20 Years for University Personnel

Acatiimi, the magazine of universities’ central academic personnel unions, turns 20 years old this year. During this time, the magazine has analyzed and dissected many a phenomena straining the university institution and individual universities.

For its wide readership, Acatiimi has been a window into the world of universities and research, behind the production of results and the effectiveness of universities. The effects of decision-making like funding, legislation and the steering of the ministry have been made visible on the pages of the magazine, through facts as well as through different kinds of narratives. Acatiimi has become a part of the university and science world and it is one of its central discussion forums.

The strong standing of the magazine is also a sign of the significance of the unions and their unanimity. The task of the professional unions of the university field is to supervise the interests of teachers, researchers and other academic personnel. In addition to this, the unions promote teaching and research, supervise their freedom and promote the continuous developing of the university institution.

The first leader of Acatiimi in 1997 justified the need for a joint organ for the unions and building closer cooperation between the unions. The general aim of the unions was stated to be that the value of those who work hard at the central tasks of universities needs to be recognised. Universities were, at the time, in turmoil, appropriation cuts were common and universities or their personnel did not feel that they were understood. This topic has not lost its topicality; it has, on the contrary, grown in importance. The columns of the magazine make visible many debates that have their roots in history.

Over the years, Acatiimi has become much more than just a magazine of the unions or a professional supervisor of interests. The majority of the journal is made according to journalistic criteria, even though a smaller part, like these leaders, also presents the policy definitions of the unions. Thanks to an excellent editorial staff and a pool of writers who represent the top of the Finnish science and scientific journalism, Acatiimi is read and its information is trusted also outside the unions’ members. Its stories are often noted in newspapers and in the electronic and social media, and it would take too much time to recall all those conversations about science, universities and science politics that have been introduced in Acatiimi.

Sometimes readers’ feedback indicates that Acatiimi presents a much too grim view of universities and the everyday of research. Unfortunately not all developments that have taken place have been positive, and particularly in recent years there has been true cause for concern. If a magazine published by university unions did not also talk about the problems of universities, how would it even have a right to exist? On the other hand, Acatiimi has also brought forward successes and encouraging examples, and continually also successful individuals. Feedback is given about this too, particularly during more difficult times. Perhaps we can say, as in many other media that fosters diversity: when the criticism is of various kinds, it proves that at least something is done right.

According to the last reader survey, Acatiimi is read carefully, which goes against the general trend of the gradual dying down of reading habits. The magazine is considered trustworthy, its editorial staff professional and the topics topical. The members of the publishing unions consider the magazine their most desired information channel.

In addition to university and science politics, readers are most interested in articles relating to university and research funding and information that is related to wages and terms of employment. Despite its wide circulation, Acatiimi is still primarily the unions’ communication channel about things that interest their own members.

Kaarle Hämeri
President, The Finnish Union of University Professors

Petri Koikkalainen
Chair, The Finnish Union of University Researchers and Teachers

Seppo Sainio
Chair, The Union for University Teachers and Researchers in Finland, YLL

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