About the Finnish Studies Program

Finnish Studies is a research area within the humanities and social sciences that not only includes the obvious fields of Finnish language, literature, culture, and history but also more broadly any field of inquiry which includes Finland as an object of study.

The University of Minnesota is one of the few universities in North America to offer courses every year in beginning, intermediate, and advanced Finnish. In September 1989, a Visiting Professorship in Finnish Studies was created with the joint efforts of the Government of Finland, the University of Minnesota, and David and Nancy Speer. Each year, the University hosts one or more visiting professors from Finnish universities in various fields in humanities and the social sciences. See the "People" link on the left for information about current and past visiting faculty.

*What's currently happening in Finnish Studies*

Job Posting:

Government of Finland/David and Nancy Speer
Visiting Professorship in Finnish Studies

University of Minnesota
College of Liberal Arts
Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA

The College of Liberal Arts at the University of Minnesota invites applications for a full-time, 9-month appointment as Government of Finland/David and Nancy Speer Visiting Professor in Finnish Studies beginning fall semester 2009. This appointment is for academic year 2009/10, 31 August 2009 to 6 June 2010, with the possibility of renewal for one or two additional academic years.

The University of Minnesota is a major research university serving undergraduate and graduate students, and is the only Ph.D. granting institution in the state of Minnesota.  Its main campus is in the large metropolitan area of the Twin Cities, Minneapolis and St. Paul.

The Government of Finland/David and Nancy Speer Visiting Professorship was created in 1989 to stimulate interest in Finland; to raise awareness of unique and important Finnish contributions in cultural, political, and social spheres; and to establish new networks between scholars in Finland and the United States.

The University of Minnesota is currently soliciting applications from Finnish scholars in music. 

All disciplines within the broad field of music will be considered, including composition, musicology/ethnomusicology, music education, performance, music and sound technology, music management/administration, or interdisciplinary studies in and beyond music.  Preference will be given to candidates with expertise that extends and enhances current offerings at the University of Minnesota.

Position:  Full-time, nine-month academic year position at the rank of visiting professor, visiting associate professor, or visiting assistant professor, based on the rank held at the home institution.  Scholars and creative artists from non-academic institutions will be appointed depending on qualifications and experience, and consistent with Collegiate and University policy. 

Responsibilities:  The Visiting Professor will teach no more than three courses per academic year at the undergraduate and/or graduate level (including seminars) arranged according to the candidate’s expertise, curricular needs of the department, and in consideration of the mission of the Professorship.  The Visiting Professor will also organize and coordinate research/creative, teaching and outreach activities; participate in efforts to promote wider interest in Finland; and strengthen ties between Finland, the University, and the arts, business, or political communities in the region.

Qualifications:  Ph.D., DMA, M.M., M.A., or equivalent degree in Music or commensurate professional achievement and recognition; two years university-level teaching or equivalent professional experience; and proficiency in the English language are required.

Appointment:  Initial term of appointment is for academic year 2009/10 (31 August 2009 to 6 June 2010).  Appointment is annually renewable for up to two additional years, subject to performance and availability of funding.  The University is especially interested in receiving applications from candidates willing to teach at Minnesota for two to three years. Salary is competitive, based on qualifications and experience.  Benefits are commensurate with visiting faculty appointment.

 Candidates should send a letter of application, curriculum vitae (including publications and performances), a two-page statement of research/creative work and teaching interests with an explanation of how these interests will contribute to the development of multidisciplinary Finnish Studies, and names and addresses of three references.  Where appropriate candidates may also send CDs and/or DVDs of creative work. All materials should be sent to:

Please note that all application materials must be submitted in English.  For technical questions about the position, please contact Ms. Annu Jylhä-Pyykönen [annu.jylha-pyykonen@minedu.fi], tel. +358-9-16077200, Ministry of Education, Finland.  For further substantive information or questions about the position, please contact Dr. Evelyn Davidheiser (edavidh@umn.edu), Director, Institute for Global Studies, University of Minnesota.

Application deadline: 13 Feb 2009 Applications will be reviewed initially in Finland and interviews will be conducted in Finland by a committee appointed by the Ministry of Education and by representatives of the University of Minnesota.  Selection of finalists will be determined by the University of Minnesota by 11 March 2009.

For additional information please see http://finnish.umn.edu/

The University of Minnesota is an equal opportunity educator and employer.

Osmo Vänskä receives honorary degree from U of M School of Music


Minneapolis, MN (10/20/2008)— The University of Minnesota School of Music conferred an honorary degree upon Minnesota Orchestra Music Director Osmo Vänskä on Saturday, October 18, 2008 at the U of M School of Music’s Collage Concert at Ted Mann Concert Hall. The Collage Concert featured Vänskä conducting the University of Minnesota Symphony Orchestra and Combined Choirs. The Doctor of Humane Letters is the highest award conferred by the University of Minnesota Board of Regents, recognizing individuals who have achieved acknowledged eminence in their field.

New School of Music Director David Myers said, “The School of Music Collage Concert is our annual gift to the Twin Cities community and holding this honorary degree ceremony at the concert is a fitting tribute to Maestro Vänskä, who has dedicated his life to music education and has infused his singular spirit into the cultural life of Minnesota.  This exciting event allowed the University and the Twin Cities music community the opportunity to publicly thank Maestro Vänskä for his many contributions.  And yes, Finlandia is featured on the concert program!”

Kathy Romey, U of M School of Music Associate Professor and Director of Choral Activities and Artistic Director of the Minnesota Chorale enthusiastically supported Vänskä’s honorary degree nomination and said, “Through his dedication and impeccable work, Osmo Vänskä embodies the ultimate professional.  He is an individual practicing his craft at the highest level, a conductor impacting the profession locally, nationally and internationally, and a person serving society through his art with commitment, passion, humility and integrity.  We are extremely fortunate to count Mr. Vänskä as a member of the Twin Cities arts community, and grateful for all that he has contributed in the first five years of his tenure with the Minnesota Orchestra.  I feel it is a wonderful time for the University of Minnesota to honor Osmo Vänskä for his outstanding artistic accomplishments in the areas of performance, recording, and education, and for his significant contributions and service to the music profession with the award of the honorary degree of Doctor of Humane Letters.”

“I am simply grateful and humbled by this news from the University of Minnesota,” said Music Director Osmo Vänskä. “It will be my great privilege to accept this generous honor, and I look forward to my upcoming work with the School of Music students.”

Finnish conductor Osmo Vänskä became the Minnesota Orchestra’s tenth music director in September 2003. Praised for his intense and dynamic performances, Vänskä is recognized for compelling interpretations of the standard, contemporary and Nordic repertoires, as well as the close rapport he establishes with the musicians he leads. In his initial seasons in Minnesota, Vänskä has drawn acclaim for concerts both at home and abroad, including a 2006 tour of major European festivals, a 2004 tour to European music capitals and performances in communities around Minnesota. During his tenure, he has emphasized Beethoven, Nielsen and Bruckner in programming, been named Conductor of the Year by Musical America, championed new music in the Orchestra’s annual FutureClassics concert and made his Twin Cities debut as a clarinetist.  He has recorded the complete Beethoven symphonies with the Orchestra for the Swedish BIS label, with each album in the five-disc project receiving superlative reviews and the recording of the Ninth Symphony receiving a Grammy nomination. As a guest conductor, he appears with the world's finest orchestras. Vänskä has extended his tenure with the Minnesota Orchestra through 2011.

The Minnesota Orchestra is recognized as one of America’s leading symphony orchestras.  Founded in 1903, it offers nearly 200 concerts each year, with 400,000 attending, and reaches hundreds of thousands more through its award-winning series of radio broadcasts and its vast collection of recordings. The Orchestra makes its home at Orchestra Hall in downtown Minneapolis.

Established in 1902, the School of Music offers a dynamic, comprehensive program to more than 600 music students in undergraduate and graduate programs, led by a world-class faculty of over 50 artists, scholars and teachers. Thanks to strong partnerships with the Twin Cities music community, another 40 professionals from organizations like the Minnesota Orchestra and the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra enrich the learning environment as adjunct faculty.