Quality work for student
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.
According to an Agreement of the European Higher Education Area (EHEA) and Bologna Process the universities and colleges must have an operational system for quality management. The Quality Management System of the University of Eastern Finland is loosely based on international ISO9001 quality standard and also observes the instructions and recommendations given by the European University Association (EUA) and the European Higher Education Area (EHEA).
The Finnish Education Evaluation Centre FINEEC, evaluated university's Quality Management System on December 2016 and on April 2017 and avarded the university a Quality Label that is valid for next six years until university's next Audit on 2022. You can get more information about this external audit from FINEEC audit 2016 own webpage. The quality management system of the university is loosely also based on international ISO9001 -quality standard by matching standard's scheme, but is not sertified system. There is also some FINAS accreditated units or laboratories in the University of Eastern Finland.
Also the sustainable development and social responsibility are part of university's strategy and quality management system. The university has been recognised as a Fairtrade University since 2014. The university has pledged to use fairtrade products like coffee and tee in university's events and meetings. Also Student Union and university restaurants offer fairtrade products. Furthermore, University Services has held the Green Office diploma since 2012. University Services are operating by sustainable development's principals which are also widely used in the whole university. Society’s Commitment to Sustainable Development the university has signed in 2015.
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.
Our quality work aims at ensuring that:
our education is of a high standard both by national and international comparison, and that it meets working life needs;
our teaching, study counselling and student supervision are of a high standard, diverse and versatile;
we use modern learning environments and teaching methods;
our operating culture is uniform in all academic departments, campuses and faculties, and that matters can be taken care of and information obtained smoothly;
our activities are student- and learning-centred;
we promote student well-being and support accessibility in studies; and
we promote multiculturalism, global social responsibility and sustainable development.
Quality in education and teaching refers to students knowing:
their rights and responsibilities as students;
basic things about the university as an organisation;
what kinds of services the university offers at different stages of their studies and how the university works to support their well-being;
where they can obtain guidance and counselling;
how they can influence matters at the university; and
how they can participate in quality work in their own academic department.
Learn about our Quality Management System
The university's Main Quality Manual describes the university’s activities as well as, for example, the goals and practices relating to the planning, implementation, development and evaluation of education.
You will find further information about the practices of your academic subject in the quality manuals of the faculties.
Some units also have their own quality or operating manuals.
The university’s quality website features more detailed information about the university’s Quality Management System and quality work.
The Introduction to Quality Thinking online course (1 credit) is organised every autumn and spring, allowing you to learn about the basics of quality thinking and about quality management systems, which are also useful in working life.
The Quality Management System of the university operates under the principle of continuous, systematic development in accordance with the Deming Cycle (PDCA).
The principle of continuous development, the Plan - Do - Check - Act cycle, also works for students:
PLAN – students plan their own goals, studies and timetables
DO – students study in accordance with their study plan and give feedback on teaching
CHECK – students participate in discussions and obtain feedback on their skills and progress
ACT – students modify their own plans and participate in the development of teaching
Students’ role in quality work
Students participate in quality work especially in quality-related matters pertaining to education. The academic departments’ working groups for the planning and development of teaching have student representation.
You can impact the evaluation and continuous development of education and teaching by giving feedback on the quality of education, i.e., on the contents, teaching arrangements and study counselling and student supervision.
Students can participate in quality-related training organised by the university.
Students can participate in the audit of the university’s Quality Management System also as auditors. We are working together with the Student Union to find student representatives for the university’s internal audits. Participating in an audit is a good way to learn about the activities and quality work of the university. In addition, expertise relating to auditing and quality is also valued in working life.
Quality, sustainable development and social responsibility go hand in hand, and students also have opportunities to participate in these activities of the university through various working groups, seminars and nationwide campaigns.
Communication relating to quality is the responsibility of the Quality Manager/Quality Coordinator, along with each faculty and the persons in charge of quality-related matters at the academic departments in cooperation with students’ subject associations.
At our university, teaching is developed in accordance with the university's strategy and principles of the European Standards and Guidelines in a direction where the learning process is increasingly collaborative, studend and learning centred, and catering for different learners. Representatives of students are included in the planning of teaching through involment in various working groups and bodies. Cooperation and interaction with student associations and the Student Union take place on a continuous places. Feedback from students is collected at different phases of studies and by using a variety of methods, and this feedback is discussed extensively in the faculties and units, as well as in the university's annual management review. The key principle in the processing of feedback is that students always receive counter feedback.
Indeed, for the quality of teaching and its development, giving feedback is the most important channel for students o influence. Students also have the possibility to make a written complaint when they seem it necessary.
Further information on the quality of teaching and its development can be found in the university's Main Quality Manual and in the quality manuals of the units. The figure below illustrates student and learning centred teaching. You can find a bigger picture of this figure here.
University's external audits
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, has evaluated the Quality Management System of the University of Eastern Finland on 13 - 15 December 2016. The audit was an international audit, which means that the audit team had also foreign quality experts as members, and that the language of the audit was English. In the audit, the university's staff members, students and representatives of stakeholders were interviewed on a broad basis. You can find the Audit report here.
Further information about the university's FINEEC audit 2016 is available on the audit website, which are under these quality websites.