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 quality of universities and universities of applied sciences is evaluated regularly in Finland, and the University of Eastern Finland has held a quality certificate issued by the Finnish Higher Education Evaluation Council, which is nowadays known as the Finnish Education Evaluation Centre, since 2010. The university passed the latest FINEEC audit on 21 April 2017, and the certificate is valid for 6 years at a time. According to the audit report, the university's quality management fulfils our national criteria and also the European principles and recommendations for quality assurance. The Audit Report can be found from this link.
The Main Quality Manual can be found here.
The university has been recognised as a Fairtrade University since 2014. The university has pledged to use Fairtrade products, such as coffee and tea, in catering for the university's events and meetings. Also, the Student Union and the university restaurants offer Fairtrade products. Furthermore, University Services has held the Green Office diploma since 2012. University Services is operating in accordance with the principles of sustainable development and is, for example, minimizing paper use, taking account of sustainability in all procurements when possible, recycling and reducing waste, and reducing energy and water consumption. These principles are widely observed throughout the university.
The Diploma Supplement (DS) Label has been awarded to the university in 2013 by the European Commission as an 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 a provider and supporter of a stimulating and favourable working environment in 2014. The university has signed the Society’s Commitment to Sustainable Development in 2015. You will find more information about sustainable development in Finland on the Prime Minister's own website.
More information about the University of Eastern Finland's activities relating to sustainable development can be be found on this website.
Quality at the University of Eastern Finland
Quality at the University of Eastern Finland refers to expediency in activities relating to leadership, education, research and societal interaction, as well as to a high quality of the related outcomes. The foundations of our activities are rooted in customer needs and expectations, and in fulfilling them. We develop our activities on the basis of customer feedback and continuous evaluation, and best practices are efficiently disseminated within the university.
The university’s quality culture is reflected in the commitment of the staff and students in their work and studies, working together in accordance with the university’s values and objectives while adhering to unified practices.
The university’s quality work
is based on the university’s strategy;
supports the achievement of the strategic goals and continuous development of our activities; and
engages the students, staff members and stakeholders.
The university's quality work is based on the Universities Act and on the quality assurance objectives of the Finnish Evaluation Centre, FINEEC. It also feature from the ISO9001 quality standard, and it observes the instructions and recommendations given by the European University Association (EUA) and the European Higher Education Area (EHEA).
Our Quality Management System also complies with the ESG standards of the European Higher Education Area.
Information about the university’s quality work and Quality Management System is openly disseminated to the staff and students, and the entire academic community has the opportunity to participate in quality work and its development via various different channels.
Approved by the university’s Board, the university’s quality policy and quality work objectives lay the foundations for the university’s Quality Management System.
The University of Eastern Finland’s
- Quality Management System supports the carrying out and development of the university’s core missions in a reliable and even internationally recognised manner while taking into consideration the needs of individuals, society and the environment;
- strategic leadership, which professionally supports research and teaching, and continuous development of activities are based on analyses produced on the basis evaluations and feedback;
- the university is an innovative, internationally recognised and sought-after learning, working and research community, as well as a long-term and reliable strategic partner;
- the university’s activities are transparent, equal, participatory and communal;
- the university promotes well-being among its staff and students and takes the principles relating to multiculturalism, global social responsibility and sustainable development into consideration in its activities.
The university’s Quality Management System
is closely linked to strategic and operative leadership, and it is an integral part of the activities of all members of the academic community;
covers all activities of the university: leadership, research, education and social interaction, as well as the related supporting services;
creates the structures and defines the responsibilities and procedures for well-functioning quality management; and
encompasses the promotion of sustainable development and responsibility. In addition, the university’s enterprise architecture constitutes part of leadership and quality work. The enterprise architecture that includes not only the university's all tasks and processes, but also the data and information needed or produced in university's day-to-day operation as well as information systems, is explained in more detail in the recommendation of the Advisory Committee on Information Management in Public Administration.
The university regards quality management as an integral part of strategic leadership. This is illustrated in the figure below.
Figure 3. Strategic leadership, enterprise resource planning and quality management at the University of Eastern Finland
The Quality Management System of the University of Eastern Finland is briefly explained in this Prezi presentation.
The university’s Quality Management System complies with the principle of continuous development through the Plan-Do-Check-Act -cycle, i.e. the Deming Cycle.
The objectives of quality work and the Quality Management System are
- to produce data on the realisation of the university’s strategies and on the achievement of its goals;
- to help create unified practices and a shared operating culture for a learning quality organisation, and disseminate best practices;
- to support the development of the core operational processes and the continuous improvement of research and learning outcomes;
- to support the principles of global responsibility, quality and justice, and transparency;
- to disseminate information about the quality of activities to the staff and students, to the higher education community, and to stakeholders;
- to develop and disseminate expertise and skills relating to quality work and the related audits.
Documentation of the Quality Management System
The university’s Quality Management System is documented in the Main Quality Manual and in the subordinate quality manuals of the faculties, independent institutes, service centres and University Services, which feature more specific operating instructions, methods and regulations. Furthermore, units subordinate to the faculties may also have their own, supplementing quality documentation. This ensures that all members of the academic community can easily find relevant information about the Quality Management System and its procedures.
The university’s Quality Management System is linked to the strategy of the University of Eastern Finland for 2015–2020, and in the Strategic Implementation Programme. As enterprise resource planning constitutes a key process in quality management, the quality documentation also includes objective programmes and action plans, various evaluation reports, rules and procedural instructions that guide the activities.
The quality documentation of the university and its units can be presented as a pyramid: the Quality Management System is at the top and below are process charts, procedural instructions, work instructions and other documentation relating to the Quality Management System, such as Acts, Decrees and regulations that govern the activities, as well as various documents that are needed in and created by the activities.
The Main Quality Manual describes the university’s leadership, core missions and services. The Main Quality Manual consists of descriptions of the activities and of continuously updated documents that are linked to the descriptions.
The Main Quality Manual documents the university's shared practices and procedures related to quality management. It supports members of the academic community in their work, serves as a tool in new employee induction, brings transparency to the activities, facilitates the identification of different units’ best practices and the development of activities, among other things.
Other quality manuals
The faculties, academic departments and independent institutes have prepared their own quality manuals with the help of the university’s documents, and these are integrated into other content available on the university’s intranet. The units’ quality manuals are subordinate to the university's Main Quality Manual.
The university's process map presents the university’s core and supporting processes and the ways in which these are interlinked.
Processes (activities) constitute an integral part of the Quality Management System. Through processes, the university and its units carry out their mission. Processes are described in a manner that is most suitable for each process: either verbally, with an image that illustrates the activities, or with a process chart. Processes that involve several actors are described with the four-level JHS-152 model. Quality manuals and process descriptions are further supplemented by procedural instructions and work instructions that pertain to individual duties, as well as by documents and forms that are needed in different activities.
Information relating to the university’s Quality Management System and the related documentation is available on the university's quality website for the staff, students and other stakeholders. The intranet pages of the university and the units feature more specific instructions relating to different activities.
Other quality documentation
All activities generate plenty of different documentation. Documentation associated with the Quality Management System includes, e.g., minutes of various working groups and administrative bodies, job descriptions, summaries and analyses of student feedback, evaluation reports relating to research and education, as well as reports relating to audits, benchmarking and management reviews. The university’s Main Quality Manual and the quality manuals of the units constitute public quality documentation, and they are available on the website of the university, or on the websites of the units. Other quality documentation is available on the intranet of the university and the units.
Organisation and responsibilities in quality management
The university’s Board guides the university’s quality work and its principles. The leadership of the university and its faculties, independent institutes and service centres are responsible for the overall quality of their activities and outcomes. All staff members are, for their part, responsible for high quality in the university’s activities, and for outcomes that are in line with the university’s goals. Furthermore, students are expected to participate in the development of the university’s activities by giving feedback and by participating in the work of various administrative bodies through their own representatives.
How is quality assessed and managed?
The key procedures assuring the quality of the activities and outcomes include quality documentation such as quality manuals and process descriptions, audits and evaluations, benchmarking, management reviews and feedback systems. These provide the university with information on the quality of its activities and needs for development. Quality documentation is briefly explained on this page, while audits, evaluations, benchmarking and management reviews are explained on a page of their own.
External Audits of the university
The University of Eastern Finland had an external audit in December 2016, when the Finnish Education Evaluation Centre, FINEEC, evaluated the Quality Management System of the university. The audit was international and the auditing language was English. The auditing group consisted of both Finnish and foreign quality experts as auditors. The positive audit result has come and the report was published on April 2017. More information about this audit can be found on the FINEEC Audit's 2016 own page.
Quality management and issues relating to sustainable development belong to the remit of University Services and, more precisely, Development Services. In questions relating to the university's quality work and quality management system, please contact the Quality Coordinator of the University of Eastern Finland.
The university's Leadership Group acts as the steering committee for quality management. The university's operative quality work is coordinated by the Quality Coordinator and the Quality Group, which consists of the representatives of the faculties, independent institutes and Student Union, and is chaired by the Director of Administration.
In the faculties and independent institutes, there are also persons in charge of both quality and sustainable development.
The contact information of the persons in charge of quality in the university's faculties and units is available on the quality website and on the quality section of the intranet.
The university's activities relating to sustainable development are also coordinated by the Quality Coordinator, in co-operation with the Advisory Board on Sustainable Development comprising representatives of the faculties, independent institutes, service centres and Student Union.
University of Eastern Finland
University Services, Development Services
P.O. Box 1627, 70211 Kuopio
Mobile +358 40 564 8985
Address: Yliopistonranta 1 E, Snellmania building
2nd floor, room 2313 (in University Services, Administration)