Tallinn University development plan

I Introduction

The School of Governance, Law and Society contributes to Tallinn University’s mission as the promoter of intelligent lifestyle by being a competence centre for social sciences and the beacon of Estonian social thought, and by striving to become one of the leading knowledge centres of the Baltic Sea states.

The School holds the competences of political sciences, international relations, law, sociology, social work, population and future studies. The academic synergy arising from this interaction ensures competitiveness both on national and international level.

In promoting research, development and educational activities, the School of Governance, Law and Society supports the quality of life of people, sustainable development of the society and open governance through a socially responsible approach by valuing research-basedness, professional skills, innovation, diversity, interdisciplinarity and co-operation.

The School leads the focus field of society and open governance, and contributes to university’s other focus fields. (Annex 2 to the university’s Development Plan).

In the years 2023- 2027, the School emphasises the following in its contribution to the society:

Democracy and governance
Our expertise helps to shape novel and sustainable solutions and practices in strengthening the capability of governance, politics and policy-making, quality of democracy, fundamental rights and democratic citizenship on national and local level.

Social protection system
We will help to develop research-based sustainable solutions that are socially innovative for the development of services and other interventions on the local, national and international level, through which people can cope better, involvement in the community, and the general well-being and quality of life will improve.

By monitoring, analysing and reflecting on demographic processes, developing databases and disseminating knowledge in co-operation with partners we will contribute to knowledge- and evidence-based policy-making with a view to helping the society and people to better adjust to changes and reach the long-term development goals of Estonia.

Education and the labour market
We will help the strategic decision-makers to prevent the deepening of social inequality and related challenges by offering evidence-based knowledge and experiences in the organisation of work and lifelong learning into the decision-making processes on the local, national and international level, and in supporting social involvement over the whole lifecycle.

Legal system
We will contribute to the development of Estonian legal system primarily through the competence of international and EU law. We will direct knowledge transfer horizontally to the general principles and specific measures of ensuring the society’s development of the exercise of fundamental rights.

We will open the meaning and importance of human-centred security to the Estonian society. We will contribute to a wider and more coherent interpretation of security, and support more sustainable approaches to security, which emphasize the importance of preventive policies.

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

1. High-level research and creative work for Estonia

1.1. The School of Governance, Law and Society develops the interdisciplinarity and sectoral diversity of RDC activities

Interdisciplinary approach where diversity has been taken into account is a prerequisite for solving the problems and challenges of the society. The sector-specific view is always amplified in a wider context. The ability to see and develop links between different sectors is of critical importance in the development of social sciences. 

In the years to come, we will pay special attention to the development of the focus field “Society and open governance”, and research and development of professional research and areas of responsibility. We will strengthen the co-operation between the School’s research groups and links with the other focus fields of TLU, co-operation clusters. We will set a goal to develop sustainable national and international consortia and professional networks. We will prioritize the new generation of researchers, promote research infrastructure and strengthen the support system in order to build academic capacity.

2. Life-changing learning experience and education matching future needs

2.1. The School of Governance, Law and Society offers research-based sustainable education that supports the development of T-shaped skills

The society increasingly demands knowledge that is deep and extensive at the same time. Strengthening the T-shaped skills helps to raise more sustainable and innovative graduates who can take into account the needs of the real world, not just one speciality.

One of the most important goals of teaching and learning of the following five years is the development of studies on the basis of the labour market needs and contemporary approaches to teaching and learning. To this end, we will strengthen the connection with employers, create new flexible learning possibilities and increase the interdisciplinarity of studies. Attention is focused on ensuring a more research-based education, modernising the learning environment and improvement of the support processes, taking into account the needs of different target groups.

3. A smart and valued organisation

3.1. The School of Governance, Law and Society functions as a coherent, attractive and modern organisation

The effective functioning of an organisation provides a basis for other activities. Therefore, developing and enhancing the capacity of the organisation must be the first step for empowering the educational, research and development activities of the School of Governance, Law and Society.

As regards organisational development, the School of Governance, Law and Society places the main emphasis in the following five years on the development of a workload calculation and employment relations model which would take into account the whole set of research, educational and administrative as well as partnership and development activities. The focus will also be set on shaping an interdisciplinary work culture. We will also intensify relations with the alumni and widen the networks of experts in order to build the research and development capacity of the School of Governance, Law and Society.

3.2. The School of Governance, Law and Society is a reliable partner to employers and strategic decision-makers, recognised in the society

The ultimate aim of research and education is to contribute to the development of the society. Students wish for an education that ensures a good and sustainable career. Employers need people who are able to contribute independently and strategically, as menial jobs will increasingly be automatized. Policy-makers gain from a partner who can see the wider picture and longer future perspective in order to make sustainable decisions. By ensuring a functioning organisation, contributing to the development of T-shaped skills and advocating research-basedness, the School of Governance, Law and Society is a reliable partner for the society.

The aim of the years to come is to create a strategy for action to develop and maintain partnerships with the private and public sector. We will develop target group-based value propositions and increase the mutual mobility between the academia and other sectors. Our goal is to make the knowledge of the School of Governance, Law and Society more visible in the academic circles and for the wider public, and increase the research-basedness of policy-making.