Quality label to Seinäjoki University of Applied Sciences –cooperation with regional stakeholders is well structured

Higher education Virpi Pietiläinen

The Finnish Education Evaluation Centre (FINEEC) has conducted an audit of Seinäjoki University of Applied Sciences (SeAMK) and has awarded it a quality label that is valid for six years from 14 April 2016. The quality system of SeAMK fulfils the criteria for the quality management of higher education institutions, and corresponds to the European principles and recommendations.

The audit was carried out by an international audit team. According to the audit team a major strength of the quality system is the cooperation between the Seinäjoki University of Applied Sciences and the region.

“Structured cooperation between Seinäjoki University of Applied Sciences and its regional stakeholders leads to effective regional development and to education that responds very well to the region’s needs”, says Katariina Raij, chair of the audit team.

According to the audit report, the division of responsibility within the quality system is clear and has been recently improved by the systematic harmonisation of processes. In addition, the audit team noted the student centred approaches and focus in supporting the learning process that enhance student success and faculty motivation as a strength of SeAMK.

In the audit, three degree programmes were reviewed in more detail. The audit team appreciated particularly the Inclusive foresight process that was used to identify the future needs of working life during curriculum renewal in the Degree Programme in Business Management.

The audit team also gives recommendations for further development. The quality system would benefit from a clearer separation of its theoretical and operative elements. Further development of pedagogy, in line with the strategy of SeAMK is also recommended, as well as more systematic identification of good practices across schools. In the audit team’s view, systematic development of applied research work methodologies could be seen as an important future focus.

SeAMK chose quality management of entrepreneurship education as the optional audit target. Based on the audit, the focus on entrepreneurship is established among staff and students. However, the audit team recommends SeAMK to provide a theory-based operationalisation of the notion of entrepreneurial spirit. The different procedures of entrepreneurship education could then be related to a common framework and each procedure placed in context.

Seinäjoki University of Applied Sciences was previously audited in 2009. According to the audit team, SeAMK has since developed the quality system to be more streamlined, unified and transparent. Nevertheless, the fundamentals of the quality system have remained mostly untouched. The audit team would encourage SeAMK to develop procedures to periodically assess and discuss also the fundamental settings of the quality system in the light of strategic choices and evolving operational environment.

Audits of quality systems of higher education institutions began in Finland in 2005. The audit report is available on FINEEC’s webpage http://www.karvi.fi/

 

For more details, please contact:

Katariina Raij, Chair of the Audit Team, tel. +358 40 830 6172, katariina(at)raij.fi

Touko Apajalahti, Senior Advisor, tel. +358 29 53 35 502, email: touko.apajalahti(at)karvi.fi

report orders: Arja Bilund, Administrative Assistant, tel. +358 2953 35503, email: arja.bilund(at)karvi.fi

 

Report:

Audit of Seinäjoki University of Applied Sciences 2016