Andres Tennus

Margit Keller will assume the office of the dean of the Faculty of Social Sciences on 1 January 2024

On 3 October, the electoral body elected Margit Keller as the dean of the Faculty of Social Sciences. Keller is Associate Professor in Social Communication and Head of the University of Tartu Centre for Sustainable Development. Keller will assume the office of the dean on 1 January 2024.

The second dean candidate was Janno Lahe, Professor of Tort Law, Vice Dean for Academic Affairs and Acting Dean of the Faculty of Social Sciences. Before the elections, on 27 September, the dean candidates met with the staff and students of the faculty. The recording of the meeting is available on UTTV. In the elections, 67.48% of the electoral body of the Faculty of Social Sciences cast their votes. 152 members of the electoral body voted for Margit Keller and 126 supported Janno Lahe. 

Margit Keller's address to the staff and students of the faculty

I am very grateful to the faculty staff for their trust, and I will start the new year as dean with a happy face and full of commitment! We have a lot to do, as the sharp societal challenges and a rapidly changing world need the wisdom of social scientists. Even our strategic plan ambitiously reads, "We shape and interpret the future society". We are at the top: absolutely all the main disciplines of our faculty are represented in the Times Higher Education or QS rankings in 2023 and ranked in the 200–300 band. We have the highest number of bachelor's and master's students at the university, and we also keep pace with society's needs by offering part-time study, one-year master's curricula and micro-credential programmes. If we work together to retain every colleague and student, to provide inspiring work, decent pay and the opportunity for real rest, we can deal with the demanding challenges we face. 

Dear students, I hope you enjoy the magic of understanding society and take time to think, "Maybe I am the one who wants to become a lecturer and a researcher". The voice of students – through course feedback, participation in student organisations or decision-making bodies – is indispensable. I promise to listen to that voice carefully. Equally important is ensuring the new generation of academic staff in social sciences.

I have gained valuable experience from the six years as head of the Institute of Social Studies. With my team, I managed to steer the institute from a complicated situation onto a new path and bring it out of a financial slump. Over the past year, I have led a consortium of four UT faculties and two museums – the Centre for Sustainable Development – which has given important lessons and contacts for serving society and university-wide collaboration.

My operating principles:

  • to work in such a way that the "housekeeping" of the (decision-making bodies of the) faculty is in order, the content of decisions is clearly argued, and the processes are inclusive and understandable to the parties involved;
  • to stand for the interests of socialia in the UT Rector's Office, following the principle "how to make it work so that everyone wins" rather than "as long as I do not lose";
  • promoting a work culture that cares for everyone;
  • to be a development partner for the heads/managements of units and vice deans and, where necessary, help to solve problems and remove barriers;
  • as a researcher and lecturer on social systems and their change, to be an interpreter of the complex society, both in relations with the media and the various stakeholders. 

People are the most important, so a good team and a good sense of humour will help to maintain focus and goodwill in the most difficult situations.

Tartu Ülikooli peahoone

Preparation of the university's new strategic plan begins

Lossi 36 õppehoone droonivaatest.

Meeting with the Dean Candidates for the Faculty of Social Sciences will take place on 27 September

Tartu Ülikooli peahoone

Election commission registered dean candidates