Teaching and providing “aha!” experiences motivate our new Vice Dean of Education Jouni Paltakari
The new Vice Dean of Education of the School of Chemical Engineering is Professor Jouni Paltakari. The current Vice Dean, Tapani Vuorinen, leaves the position at the beginning of 2020. Paltakari has always had a passion for technology, and he would like to show all the incredible possibilities of chemical engineering to a wider audience.
“It actually feels really good and exciting. I have already participated in leading and developing our three different programmes for 12 years. I’m excited about the new challenges!” Paltakari says.
A lot of things at the School of Chemical Engineering are in a good shape, according to Paltakari.
“Great work has been done. We are now facing new challenges, such as tightening degree targets. We are already under pressure with very strict and limited resources.”
Paltakari wants to invest in communications and marketing related to our school’s education and research. He is concerned that even though the field of chemical engineering has great potential, interest in the field is not big enough.
“Chemical engineering is a huge enabler. Chemistry and physics are everywhere. This field of science provides solutions for global challenges, such as those related to climate change, energy and materials”, Paltakari reports.
When the light bulb turns on
The new Vice Dean says he enjoys teaching and seeing new generations grow.
“It is just wonderful to see when the light bulb turns on and a student gets an ‘aha!’ experience. It is great to get to see the whole path of learning. It motivates me. I like the experiences related to teaching.”
Learning and teaching have changed quite a bit during Paltakari’s career. The contents have become more and more versatile, and cross-disciplinarity has increased. Digitalization and new learning methods and tools have also brought about changes and new possibilities.
“CAD drawing was done manually when I was a student. There were no personal computers. All in all, the demands concerning learning and capabilities have changed. It is a challenge for us teachers, too.”
Paltakari wants to encourage young people to try problem solving and to attempt even the trickiest and most difficult things.
“You can change the world and solve problems by using different means of chemical engineering. Food does not arrive on our tables with game theories alone, electricity doesn’t come from money and the wall power socket. In this field of science, you learn to understand the means of production thoroughly and develop it.”
Paltakari also emphasizes the importance of cooperation with high schools. The interest in mathematics and natural sciences needs to be sparked already in an early stage, according to him. This means the stage of basic education.
“Chemistry is your friend. Don’t be afraid of it. That’s what I really want to say.”