Professor Peeter Tulviste passed away on Saturday, 11 March.

3 months 1 week ago
14.03.2017

It is with deep sadness that I have to inform you that Professor Peeter Tulviste, Rector Emeritus of the University of Tartu, passed away on Saturday, 11 March. We mourn the loss of a great scholar and a great man who served as the Rector of the University of Tartu from 1993 to 1998.

Peeter Tulviste was born on 28 October 1945. He graduated from the Tallinn Secondary School No. 10 in 1964 and earned his first degree in Psychology in 1969 from the Moscow State University. He continued his studies at the same university under world-renowned Professor Alexander Luria and went on to obtain his Candidate of Science degree (PhD) in Psychology in 1975 and Sc. D. in Psychology in 1987.

His entire academic career was devoted to the scientific research in psychology and training of psychologists. His contacts with the University of Tartu started already while studying and doing his research in Moscow. He began his academic career at Tartu in 1969 as a lecturer at the Chair of Psychology and Logic of the University of Tartu Faculty of History and Languages. He became associate professor in 1978 and full professor in 1988.

Tulviste’s main scientific interest was cultural psychology. As one of the world’s leading scientists in this field of research he helped to bring about a “cultural turn” in psychology. He supervised several doctoral dissertations and his research results have found their way into a wide range of international scientific publications.

Peeter Tulviste was elected as an academician of the Estonian Academy of Science in 1994 and served as its Vice-President from 1994 to 2004. Besides his academic work, he was always prepared to take on administrative roles at the university. From 1992 to 1993 he served as Vice-Rector for Research and from 1993 to 1998 as Rector of the University of Tartu. Since 2015 he was Professor Emeritus and Advisor to the Rector.

Peeter Tulviste’s contribution to the development of Estonia’s alma mater cannot be overestimated. As Rector he was an inspiring and demanding leader, a wise and principled reformer of the university. His time of office as Rector saw important structural reorganisations and dramatic expansion of the University’s international contacts and activities.

As a member of Pro Patria and Res Publica Union (Estonian: Isamaa ja Res Publica Liit) he served as the Chairman of the Tartu City Council (from 1999–2001) and was twice elected to the Estonian Parliament (from 2003–2011).

Peeter Tulviste was a member of numerous committees, foundations and associations. He was vice-president of the Estonian Research and Development Council from 1994–1998, and president and board member of the European Movement Estonia from 2000–2002. He was also a recipient of numerous awards and acknowledgements, including Sweden’s Royal Order of the Polar Star, 1st class (1995), Order of the National Coat of Arms, 3rd class (2006). Tulviste was Honorary Doctor of Voronezh State University and Medical Academy of Poland.

In his social responsibilities he was driven by a strong sense of mission and statesmanlike attitude. He will be fondly remembered for his innate friendliness and kindness in his public roles and interpersonal relationships.

The funeral service will be held on Saturday, 18 March at noon in the University Assembly Hall. A book of condolences will be available for signing until Friday, 17 March from 9 am to 4:30 pm at the Rector’s Office, and on Saturday in the foyer of the University Main Building before the funeral service.

Professor Volli Kalm

Rector of the University of Tartu

Category: University
Viivika Eljand-Kärp (viivikae)

Ambitious plan: let’s increase Estonian Wikipedia to one million articles!

3 months 1 week ago
14.03.2017

On today’s Mother Language Day, the comprehensive Wikipedia development project Million+ is launched, in which everyone who wants to contribute to the future of the Estonian language and culture can join.

Million+ is a collective initiative aiming to increase the textual content of the Estonian Wikipedia to one million articles and thereby create a substantial encyclopaedia for all Estonians. Wikipedia or free encyclopaedia is the most widely used source of general information, with encyclopaedic content created by volunteers. Although the need for a good and comprehensive encyclopaedia in Estonian is enormous, the current environment is still incomplete and in need for further development. Today the Estonian Wikipedia contains 155,000 articles and a great deal of this content has been created by just a few dozen people. In order to increase the number of wiki articles to more than a million, the University of Tartu and MTÜ Wikimedia Eesti invite all active people to create more articles to the web encyclopaedia and supplement the existing ones.

Sirli Zupping, lecturer in Estonian language of the University of Tartu, says it is important that all members of the society contribute to the development of the e-society, “In some respects, Million+ is like the web-based version of the “Let’s do it!” campaign, meant to tidy up information in the Estonian language. All Estonian universities should set the target that each student compile at least one wiki article during their studies. This would be a direct contribution to the society and clearly support the survival and further development of the Estonian science language.”

According to one of the initiators of this project, UT vice rector for academic affairs Mart Noorma, Million+ is an excellent undertaking aiming to involve the whole Estonian society and supplement the free web encyclopaedia. “Wikipedia is of particular importance in shaping the judgments of young people - if they cannot find an Estonian equivalent using the Google search and only the English Wikipedia offers solutions, it affects their opinion of the importance of their mother tongue,” said Noorma about the importance of the encyclopaedia in Estonian. “The terminology and considerable knowledge base of several disciplines has been gathered into universities and can be shared with Wikipedia with the help of students, lecturers and researchers. Also enterprises, organisations, institutions and schools have collected valuable professional and local historical information, which is worth adding to the web encyclopaedia,” says Noorma, inviting everyone to contribute to the project.

Million+ is a contribution to the future of the Estonian language and a gift to the 100th anniversary of the Republic of Estonia. As one of the first initiatives within the project, the digital education competition, which goes on until 1 June, has been launched to encourage the improvement of economy-related articles. Currently, Estonian University of Life Sciences, Swedbank and the Ministry of Education and Research participate in the project activities, but everyone who feels responsible for the preservation of the Estonian language is welcome to contribute.

The website of the programme can be found at www.miljonpluss.ut.ee.

Additional information: Sirli Zupping, UT Lecturer in Estonian Language, 737 6127, sirli.zupping [ät] ut.ee

Viivika Eljand-Kärp Press Officer of the UT Phone: +372 737 5683
Mobile: +372 5354 0689 E-mail: viivika.eljand-karp [ät] ut.ee
www.ut.ee

 

Category: Press release
Viivika Eljand-Kärp (viivikae)

People feel similar affection for mobile phones as for other people

3 months 2 weeks ago
09.03.2017

The master’s thesis “The Mobile Phone in the Hands of the Nepalese People: A Humanistic Perspective of Technology", defended in the Department of Ethnology of the University of Tartu in January, demonstrates clearly that the phone has become our inseparable companion, cure for loneliness and best friend.

According to the author of the thesis Merilin Piipuu, her aim was to study how people use and make sense of technology. “I was interested in how we relate to something or someone, but from the aspect of the person’s everyday experience rather than the experience of a user. Several philosophers and anthropologists like Martin Heidegger and Michael D. Jackson have argued that people relate to technology like to another living creature – one day we are in control, another time we are controlled,” said Piipuu.

Merilin Piipuu studied how people relate to mobile phones in 2014 in Nepal, which has undergone fast and dramatic technological progress in the last decade. Although the research focused on the experience of the specific people in their specific context, this approach will definitely give inspiration to other similar studies. During ethnographical fieldwork conducted in Nepal, the author assessed people’s experience in using the mobile phone. The study revealed that on the one hand, the Nepalese people regard the mobile phone as an everyday item that allows them to be more mobile and flexible and also to solve critical situations. On the other hand, the mobile phone is described as causing immobility and social detachment. “The mobile phone enables people to communicate and organise their life without virtually leaving home, but at the same time they are not really together with others at home, because while talking on the phone or using the phone, people shut themselves off from the surrounding social space,” explained Piipuu.

All participants in the study admitted that the mobile phone was controlling their life and they felt powerless against technological developments. For example, none of the researched individuals was capable of leaving home without the mobile phone and when they did, they felt a “part of them” was missing. This means that a mobile phone is not just a “part of the individual” but to some extent also has power over the person’s actions and behaviour. “When a person is alone, the phone is their best friend. The phone also plays a significant role in interpersonal communication. This gives the mobile phone an important emotional charge, which in turn means that people feel a similar affection for the phone as for other people. However, if the phone fails to subject to our control, it causes irritation, anger and the feeling of inadequacy,” said the author of the thesis about people’s emotional involvement with the everyday item.

Additional information: Merilin Piipuu, UT graduate (ethnology and folkloristics), piipuu [ät] gmail.com

Viivika Eljand-Kärp Press Officer of the UT Phone: +372 737 5683
Mobile: +372 5354 0689 E-mail: viivika.eljand-karp [ät] ut.ee
www.ut.ee

 

Category: Press release
Viivika Eljand-Kärp (viivikae)

Students expect a forward-looking rector with management experience

3 months 2 weeks ago
08.03.2017

The University of Tartu Student Council has asked the student body to express their ideas on what they expect of the rector. Above all, students want the university to be led by a person who is forward-looking and has a clear vision for both the society and the university.

Students believe that the University of Tartu can be a vehicle for societal development only in case action plans are made in the university which systematically develop the society. This concerns both the general development of the university and research, academic and business activities. The university is seen as an institution which is competent to critically assess the society and by its activities to develop such fields that are particularly important for the future. At the same time students expect the university to become more visible in the society and the rector as a spokesperson to contribute to public debate on important issues. “For example, if there is a public case in which the safety of a student is in question, the rector should be the one who sets the pattern by taking a clear moral position on what is and what is not tolerated in the University of Tartu,” said president of UT Student Council Reelika Alunurm.

Students also emphasise the importance of professional leadership. “It is undoubtedly important for the rector to have sufficient management experience, similarly to other public sector leaders. It is also important that if people assume difficult managerial responsibilities, it will also be taken into account in their teaching and research activities,” Alunurm communicated the students’ words and added, “Of course, it would be nice if the rector formed the Rector’s Office of the representatives of different faculties and competencies; this would allow attending to the specificities and needs of all faculties.”

Additional information: Reelina Alunurm, president of UT Student Council, reelika.alunurm [ät] ut.ee

Viivika Eljand-Kärp Press Officer of the UT Phone: +372 737 5683
Mobile: +372 5354 0689 E-mail: viivika.eljand-karp [ät] ut.ee
www.ut.ee

 

Category: UniversityPress release
Viivika Eljand-Kärp (viivikae)

University of Tartu is among world's top universities in 13 subjects

3 months 2 weeks ago
08.03.2017

Today the international consultation company Quacquarelli Symonds (QS) published its QS World University Rankings by Subject 2017, which ranks the world’s universities by 46 subjects. The University of Tartu is represented in the ranking with 13 subjects this year.

Similarly to last year, the highest-ranking is linguistics (101–150), and the same position is held by philosophy, which has re-entered the ranking list after 2015. These disciplines are followed by communication and media studies, represented in the ranking for the sixth year in succession, and archaeology (both on the position 151–200). Among five larger faculties, the highest position – 301st – is held by arts and humanities.

According to head of UT Institute of Philosophy and Semiotics Peeter Torop, such a high evaluation to the department of philosophy results from changes made in the entire institute in recent years. “In the course of the curricula reform we successfully launched the international master’s programme in philosophy, and improved our organisational culture. Job descriptions were prepared for programme managers and heads of departments, and in the department of philosophy, this means effective and meaningful cooperation between coordinators, programme manager and the head,” said Torop. “Philosophers belong among the most successful applicants for research projects in the Humanities and their publications are on a visibly high level. It is this visibility that brings young doctors of philosophy every year to Tartu to apply for post-doctoral studies,” the head of the institute pointed out factors that contribute to developing an excellent academic reputation. 

Besides producing the QS World University Rankings, QS has also ranked universities by subjects since 2011 – with the aim of providing the public with comparable information about the strengths of the universities at the level of single subjects. Therefore, it is not a uniform ranking, but 46 separate ones, in which the number of ranked universities varies by subjects from 50 (e.g. stomatology and veterinary medicine) to 500 (e.g. chemistry and computer science).

To compile the rankings, QS takes into account the university’s reputation among researchers and employers of the respective field and bibliometrical indicators (Elsevier’s bibliographical database Scopus is used as a source). The weight of the indicators also varies across subjects. For some subjects (e.g. arts and design) only reputation review results are taken into account, while bibliometrics has more weight in fields of science with larger publication volumes. For the 2017 rankings the data of 4438 universities was analysed. There are 1117 universities who are represented in at least one subject ranking list.

More detailed information about the methodology used for compiling the rankings is available on QS website at: www.iu.qs.com/university-rankings/subject-tables/

In the overall QS World University Rankings in 2016, the University of Tartu was ranked the 347th, which is the highest result achieved by an Estonian university since the rankings were started in 2004.

Additional information:

Lauri Randveer, UT senior specialist for international cooperation, 737 5510, lauri.randveer [ät] ut.ee

Viivika Eljand-Kärp Press Officer of the UT Phone: +372 737 5683
Mobile: +372 5354 0689 E-mail: viivika.eljand-karp [ät] ut.ee
www.ut.ee

 

Category: UniversityPress release
Viivika Eljand-Kärp (viivikae)

Online course on the spread and impact of e-voting starts soon

3 months 2 weeks ago
07.03.2017

This spring the Johan Skytte Institute of Political Studies conducts an online course “SVJS.TK.003. Diffusion and Impact of Internet Voting” in English. The course duration is eight weeks from 13 March 2017 to 07 May 2017.

The course is targeted primarily at non-ICT students and professionals who are active on the labour market, studying or working in Estonia and interested in broadening their knowledge of the e-government in general and internet voting in particular.

During the course the following topics will be dealt with:

·         Principles of operation and development of the Estonian e-government so far;

·         Development of internet voting and patterns of use today;

·         Impact of internet voting on voter turnout and election results;

·         Interesting behavioural aspects of participants in the elections.

A wealth of unique materials on internet voting are used in this course: for example, survey data covering the 10-year history of internet voting; anonymised log data on voting sessions and official election results. Considering the trends in e-government and e-governance, completion of the course is useful primarily for understanding and getting to know the architecture of e-government.

The course takes place on the basis of weekly video lectures and study materials. Participants who successfully pass the weekly tests get a certificate of the University of Tartu.

Watch the short video introducing the MOOC.

Registration is open at https://goo.gl/6bf2r7 until 15 April 2017.

The e-course is funded with the support of the Estonian Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications from the European Social Fund programme “Increasing Digital Literacy”.

Additional information: Anna Beitane, anna.beitane [ät] ut.ee.

Viivika Eljand-Kärp Press Officer of the UT Phone: +372 737 5683
Mobile: +372 5354 0689 E-mail: viivika.eljand-karp [ät] ut.ee
www.ut.ee

 

Category: Studies
Viivika Eljand-Kärp (viivikae)

Best spatial planning solutions sought for university units

3 months 2 weeks ago
06.03.2017

On 7 and 8 March, researchers from the universities of Estonia and other Baltic Sea countries get together in the assembly hall of the University of Tartu to discuss different spatial planning possibilities for universities at the Liveable City Forum.

How the units of the University of Tartu are distributed and located in Tartu is a topic that concerns and affects the development of the whole city. Currently there are two spatial planning and development processes going on in Tartu – designing of the Delta academic building by the river Emajõgi, and finding an urban-spatial solution for the Maarjamõisa campus. The forum discusses the principles of the spatial development of university buildings, relations with the urban space, environmental relationships, smart migration and creative industries.

"Today, the cities and universities compete with each other globally to attract capable students, lecturers and researchers. It is important to offer them not only excellent academic quality and good study conditions, but also a varied and smoothly functioning living environment. This is why the issues of the university campus development and urban-spatial relations are topical also on the international level, and it is good that researchers and officials of universities and cities all over Europe speak at the forum and participate in the discussion," says UT lecturer of environmental protection Age Poom.

The working language of the forum is English.

Further information is available at the forum website.

The seminar is organised in cooperation with Tartu City Government and other university cities of the Baltic Sea region.

Additional information: Age Poom, lecturer of environmental protection, 505 9810, age.poom [ät] ut.ee

Viivika Eljand-Kärp Press Officer of the UT Phone: +372 737 5683
Mobile: +372 5354 0689 E-mail: viivika.eljand-karp [ät] ut.ee
www.ut.ee

 

Category: Press release
Viivika Eljand-Kärp (viivikae)
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