Tallinn University development plan

I Introduction

The Tallinn University School of Natural Sciences and Health (SNSH) is the competence centre of sectoral knowledge and experience. The mission of the SNSH is to create and share knowledge and expertise on natural and health sciences to promote people’s wellbeing and behavioural patterns conducive to wellbeing. The SNSH provides an inspiring working environment conducive to personal fulfilment to the members of the School. The SNSH is the leader in the fields of health behaviour, mental and physical wellbeing, adding value to natural resources, and adaptation to natural and social environmental change by offering degree studies and continuing education in these areas, and conducting fundamental and applied research.

The SNSH is the leader in the university’s focus field of healthy and sustainable lifestyle.

During the preparation of the development plan, the School assessed the following social problems and areas in which the School operates.

  • The deterioration of the mental and physical health of the population, spread of the risk factors resulting from the lifestyle. Challenges in forming health behaviour and ensuring wellbeing.
  • The lack of availability of the teachers of natural sciences and other specialised teachers and support specialists, competence only partially meeting the requirements and the increase in the number of learners with special needs.
  • Acceleration of natural and social environmental changes. Increase in the need for resilient coping with environmental changes, and the sustainable use and restoring of natural resources.

II The relevance of the goals of the unit to the strategic goals of the university

The SNSH supports the university’s strategic goals by promoting research and teaching in central subjects and competence centres to be developed (the competence centre of health behaviour, and mental and physical wellbeing, the competence centre of adaptation to natural and social environmental changes).

In setting the targets and for achieving the purposes, the SNSH co-operates with academic organisations, national authorities and municipalities, the private sector and professional organisations. The SNSH is an important partner in topical discussions and business cooperation for different organisations and the public.

High-level research and creative work for Estonia

The SNSH contributes to the adaptation to natural and social environmental changes through high-level research and knowledge transfer by primarily focusing on topics related to the management of and adding value to natural resources, sustainable planning and restoring, environmental stressors (war stress, pandemics, climate and environmental crisis, bullying at school and work, etc.) and the prevention of and coping with the consequences thereof (damage to mental and physical health, destruction of natural environment, rise in loneliness, insufficient social inclusion).

The SNSH searches for solutions and provides trainings to raise environmental awareness and shape sustainable behaviour, supported by intervention programmes, development of assessment tools, validation of new work and management models, development of product and service models, etc.

Life-changing learning experience and education matching future needs 

Building on the current topics and trends in the society, the SNSH modernises its study programmes and develops new micro degrees and continuing education trainings aimed at specific target groups, taking into account their needs as well as the needs of the society as a whole.

The SNSH integrates more critical thinking and analytical capacity, health education, development of future and coping skills, interdisciplinarity and co-operation skills into the educational activity. The School leads the activities of sustainability and green transition, and the preparation of teachers in the fields of natural sciences, technology and health.

The SNSH offers integration of flexible learning opportunities and forms, and supports the development of self-directed learners. The SNSH values the acquisition of intercultural competences and understanding the needs of target groups with special needs.

A smart and valued organisation 

To tackle the needs of the society, a healthy and sustainable organisation is necessary.

The SNSH implements an optimal management structure arising from the good management practice, and ensures a smooth exchange of external and internal information. The SNSH enhances the understanding of responsibility and academic freedom, and involves the staff in making strategic choices in the School. The SNSH takes into account teleworking and the influence of the workload on the quality of work and the employees (satisfaction, performance, etc.) in planning the workload. In the implementation of the activities, the SNSH enhances co-operation with the School’s students of different educational levels. 

The SNSH is a leader and role model in the introduction of the organisational culture where good management practice and equal treatment are valued, and in the activities supporting the mental and physical health of the employees. The SNSH develops the culture of helping and supports sustainable principles of activity in the School.