University Lecturer Anu Lehtovuori is an expert in academic multitasking
It is two o'clock in the afternoon when we sit down for the interview at the Department of Electronics and Nanoengineering. University Lecturer Anu Lehtovuori’s working day has already contained meeting first year students, reporting on an ongoing project, writing a funding application for the Academy of Finland, writing emails regarding the development of teaching and discussing a recently published article with doctoral students.
‘Being a university teacher is so much more than just teaching,’ Lehtovuori says. ‘Teachers are as much a part of the academic personnel as the professors are, and at Aalto University, everybody researches and teaches irrespective of their title. The lecturers in our school are academic professionals with multiple skills, who, aside from teaching, are actively involved in research and the development of the university’s operations.’
The lecturers in our school are academic professionals actively involved in research and the development of the university’s operations.
Lehtovuori teaches circuit analysis to undergraduates, circuit theory to doctoral students and courses combining the two to master’s students. Her research focuses on the antennas of portable devices.
‘All courses I teach have a strong theoretical background, which builds understanding and provides tools for later courses as well as expertise which will be appreciated in the decades to come.’
Lehtovuori believes that university education must be connected to the surrounding world. It must serve the objectives of the degree, be linked with other courses, create whole entities, provide understanding and moments of insight, and challenge to learn.
However, only a fraction of a university lecturer’s work takes place in front of the class. Teaching is closely linked with research, and so a large part of teaching is related to guiding doctoral thesis work and other theses. In addition, teachers often create their own teaching materials, participate in research or acquisition of research projects, and take part in reporting and management. The varied job description is what originally interested Lehtovuori in becoming a lecturer.
‘Teaching balances research work. Talented students at all levels of education motivate me, and I want to help them as far as possible, whether they are completing a bachelor’s degree or a doctorate.’
Text and photo: Linda Koskinen