Who we are – people of the HET research group

HET stands for Higher Education in Transition. HET research group is one of many research groups at the School of Education, University of Tampere, Finland. In HET research group, the ongoing transitions in higher education are approached with following theoretical ideas:

  • To research HE from societal and pedagogical perspectives where institutions, communities and individuals are examined from structural and agentic point of views.
  • To draw on the sociocultural approaches to education, learning, and transition where the focus is on the roles that participation in social interactions and culturally shaped activities are having for learning and development.
  • To analyze how students and staff engage in supportive academic community by investing time and energy in building participatory, dialogical environment. Engagement focuses on active citizenship where people commit themselves and become aware of their potentials in the world of change and uncertainty.

Research activities in HET research group are organized around thematic subgroups and teams formed by researchers working in the same HE research topic. These thematic areas connect researchers also from the different academic research career phases. Below you can find short introductions of the people belonging to the HET research group. If you want to hear more or would like to join the HET research group, please don`t hesitate to contact us!

VesaVesa Korhonen (PhD, Docent, HET group leader)

Expertise areas: Challenges of internationalisation in higher education (HE), guidance and counseling in HE, pathways and routes to HE, student engagement and progression in HE, educational exclusion and drop-outs in HE, digital learning environments in university teaching, teacher’s and researcher’s identities in HE, generally questions of professional development and career paths in higher education and beyond.
Current research and activities in HET-group: Leader of the HET-group. His research has focused on e.g. access, participation and engagement of different groups in higher education, as well as, risks of dropouts and educational exclusion in higher education. Currently, he is leading international higher education development co-operation project eTraining FinPal implemented with Gaza Islamic University in Palestine territories. He is also supervising theses and dissertations, Responsible of the “internationalisation” and “student experience and learning” themes.

Contact details: vesa.a.korhonen@staff.uta.fi
Publications: see SoleCris

Marita_Makinen_130x170_sininenMarita Mäkinen (PhD, Professor, HET group leader)


Expertise areas: Teacher education, inclusive education, curriculum, teaching and learning, engagement, multiliteracies.
Current activities and research  in HET group: Leader of the HET group, member of the “curriculum and learning communities”, “sustainable teacher education”, “student experience and learning” and  “spaces of education” teams;  conducting research on curriculum development, teacher education, inclusive education, multiliteracies; supervising theses and dissertations.
Contact details: marita.makinen@staff.uta.fi

Publications: see SoleCris

pauliina aleniusPauliina Alenius (PhD, Post-Doctoral Researcher)


Expertise areas: Transnational learning environments, multicultural education.

Current research and activities in HET-group: Postdoctoral researcher, research on transnational educational and professional space. Member of the “internationalisation” team.

Contact details: pauliina.alenius@uta.fi

Publications: see SoleCris


Johanna AnnalaJohanna Annala (PhD, Docent, University Lecturer)


Expertise areas: Teaching and learning in higher education; curriculum studies, research-teaching nexus, student and staff engagement, guidance and counselling, personal development planning, communities of practice in higher education.
Current research and activities in HET-group: Working with ongoing curriculum research, team leader in the “curriculum and learning communities” team, coordinator of a multidisciplinary network of Tampere3 researchers, supervision of theses, dissertations and collaborative development projects.
Additional information: Data available for theses and dissertations: qualitative staff and student interviews on curriculum change (ask for more information if you became interested).
Contact details: johanna.annala@uta.fi

Publications: see SoleCris

Yuzhuo Cai (PhD, Docent, Senior lecturer, School of Management)


Expertise areas: Main teaching and research areas are organization theory, higher education policy and management, internationalization of higher education and innovation studies, with 7 books/report and over 50 peer reviewed articles published in these fields. He holds a Ph.D. degree in Administrative Sciences and two Master’s degrees respectively in Comparative and International Education and in Psychology.
Current activities and research in HET group: Member and senior researcher in the “internationalisation” team.   He is a guest professor at the Institute of International and Comparative Education, Beijing Normal University, China and holds several positions of trust in international higher education networks.
Contact details: yuzhuo.cai@staff.uta.fi
Academic profile and publications:

 JoukoJouseaJouko Jousea (MA, PhD Candidate)


Expertise areas: Digital learning environments, blogs as learning environment, self-regulation, pedagogic theory, didactics.
Current research and activities in HET-group: Under investigation are several cases in Finnish universities where blogs are used as triggering learning environments for supporting students’ active learning and citizenship. Subject of study includes three important factors for university students’ learning: teacher’s pedagogical practices, learning environments and student self-regulation. Member of the “student experience and learning” and the “spaces of education” teams.

Contact details: Jousea.Jouko.O@student.uta.fi

anne jyrkiäinenAnne Jyrkiäinen (PhD, University Lecturer)


Expertise areas: Multiliteracy, curriculum, collaborative teaching and learning, teacher education.
Current research and activities in HET-group: Working with ongoing multiliteracy research, educational design research and teacher education research. Member of the “spaces of education” team.
Contact details: anne.jyrkiainen@staff.uta.fi, http://www.uta.fi/edu/yhteystiedot/henkilokunta/jyrkiainen.html
Publications: see SoleCris

tiina-kujala-profiilikuva-240pxTiina Kujala (PhD, Senior Lecturer)


Expertise areas:Curriculum, curriculum studies, parity and equality, physical education in teacher education
Current research and activities in HET-group: Working with ongoing curriculum research, supervising theses. Member of the “curriculum and learning communities” team.
Additional information: Data available for theses: qualitative interviews on using technology in physical education, a model for content analysis in national core curriculum research, also quantitative data collected by Research Center for Sport and Health Sciences (LIKES in Jyväskylä). Ask for more information if you became interested.
Contact details: tiina.h.kujala@staff.uta.fi, http://www.uta.fi/edu/yhteystiedot/henkilokunta/kujala.html Publications: see SoleCris

Photo 14.10.2015 9.52.43Jyri Lindén (PhD, University Lecturer)


Expertise areas: I’m responsible (with Johanna Annala) for academic practice courses  and supporting curriculum work and innovations in learning environments at our university. My research activities focus on curriculum in higher education, research-teaching nexus, and students’ new roles in HE institutions. I’m also interested in the roots and changes in teacher’s psychological contract in different levels of the education sector.
Current research and activities in HET-group:  I’m a team leader in the “spaces of education”  team and a member of the “curriculum and learning communities” team.
Additional information: Data available for theses and dissertations: interview data on teachers’ and students’ perceptions of curriculum change in HE, teacher interviews (primary and secondary level), statistical data on the background, interests, and study expectations of the applicants for primary level teacher education.

Contact details: jyri.linden@staff.uta.fi

 Susanna MikkonenSusanna Mikkonen (MA, PhD Candidate)



Expertise areas: Educational inheritance, social mobility, student engagement, narrative research.
Current research and activities in HET-group: Working on my doctoral dissertation “working class first generation university students in Finland”, team member in the “student experience and learning” team.
Contact details: mikkonen.m.susanna@student.uta.fi

sirpa makinenSirpa Mäkinen (PhD, University Lecturer)



Expertise areas: Open university as a learning, studying and teaching context; marginality in education, learning and work.
Current research and activities in HET-group: Analyzing learning diaries written by Open University students in 90’s and 2010’s from the points of views of learning orientations, meanings and experiences. Member of the “student experience and learning” team.
Contact details: sirpa.h.makinen@uta.fi, http://www.uta.fi/edu/yhteystiedot/henkilokunta/makinen.html

terhimantylaTerhi Mäntylä (PhD, Docent, University Lecturer)


Expertise areas: Science and mathematics education, especially didactical physics.
Current research and activities in HET-group: Pre-service science and mathematics teacher education, conceptual change and concept learning at the university level. Responsible of the “student experience and learning” and “sustainable teacher education” themes.
Publications: see SoleCris

Kuva2 Tanja Hautala (MNSc, PhD Candidate)


Expertise areas: Guidance and counselling, professional agency, expertise development, mixed method –research.

Current research and activities in HET-group: Working on my doctoral dissertation “The experience of professional agency and guidance expertise of the guidance counsellors in Finnish universities of applied science”, team member in the “student experience and learning” team.

Contact details:hautala.tanja.m@student.uta.fi

Gaoming Zheng (MA of Research and Innovation in Higher Education (MARIHE) Programme, PhD Candidate, School of Management)


Expertise areas: Her main research area are doctoral education, internationalisation of higher education, quality assurance, EU-China collaboration and institutional theory.Current activities and research in HET group: Member in the “internationalisation” team.   Currently she is working on her doctoral research on quality assurance of doctoral education collaboration between Europe and China. She is also involved in a European-Commission-funded ‘Erasmus +’ project, the ‘EU-China-Doc Project’.

Contact details: Zheng.Gaoming.X@student.uta.fi
Publications: https://uta-fi.academia.edu/gaomingzheng

Anne Tornberg (PhD Candidate)

Expertise areas: Acculturation, higher education, immigrant teacher, multiculturalism, teachers’ professional development, tertiary education.
Current research and activities in HET-group: Working with ongoing doctoral thesis articles focusing on immigrant University of Applied Sciences (UAS, higher education) teachers’ acculturation path and professional development in Finland. Member of the “internationalisation” team.
Contact details: tornberg.anne.m@student.uta.fi