Susanna Niinistö-Sivuranta is an ardent advocate of learning

The director of the Open University believes that learning is the only way towards a sustainable future. Everyone needs to have wisdom and knowledge, and everyone has the right to learn.

Lifelong learning, the openness of learning, digitalisation, collaboration between higher education institutions and upper secondary school students, certificate-based admission and alternative paths – a lot is going on in the field of adult and higher education at the moment. Changes in the world and professional life will only increase the significance of learning, in terms of both individuals and society, even of the entire world and its future.

Susanna Niinistö-Sivuranta, director of the Open University, is happy that the Open University brings university studies within the reach of everyone. She also considers the institution’s abilities to face future challenges to be in excellent shape: after all, the Open University is known as a pioneer in the openness of learning, pedagogical development and the digitalisation of education. 

The Open University is also familiar with a very broad spectrum of learners: the students’ age varies, as do their educational and professional backgrounds. The range of their needs and motivations is also wide: some are still looking for a suitable field or preparing for entrance examinations, others are advancing their skills, and yet others are seeking refreshment from scientific research knowledge.

Niinistö-Sivuranta emphasises that the Open University aims to serve anyone interested in learning – with just the right amount of challenge and encouragement. 

“In a diverse world difference is valued and varied skills are needed. You should be both proud of your personal skills and curious to learn more.”

Who is she?

Susanna Niinistö-Sivuranta is director of development at the University of Helsinki and director of the Open University. In addition to the Open University, she is in charge of the entire Teaching and Learning Services sector at the University. Previously, Niinistö-Sivuranta has served as a vice-rector of the Laurea University of Applied Sciences and a communications teacher in the field of higher education. In 2013, she received her doctorate in educational sciences at the University of Tampere. 

Niinistö-Sivuranta found her calling already at a young age, as she soon after graduating from upper secondary school had the opportunity to substitute for teachers at local comprehensive and upper secondary schools. Ever since, teaching, interaction skills, learning environments and pedagogical development have been her passion and the core of her expertise:

“As a teacher, developer of teaching and leader I am particularly interested in being every day involved with a better future.”

In 2019, Niinistö-Sivuranta wishes to become increasingly familiar with the digitalisation of learning environments, clear the way for creative thinking – and to learn proper skating crossovers!