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New Honorary Doctors


The Faculty of Education has conferred honorary doctorates on Professor Päivi Palojoki, Helsinki university, and Professor Nikolay Veraksa, Moscow City University and Russian Academy of Education, for their important contributions to the Faculty.

Professor Päivi Palojoki’s research concerns food, culture and learning. She has a special interest in education and learning in general, diversity and equality in relation to school and learning as well as didactics and tools for learning about food, health and sustainable development. Through her ability to shed light on how changes in society affect teaching in home economics and call for the implementation of new teaching methods, she has contributed to new perspectives and knowledge. An ever-changing multicultural society puts new demands on the school subject – where many different understandings of food and health co-exist, where the influence of the choice of food on the climate and the environment is becoming increasingly clear and where family life is in a continuous state of transitions. In addition, food-related learning occurs in many places outside the home economics kitchen. Thus, Palojoki has also for example emphasised the importance of the school lunch for learning about food and nutrition.

In the early 2000s, Professor Palojoki served as guest researcher at the Department of Food and Nutrition, and Sport Science. Over the years, her collaboration with several staff members at the same department has continued in many ways.

Promote Healthy Eating

Professor Palojoki has on repeated occasions contributed her knowledge to the Department as an external reviewer, specialist and expert student supervisor. In cooperation with other Finnish researchers and co-workers at the Department of Food and Nutrition, and Sport Science, she also helped arrange a Nordic PhD conference on promotion of healthy eating habits. In addition, she has served as expert connected to the graduate school that is jointly operated by the four Swedish universities with a teacher education programme specialising in home economics: Uppsala, Umeå, Kristianstad and Gothenburg.

‘As a researcher, Professor Palojoki has made important contributions that are directly related to the education and research carried out at the Department of Food and Nutrition, and Sport Science, and the way we see it, continued collaboration will be of great value,’ says Christina Berg, professor at the Department.

Professor Veraksa initiated the by now well-established collaboration with a number of members of the Early Childhood Education (ECE) research group at the Department of Education, Communication and Learning, University of Gothenburg. Years of mutual participation in workshops and conferences in Gothenburg and Moscow has strengthened the collaboration, which currently involves several staff members at the Faculty of Education. Cooperation agreements have also been signed between the Faculty of Education and the Moscow City Teacher’s Training University and the Faculty of Psychology vid Lomonosov Moscow State University, with an aim to increase the opportunities for internationalisation and further develop the research collaboration and network building.

Groundbreaking Book

Professor Veraksa has published a long list of scholarly articles in the area of developmental psychology, personality theory and social psychology. He has in particular studied the development of dialectical cognition in preschool children, and his research has contributed new knowledge about children and preschool education of great significance in the field of early childhood education, not least with a clear focus on famous theorist Lev Vygotskij’s sociocultural theory.

‘Professor Veraksa is contributing to an exciting international collaboration through a book that paved the way for new interpretations of how Lev Vygotskij is understood in Russia and Western countries,’ says Sonja Sheridan and Pia Williams, professors at the Department of Education, Communication and Learning, in a comment.

The book will be published by Routledge and edited by Nikolay Veraksa and Sonja Sheridan. Several staff members from the Department of Education, Communication and Learning as well as persons mainly from Russia but also other international researchers are involved in the production of the book, which will be released in 2018.