Quality Label for Excellence awarded to Seinäjoki University of Applied Sciences in 2022

Higher education Kati Isoaho

Seinäjoki University of Applied Sciences (SeAMK) has in its activities demonstrated innovative pioneering, a long-term development approach and a participatory operating culture. For this reason, the Finnish Education Evaluation Centre (FINEEC) has awarded SeAMK the Quality Label for Excellence in higher education. The Quality Label for Excellence is now awarded for the second time.

FINEEC awards the Quality Label for Excellence to audited higher education institutions for enhancement work of an exceptional quality. The assessment of Excellence is carried out by an evaluation panel appointed for this purpose and the final decision on awarding the Quality Label is made by the Higher Education Evaluation Committee.

This year, the Quality Label was awarded to Seinäjoki University of Applied Sciences (SeAMK). Lappeenranta-Lahti University of Technology LUT and Savonia University of Applied Sciences were also candidates for the Quality Label for Excellence. Every year, the higher education institutions that have been granted the level excellent for at least one evaluation area in the audit are candidates for the Quality Label for Excellence. The evaluation areas are HEI creates competence, HEI promotes impact and renewal and HEI enhances quality and well-being. The competence of all candidate institutions in the enhancement and development of their activities was of a high quality.

The Quality Label, which is awarded for the second time, gives us an interesting opportunity to examine from yet another perspective those higher education institutions that have already been found excellent in the audit. It is inspiring that we can highlight higher education institutions’ top-level quality work in this way and at the same time learn from each other and further enhance and develop the activities of higher education institutions. Along with the recognition received with the Quality Label, higher education institutions also have the responsibility to spread their competence more widely in their surroundings,” says Anniina Sippola, the advocacy advisor from SAMOK ry.

SeAMK’s evidence of regional impact and activities in line with its values were considered strong by the evaluation panel

When conducting the assessment of Excellence, the evaluation panel paid attention especially to three aspects in SeAMK’s activities. The first one was SeAMK’s extensive and diverse regional impact. According to the panel, SeAMK provides evidence that it is an innovative pioneer in its region.  SeAMK also demonstrates evidence of bold development work arising from the needs of the region and the higher education institution.

The panel considered SeAMK’s practices in the enhancement of the personnel’s competence exceptionally strong. SeAMK can provide evidence, for example, of effective pedagogical education, development of digital pedagogy and ICT education. In addition, SeAMK has a personnel fund that is used to support the personnel’s further studies and competence development.

According to the panel, SeAMK’s strength is also the uniformity of the activities and values, when the value is an entrepreneurial mindset. The personnel and students are encouraged not only to internal entrepreneurship, meaning experiments and creativity, but also to external entrepreneurship, which means entrepreneurial activities.

SeAMK was delighted to receive the information about having received the Quality Label. SeAMK also has a strong willingness to enhance its activities on the basis of the external evaluations that  have been carried out:

“We are extremely happy about the Quality Label for Excellence that SeAMK was awarded for two evaluation areas. Quality work is important to us and a natural part of the everyday life of personnel in our different functions. We have also set our quality objectives at a high level. I would like to express my thanks to FINEEC for the audit, which gave us many new enhancement ideas – enhancement work at SeAMK will continue systematically in a good atmosphere. The positive feedback and particularly the good enhancement proposals we received from FINEEC are invaluable to us,” says Jaakko Hallila, President and CEO of SeAMK.

Criteria for Excellence assessment

The following criteria are used in awarding the Quality Label for Excellence:

  • The higher education institution is an innovative forerunner and develops its operations in a bold and open-minded manner.
  • The higher education institution has top level expertise in long-term development, and it can provide strong evidence of the impact of its development and enhancement activities.
  • The higher education institution has a positive impact on its surroundings. The higher education institution is known for engaging a wide range of actors in its development and enhancement activities and for crossing borders in an open-minded manner.

The Quality Label for Excellence is valid for the same six-year period as the Quality Label awarded in FINEEC’s audit. The recognition was awarded for the first time in 2021.

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