Laurea University of Applied Sciences (Laurea) has in its activities demonstrated an innovative pioneering attitude, a long-term development approach and a participatory operating culture. For this reason, the Finnish Education Evaluation Centre (FINEEC) has awarded Laurea the Quality Label for Excellence in higher education. The Quality Label for Excellence is now awarded for the third 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 for Excellence was awarded to Laurea University of Applied Sciences. Häme University of Applied Sciences (HAMK) was also a candidate 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 is of a high quality.
“Quality work in higher education is generally at a very good level, and a wide range of important work is constantly being done to promote it. This is demonstrated by the Quality Label for Excellence, which is now awarded for the third time. Through the Quality Label process, we can look at and highlight the valuable and effective practices of those higher education institutions that have already been found excellent in the audit. Laurea demonstrated a particularly strong climate of co-creation and a culture of interactive RDI activities,” says Gunilla Widén, Vice-rector and Chair of the evaluation panel.
The evaluation panel found Laurea’s evidence of societal interaction and RDI activities strong
When conducting the assessment of Excellence, the evaluation panel paid attention especially to three aspects in Laurea’s activities. The first one was Laurea’s pioneering role in developing societal interaction and the practices related to it. Laurea engages different actors, networks and stakeholders in its area in co-creation widely and in a goal-oriented manner. Laurea has years of experience in cooperation and co-creation, including in applying co-creation into practice. Active monitoring of the changes taking place in working life and foresight work also promote successful activities. The entire organisation has committed itself to the reform work.
Secondly, the panel found Laurea’s evidence and practices in RDI activities and their development exceptionally strong. RDI activities are an integral part of the implementation of Laurea’s overall strategy. Laurea strengthens the RDI competence of its entire personnel in a systematic manner. At the same time, it constantly assesses the effectiveness of its activities. Laurea is the leading university of applied sciences in receiving the EU’s Horizon funding in Finland. Laurea’s RDI activities have also been linked to the effective Learning by Developing (LbD) operating model, which it has been developing in the long term.
According to the panel, Laurea’s third strength is its open-minded way to cross boundaries. Laurea crosses boundaries creatively and actively utilises alumni and other networks in developing the higher education institution. Laurea also has an important role in national cooperation and international networks, such as the European Network of Living Labs and the European Network of Security. The Living Lab activities are an example of development expertise, for which Laurea is internationally respected.
The Laurea community was satisfied with the evaluation and delighted to receive the Quality Label for Excellence. Laurea has a strong willingness to enhance its activities in the long term on the basis of the external evaluations that have been carried out:
“At Laurea University of Applied Sciences, we are extremely happy and humbly impressed about the Quality Label for Excellence awarded to our higher education community. It is wonderful to receive external recognition for the long-term, goal-oriented work we have done in the field of research, development and innovation. With its committed, development-oriented and bold attitude, the personnel of Laurea have in cooperation with our extensive network of stakeholders enabled actions that have regional, national and international impact”, says Jouni Koski, President and CEO of Laurea.
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.
- Gunilla Widén, Vice-rector, Chair of the evaluation panel, Åbo Akademi University, gunilla.widen(at)abo.fi, tel. +358 2 215 31
- Kati Isoaho, Senior Evaluation Advisor, Finnish Education Evaluation Centre (FINEEC), kati.isoaho(at)karvi.fi, tel. +358 29 533 5501
- Sanna Vahtivuori-Hänninen, Senior Evaluation Advisor, Finnish Education Evaluation Centre (FINEEC), sanna.vahtivuori(at)karvi.fi, tel. +358 29 533 5509
- The principles, criteria and process of awarding the Quality Label for Excellence