At the first session of the new composition of the University of Tartu council on 21 January, Ruth Oltjer was elected as council chair. She also chaired the university’s highest decision-making body during the previous five-year period. The members of the council acknowledged Oltjer’s work both as an advocate for the university’s interests and in leading the work of the council.
“We have a busy time ahead. In particular, we are facing problems with the funding of higher education and we in the council will do our best to stand for the university in this matter,” said Oltjer.
The Rector of the University of Tartu, Professor Toomas Asser said that cooperation with the council has been very good so far and the new council members will enrich it even further. “I am pleased to have also two members from outside Estonia in the council. Their external perspective and expertise, especially in higher education policy, are very valuable for us,” said the rector.
An outstanding example of the work of the previous council is also the vigorous steering of the political process at the national level to reach the signing of the Estonian Research Agreement to secure research and development funding.
The council is responsible for the long-term development of the university and ensuring that the university’s objectives are met. The council comprises 11 members, five of whom were nominated by the senate, one by the Estonian Academy of Sciences, and five by the minister of education and research.
The external members of the new council are Director of the Estonian Employers' Confederation Arto Aas, BaltCap Growth Fundi partner Heidi Kakko, Member of the Finnish Academy of Science and Letters, President of Academia Europaea, Professor Marja Makarow (nominated by the Academy of Sciences), Managing Partner of Raidla Ellex Law Firm Ants Nõmper, General Manager of Chemi-Pharm AS Ruth Oltjer, and Rector emeritus and Professor of Monetary Economics of the University of Groningen Elmer Sterken.
From the University of Tartu, the following members belong to the council: Professor of Cardiology, Academician Jaan Eha, Professor of Estonian as a Foreign Language Birute Klaas-Lang, Professor in Community Ecology Mari Moora, PhD student of Media and Communication Martin Aleksander Noorkõiv and Professor of International Business Urmas Varblane.
Jaan Eha, Heidi Kakko, Birute Klaas-Lang, Ants Nõmper and Ruth Oltjer were also members of the previous composition of the university council. The new members of the council approved for 2022–2026 by the decision of the Government of Estonia. This period also includes the preparation of university’s new strategic plan, which is the responsibility of the council.
The council approved its work plan for this year and appointed new members of the budget committee. New council member, Professor of International Business Urmas Varblane will replace Professor emeritus Jüri Sepp in his position as vice chair of the budget committee. The new head of the Dean’s Office of the Faculty of Social Sciences Janek Saluse will replace the former head of the Dean’s Office, Dorel Tamm-Klaos, as member of the committee. The council will hold its regular meetings on 21 March, 25 April and 13 June in the spring semester, and on 31 October and 28 November in the autumn semester.