Forerunner Magazine: The university of applied sciences has earned its place


​In the early 1990s, National Board of Education Director General Aulis Pitkälä served as City of Vantaa Deputy Mayor, Culture and Education Department. He was charged with establishing a university of applied sciences in Uusimaa.

The Vantaa university of applied sciences trial was launched in 1991. The first phase of the trial included Mercuria Business College, Tikkurila Vocational College, Vantaa Handicrafts and Art College, Vantaa Social Welfare College and Vantaa School of Nursing. However, soon after this, the goal changed to expanding the trial beyond Vantaa.

- The task of establishing a broad-based university of applied sciences was then assigned to me, and I spent a lot of time going through vocational education providers throughout Uusimaa, explains Aulis Pitkälä, who had served as Deputy Mayor, Culture and Education Department at that time.
- After going through a number of different phases, we finally got Espoo to join, thus allowing us to really get down to work on building the EVAMK University of Applied Sciences. It was also then that I was made the first Chairman of the Board.

Many issues to tackle

According to Pitkälä, the new university of applied sciences was started from scratch and there were a number of issues to be tackled. The first of these was choosing the company type.

- At first, we thought it should be a limited liability company. This wasn't very common at the time, but there was no desire to establish a foundation or municipal education and training consortium, explains Pitkälä.

There were a number of other decisions to be made, such as what type of administration the university of applied sciences would have, what kinds of degrees would be given, how and where education would be provided. In the beginning, the idea was that the university administration should be as streamlined as possible and operations would be run primarily in leased facilities. In addition to this, several practical matters needed to be addressed, ranging from making leasing agreements to the procurement of IT services and hiring of personnel.

In 1996, Pentti Rauhala was appointed rector of EVAMK. Pitkälä considers Rauhala's contribution to be significant, particularly as the developer of an operating culture for a new university of applied sciences.

- We were very fortunate to get Pentti Rauhala as our President. His professional expertise and personality were crucial when we were considering what kind of operating culture - a way of doing things - we wanted to create for the school, recalls Pitkälä.

Read the whole article in the latest issue of Forerunner Magazine here.

Modified 6/14/2016 4:11 PM

​Aulis Pitkälä, Director General, National Board of Education