Improvement through feedback

International Advisory Boards provide Aalto with valuable peer support.

‘Aalto University’s strategy has become more accurate each year, and the overall picture is clear. Research in the School of Electrical Engineering is world-class, and the quality of publications is high.’

This is how Professor Daniel Baker from the University of Colorado in the US evaluated Aalto. Baker was chairing the Scientific Advisory Board (SAB) of the School of Electrical Engineering, and six members of the SAB visited the school in late October.

International peer review

Each Aalto University School has a scientific or artistic Advisory Board that consists of international academic experts in the respective fields. Each group visits their School every other year to evaluate operation and monitor the realisation of strategy, and at the end of the visit, they provide recommendations for the School. During their visit, Advisory Boards meet researchers, teachers, students as well as representatives of stakeholders.

Members of the School of Science SAB met PhD students in a poster session. In the centre of the photo George Drettakis from the Inria research centre in France. The group's Chair was Professor Arto Nurmikko from Brown University, US. Photo Anne Tapanainen.

‘Advisory Boards are a central part of developing the University and ensuring quality. We are constantly aiming to improve our operation, so the honest expert feedback given by the Advisory Boards is an important tool for this purpose’, says President of Aalto University Tuula Teeri.

Acute observations and valuable advice

The SAB of the School of Business familiarised themselves with the operation of the School in early November. The Chair, Professor Michael D. Myers from the University of Auckland in New Zealand, was struck by the positive culture and the energy of the School’s members.

‘I believe that the School is contributing significantly to the University’s strategic imperatives and has much potential to contribute even more when the School moves to Otaniemi’, Myers estimated and added: ‘In the current financial situation, it is imperative that the School at least retains its current complement of tenure track faculty and replaces retiring faculty members with new ones. In addition, we believe that the School needs to grow tenure track faculty in selected strategic areas.’

The opinion of the Scientific and Artistic Advisory Board (SAAB) of the School of Arts, Design and Architecture was that the School must take an international leadership role.

‘Tell bolder and more actively about your excellence. The School and the University have a good reputation, emphasised the Advisory Board Chair, Professor Rachel Cooper from the University of Lancaster in Great Britain.

The SAB of the School of Engineering visited Aalto in October and was chaired by Professor Huseyin Sehitoglu from the University of Illinois in the US. The SAB of the School of Chemical Technology came to Aalto in November, and the Chair was Jens Rostrup-Nielsen from Haldor Topsoe in Denmark.

The operation of the Advisory Boards started in 2011. In 2016, the Boards visited the Schools for the third time already. Each visit has been assigned a specific theme. This time, the themes were impact, innovativeness and infrastructures.

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