JAMK dares to renew – the audit applauded JAMK’s quality system and strong culture of experimentation

Suvi Skantz

JAMK University of Applied Sciences passed FINEEC’s audit. The audit especially applauded JAMK’s quality system and strong culture of experimentation. At JAMK, the student-oriented approach is strongly present in development activities and the teacher’s role is changing.

JAMK University of Applied Sciences passed the audit conducted by the Finnish Education Evaluation Centre (FINEEC). JAMK received a quality label, which is valid for six years. By passing the audit, JAMK shows that its operations and quality system meet both the national criteria and the European standards for quality assurance of higher education institutions. This was the first Finnish-language audit in which the new audit model for higher education institutions was applied.

The quality system creates a positive atmosphere

The quality system at JAMK was rated excellent by the audit team in the evaluation area “HEI enhances quality and well-being”. The audit team notes that JAMK’s quality system encourages joint development activities and creates a positive atmosphere in the entire community of the higher education institution. Quality enhancement is carried out with a long-term perspective and renews the institution’s activities. Quality work is also closely linked with JAMK’s strategic goals.

“We were particularly impressed by how quality enhancement activities have managed to create innovative procedures and a culture of success and joint development. It was great to see that students and stakeholders are also closely involved in quality work. In addition, the management of the higher education institution actively seeks new development ideas through external evaluations,” says chairperson of the audit team, Rector Riitta Rissanen from Lapland University of Applied Sciences.

The culture of experimentation is strong

At JAMK, the management has succeeded in creating an atmosphere which supports the courage to experiment and in which failures are allowed. Hybrid classrooms, laboratories and experimentation and development platforms support close co-operation with working life.

There is a lot of network-based co-operation but JAMK could further develop the formation of the overall picture of the ecosystem and build new kinds of combinations of skills. The audit team thinks that crossing competence boundaries and establishing surprising combinations may create future competences that we cannot even imagine yet. The audit team encourages JAMK to continue this development work to renew society.

The student-centred approach as a guideline for education

At JAMK, education is planned with a keen ear toward students and working life. The student-centred  approach is realised at JAMK through flexible learning pathway options and versatile learning environments, among other things.

According to the audit team, the higher education institution has many good feedback practices but for example in the utilisation of mid-course feedback, there is variation between different units. In addition to feedback on studies, the audit team encourages the institution to develop operations also on the basis of feedback from co-operation networks.

New ways to act as a teacher

JAMK is moving into the model of a New-generation institution of Higher Education, which challenges the institution to develop new ways to act as a teacher, among other things. The new model means that at JAMK the teacher increasingly plays the role of a counsellor and a coach and provides teaching online. Special investments have been made in the staff’s digital preparedness. For instance, there are network experts to support the teaching staff’s digital skills and Digikeskus, a digital centre to support learning material has been established.

Audits of higher education institution quality systems have been conducted in Finland since 2005. All Finnish higher education institutions have participated in the audits.

The audit report is available in the new FINEEC audit platform.

Additional information
Riitta Rissanen, Rector, Lapland University of Applied Sciences; chairof the audit team, riitta.rissanen(at)lapinamk.fi
Marja-Liisa Saarilammi, Finnish Education Evaluation Centre, project manager of the audit, +358 29 533 5528, marja-liisa.saarilammi(at)karvi.fi