Quality work for staff

At the University of Eastern Finland, quality management and the promotion of sustainable development constitute integral parts of the implementation of the university's strategy.
The university has held a quality certificate issued by the former Finnish Higher Education Evaluation Council nowadays Finnish Education Evaluation Centre since 2010 and the certificate is valid 6 years at a time. The university has been recognised as a Fairtrade University since 2014. Furthermore, University Services has held the Green Office diploma since 2012.

The Diploma Supplement (DS) Label has been awarded to the university in 2013 by the European Commission as a honorary distinction for applying the Diploma Supplement correctly in all respects. The University has also received the European Commission acknowledgement "Human Resources (HR) Excellence in Research" as provider and supporter of a stimulating and favourable working environment in 2014. Society’s Commitment to Sustainable Development the university has signed in 2015.

In the university’s quality culture, quality work and continuous development of processes have become an integral part of strategic leadership and the university’s activities both at the level of individuals and units. The university’s quality culture is reflected in the commitment of the staff in their work, and they operate in accordance with the university’s values and objectives while adhering to unified practices. The university’s Quality Management System covers all activities of the university. The university’s enterprise architecture also constitutes part of leadership and quality work. In addition, matters relating to sustainable development and social responsibility are included in our Quality Management System.

The university's quality work is rooted in the university’s strategy, supporting the achievement of the strategic goals and continuous development while engaging the students, staff members and stakeholders.
For instance, members of the university were given opportunities to participate in the formulation of the strategy, providing them with opportunities to influence for their part. In addition, representatives of the staff are included in all decision-making and preparatory bodies, as well as in working groups.

Information about quality work and the university's Quality Management System is disseminated to the staff and students in a transparent manner, and all members of UEF have opportunities to participate in quality work and its development through various different channels. Quality-related matters in general are discussed in all units of the university in different meetings either on a regular basis or by focusing on a particular theme (such as auditing). The units have their own, appointed staff members who serve as contact persons in matters relating to quality as well as appointed back-up persons, and there are also quality teams operating at the faculty level. The units also have trained internal auditors who participate in the university’s internal audits in that role. The staff may also participate in these audits as interviewees with regard to their own duties. Audit reports are discussed in the units together with the staff.

The university’s Quality Management System is rooted in the principle of continuous and systematic development of activities in accordance with the Deming Cycle (PDCA). The system produces data needed by the university’s leadership and internal and external stakeholders for the development of the activities and to support decision-making. The principle of continuous development, the Plan-Do-Check-Act cycle, also works for staff members:

PLAN – staff members plan their work, goals and timetables
DO – staff members carry out their duties in accordance with their work plan
CHECK – staff members give feedback to the university, they collect and receive feedback on their work, and they undergo performance appraisal
ACT – staff members develop their activities on the basis of the feedback they receive, and they also give counter feedback.

Learn about our Quality Management System

The university's Main Quality Manual describes the university's activities and procedures at the university level.
The Main Quality Manual is a public document, which is also available on the university’s website.
The quality manuals of the faculties describe activities and procedures in a more detailed manner at the faculty level.
Some units within the faculties and the service centres and independent institutes also have their own quality or operating manuals, which describe unit-level procedures in a more detailed manner.
Process descriptions and detailed activity-specific instructions, document templates, forms and other related documents can be found on the intranet pages of the units. Moreover, instructions relating to quality are also available on the university's intranet.
The university’s quality website features an extensive set of information relating to the university’s Quality Management System and quality work.

Every now and then, the university organises quality-related training aimed at all members of the academic community. Training is also organised for internal auditors. The Introduction to Quality Thinking online course (1 credit) available in Moodle is organised every autumn and spring, introducing the basics of quality thinking and quality management systems for those who wish to learn about quality in a concise manner.  The course is open to staff members and students alike.

FINEEC audit at the University of Eastern Finland in 2016

In Finland, evaluation and monitoring is used in the development of universities and universities of applied sciences. In accordance with the national evaluation model, quality management systems of higher education institutions are audited at least every six years. The University of Eastern Finland already has a valid certificate from the audit carried out in 2010.

Audits of higher education institutions are carried out by an independent expert, the Finnish Education Evaluation Centre, FINEEC.
Finland's own national model defines what the quality management system should be like both in view of national and European requirements. In auditing, the quality management system developed by each higher education institution from its own viewpoints and objectives is evaluated. The quality management system refers to the overall entity of developing activities, which consists of the organisation for quality assurance, division of responsibilities, procedures, and resources. Quality management refers to the procedures, processes or systems with the help of which a higher education institution monitors, maintains and develops the quality of its activities.

The objective of auditing is to support higher education institutions in the development of quality management systems that conform to the principles of European quality assurance, and thus to demonstrate that Finland has well-functioning and consistent quality assurance both in higher education institutions and at the national level.

The Finnish Education Evaluation Centre, FINEEC, will evaluate the Quality Management System of the University of Eastern Finland on 13–15 December 2016 the next time. The audit is an international audit, which means that the audit team will also have foreign quality experts as members, and that the language of the audit will be English. In the audit, the university's staff members, students and representatives of stakeholders will be interviewed on a broad basis. The result of the audit and the related report will be published in the spring 2017.

Further information about the audit is available on the website of the FINEEC audit, which can be accessed, for example, via the intranet by clicking on the FINEEC audit banner.