to international research, creativity and innovation.

The SH contributes actively to high-level research and ensuring the sustainability of research. We support researchers in applying for research funding and promote the development of research groups. We focus on the basic and applied research in multiculturalism and multilingualism, and develop the domain of intercultural studies and integrated humanities. We also promote environmental and digital humanities; conduct landscape, urban and border studies, and historical and memory research, develop linguistics, translation and literary studies. We carry out scientific cooperation with our Estonian and international partners, and set the objective of taking the leading role in a higher number of consortia and networks.

We create and help to implement research-based solutions in Estonian society and internationally. To this end, we find cooperation possibilities with the public, third and private sectors, participate actively in cooperation between the schools, incl. in applying for grants from the EU structural funds, and set the objective of creating doctoral study places in knowledge transfer.

We pay more attention to the use of the arts and modern technologies in the humanities, and integrate artistic research in the educational and research activities of the SH. We value translating, curating exhibitions and literary creation, and relating them to research. We cooperate with memory institutions and other partners in the collection, digitisation, preservation and examination of the cultural heritage and data of Estonia.

We support the publishing of high-level research journals and scientific research in Estonian, writing of university textbooks, and value the publishing of scientific results in the Estonian language.

2. Life-changing learning experience and education matching the needs of the 21st century

Description of the goal of the university: Tallinn University is an innovative interdisciplinary university that creates academic conditions for the effective fulfilment of the learners’ potential. We create learning paths where personal needs are taken into account and which support the development of both expertise and the future skills. Learners acquire a transversal co-operation experience and can make use of their competences in dealing with issues that arise in their personal, professional and social life. Innovative capacity and the high quality of teaching and learning are supported by close relations with the alumni and employers, and by increasing learners’ freedom of choice and responsibilities. We promote evidence-based, reflexive and collaborative education in the university and in Estonia as a whole.

We contribute to the development of Estonian society through education. We offer in the SH education in the humanities, that develops both the future competences and professional knowledge. We define the future competences in the development of teaching and learning from the perspective of the humanities, and focus on shaping cultural awareness and critical thinking as well as on developing sustainability and digital skills. We enable students to develop diverse competences by creating shared modules with the study programmes of other schools.

We strengthen the substantive management of the School’s study programmes and develop the study programmes in accordance with the development of science, needs of the society and the labour market, and the feedback from the students and alumni. We develop the lecturers’ skills to support students with different backgrounds and increase the role of reflection in teaching and learning. We offer, where possible, participant-centred forms of study, refresh the methodological store of the lecturers and implement diverse ways of learning that suit the area of humanities (e.g. inquiry-based learning, blended learning, flipped learning, content and language integrated learning).

We make the content of the courses of the SH, the learning process and outcomes more creative, for instance, by varying assessment tools and teaching professional text creation. We create courses with a greater e-learning component and good quality video lectures, where appropriate. We develop micro degrees based on degree studies and e-learning micro degrees. We increase the number of students who have acquired international learning experience, implement new forms of mobility (e.g. combinations of physical and virtual study mobility), define and implement local possibilities of internationalisation, and advise students on graduation within the nominal period of studies.

We value multilingualism and shape good Estonian language skills in all study programmes of the SH. We aim at ensuring that the competence of the SH alumni is competitive on the labour market and the graduates are self-directed specialists who contribute to the society and promote their speciality.

3. A smart and valued organisation

Description of the goal of the university: Tallinn University is a place where people want to study and work. In developing the university, we aim for an organisation which supports engagement in global research, high-level teaching and learning, systemic working arrangements by which the potential of the members is exploited, high added value of the activity, and anticipating the needs of the society and flexibly adjusting to them in the best possible way. The university is an open organisation that functions purposefully, while constantly learning, offers new knowledge, skills and experiences, and can contribute to the development of Estonia reliably and with high quality.

We keep the School of Humanities viable and sustainable, its community of members cohesive and diverse. We analyse the organisational structure of the SH and contribute to the discussion over the structure of Tallinn University. We take action for keeping the financial situation of the School sustainable, salaries competitive, and the working and studying environment motivating. We develop actively the identity of the SH as the leading centre of humanities in Estonia and communicate it to the public.

We enhance inclusive, effective and value-based management; for example, we make sure that the management of the SH is transparent, and the goals and decisions are clear and implemented. We develop employees’ skills related to their positions, incl. managerial competence.

We contribute to the development of the university as a valued learning and workplace that meets today’s needs. We focus on ensuring the new generation of researchers and sustainability in the School. We involve employees who do not have the knowledge of Estonian language more effectively in the activities of the SH, support employees’ mentoring and Estonian language studies.

We aim at ensuring that the School as an organisation would be flexible, relate actively to changes in the external environment and contribute to solving social problems. We develop targeted co-operation with strategic partners both in the academic world and in the public, third and private sector. We develop co-operative relations with the alumni of the SH and take the necessary measures to ensure that our public communication reaches the necessary target groups.


III The goals of the School of Humanities

The goals of the SH focus on the development of fields across areas and centres on matters of social importance. We base our goals on the strengths of the School and develop our potential. We cooperate within the SH, with other schools and outside the university

1. Creation of the Competence Centre for the Estonian Language

We will group the activities related to Estonian language in the School and create the Competence Centre for the Estonian Language in order to study and develop the Estonian language, promote research in Estonian, and for the multifunctional preparation of the teachers of Estonian language and culture. We will conduct the teaching, studying and developing activities of academic Estonian, Estonian as the first and second language, and Estonian culture. We will help to prepare teachers and lecturers of Estonian language and culture who can cope well in a multicultural and multilingual working environment.

2. Development of Eastern European studies

We will develop the Eastern European studies into a more coherent field. We will enhance cooperation between the study areas of the SH, research centres and research groups with a regional focus, as well as with other schools and external partners. We will develop teaching in the field. We will focus on studying the multicultural local and regional history, memory and research tradition, and thereby
define urgent social problems.

3. Development of environmental humanities

We will enhance cooperation with the study areas of the SH, research centres and other schools in order to develop teaching of the environmental humanities, research in the synergies between the environment and the society, and thematic knowledge transfer. We will strengthen the competence and visibility of the environmental humanities of the SH in Estonia and internationally, and develop sectoral cooperation with the public and private sectors.

4. Development of European-Asian border studies

We will develop the interdisciplinary field of border studies to research bordering as an increasingly complex and nuanced process in the centre of the important global developments and events. We will bring together the research on borders and bordering across fields and specialities, and promote a multi-layered approach in research and in the public sphere.