The University of Eastern Finland (UEF) is one of the largest universities in Finland with its approximately 13,000 students and 3000 members of staff. It was founded 1.1.2010 when the University of Kuopio (founded in 1972) and the University of Joensuu (founded in 1969) merged. The four faculties, Philosophical, Science and Forestry, Health Sciences, and Social Sciences and Business, offer more than 100 major subjects. UEF is an international, research-intensive university with an extensive network of foreign partners. It has concluded bilateral agreements of cooperation with approximately 70 universities abroad. In cooperation with Nanjing University, it has established the Sino-Finnish Environmental Research Centre in China. In the field of information technology, a satellite campus will be established in South Africa. UEF organises annually a festival of science and technology for schools “SciFest” where various research and educational institutions along with companies offer workshops, popular lectures, robotics competitions, and interactive exhibitions. Among the areas of expertise and strengths of the UEF are: natural sciences and new technologies; teacher training, education and culture; and environmental research and renewable natural resources. The strong expertise in cultural and behavioral sciences rests on research into cultures, education, teaching, learning and the human life course. The School of Applied Educational Science and Teacher Education in the Philosophical Faculty educates teachers and experts in education and schooling who are capable of operating in changing learning environments and organisations. The main focus in research is on learning environments, on socio-cultural settings as well as on education for sustainable future. Research is multidisciplinary and it is conducted in regional, national and international networks. The number of staff is 72 and the annual intake of students is 382. The school has coordinated EU Framework Programmes, is the national coordinator in several Comenius projects, and coordinates an international EU project “Northern Environmental Education Development” that focuses on environmental education and geo-knowledge. The school has chaired several ESF projects in science and environmental education.
Tuula Keinonen is professor in research on general education especially science education. She holds PhDs in Physics and in Education. Her research covers students’ perceptions of sciences, teachers’ growth and environmental education. She supervises PhD students and has experience in pre- and in-service teacher training. She has written in cooperation with teachers, science exercise books for students and related books for teachers for use in school. She currently coordinates an international project the “Northern Environmental Education Development” (NEED) in the EU’s Northern Periphery Programme.
Sirpa Kärkkäinen, Senior Lecturer, holds PhD in Education and MA in Biology. Her research focuses on sustainable development education and learning biology and geography. She has several years of experience in teacher training and in further education programmes for teachers in science pedagogy. She supervises PhD students.
Kari Sormunen, Senior Lecturer, holds PhD in Education and Licentiate degree in Physics. He is adjunct professor at the University of Oulu. His research focus is on the Nature of Science. He has been the national coordinator of several EU Comenius and Erasmus projects. He has been involved in pre- and in-service teacher education for several years. He supervises doctoral students.
Anu Hartikainen, Senior Lecturer, holds a PhD in Education and a MA in Geography. Her research focuses on interaction in investigative learning process. She has been involved in pre- and in-service teacher education for several years. She worked also as educational planner preparing learning materials.
Seija Juntunen, Educational Coordinator, works in educational development projects. She has planned and organized in-service training courses and prepared learning materials. Her research interests are in environmental education.
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