Professor, Psychology

Interviews Published

"The best part is the excitement and enthusiasm arising from analysing and finding research results. In addition, working with young talented students and colleagues is nice."

Professori Kalevi Korpela
  • Kalevi Korpela
  • Professor of Psychology at the University of Tampere.
  • Graduated with a Master’s Degree in Social Sciences from the University of Tampere, Licentiate of Psychology from the University of Jyväskylä and Doctor of Psychology from the University of Tampere.
  • 15 years of work experience in the field.

Briefly explain what you do for a living. 

I am a professor of psychology at the University of Tampere. My tasks include teaching psychology lectures and supervising students' master's theses and dissertations. The work of a professor requires continuous monitoring of the development of the field and reading and writing academic texts.

How have you ended up in the profession of your choice?

The road to this profession is long. In upper secondary school, I decided I wanted to be a scientist. After that, I had to get into university and graduate as a master and licentiate, after which you I still needed to do a doctorate. Over the years, I managed to get fixed-term positions as an assistant, a senior assistant and a research manager. After working in these tasks, I was able to apply for suitable professorships.

Describe your typical working day or week.

My week includes a few hours of lectures, and the same amount of supervision for master's theses and doctoral dissertations of future doctoral candidates in small groups. It is important to prepare well for these, and read and comment on the texts quite a lot. My work week also includes a variety of administrative meetings with the professionals from the subject, faculty and Psykonet, a university network in the field of psychology. At times, new people are hired for different positions, ranging from university teachers to professors. I spend the times between my tasks and my evenings reading and writing scientific papers in the field of environmental psychology.

What kind of work environment or working hours do you work in?

After the coronavirus pandemic, remote work became pretty much the prevailing working method. Lectures and meetings are, of course, held on the university campus. The responsibility of the professor is to create new scientific knowledge and lead a research group aiming for this goal. It doesn't depend on the day of the week or the time. Nominally, the position is a full-time job, meaning it has a total working time of 1,624 hours per year.

What kind of competence or qualities are required in the profession?

The perseverance, purposefulness and passion to scientifically investigate a phenomenon and its operational mechanisms. For example, what kinds of well-being impacts are promoted by physical activity in local nature. The work may involve lone toiling, but there is also a lot of group work, teaching and presentations. Intelligence is an asset.

What is the best thing about your profession?

The best part is the excitement and enthusiasm arising from analysing and finding research results. In addition, working with young talented students and colleagues is nice.

What are the downsides of the profession or what seems challenging?

For me, administrative routines and tasks are mind-numbing and often annoying.

What would you tell a person considering the profession of a professor?

If it is your dream, keep going. You might have to wait for a permanent position in this work for years, easily until the age of 40 to 50.

How do you see the future of your profession? 

Strong. Science and people involved in it are valued and there is no shortage of jobs, but competition is strong.

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