The Finnish Education Evaluation Centre (FINEEC) has conducted an audit of Seinäjoki University of Applied Sciences (SeAMK) and has awarded the institution a quality label that is valid for six years from 26 January 2022. The quality system of SeAMK meets the national criteria for quality management in higher education institutions and corresponds to the European principles and recommendations.
The strengths of SeAMK in the development of its operation and quality management include the multidisciplinary guidance and support services that promote the holistic wellbeing of students, the management and quality system that supports regional development, and the close links between the strategy and the quality system. The cooperation related to planning continuous learning with the actors in the region is also strong.
The audit team gave SeAMK the grade ‘excellent’ for the following evaluation areas: HEI promotes impact and renewal (II) and HEI enhances quality and well-being (III). According to Asta Wahlgrén, the chair of the audit team, the quality system promotes the implementation of the strategy in an excellent manner. Extensive and diverse opportunities for the competence development of staff are also offered:
”SeAMK’s quality system clarifies and enhances the operation and supports management in different parts and at all levels of the organisation. As an audit team, we were convinced and impressed by SeAMK’s operating culture, which inspired and encouraged competence development.
Based on the audit data, the management and quality system of SeAMK also supports regional development and the reform of the industrial structure in the entire region. SeAMK has built operating models and forms of RDI activities that contribute to regional development and the reform of the industrial structure. The institution develops them constantly, while also considering the needs of workplaces and businesses. The entrepreneurial attitude at SeAMK, its diverse forms of operation and extensive networks support the higher education institution’s innovative organisational culture.
The strong integration of teaching and RDI activities ensures up-to-date research results and education that is based on the needs of the working life
SeAMK has successfully integrated teaching staff and students both into extensive RDI projects and into assignments received from the working life. Research-based information is linked to the education in an appropriate manner. This is in line with the pedagogical model ‘Learning at SeAMK’, which supports the planning and implementation of competence-based education. External stakeholders, key partners and networks participate actively in the quality and strategy work of SeAMK, creating significant added value both to the higher education institution and to stakeholders.
In future, SeAMK should particularly develop its feedback and monitoring processes
According to the audit team, the key enhancement areas of SeAMK are the following: development of the evaluation of the impact of teaching development measures, strengthening the cooperation with small and microenterprises in the region and enhance the monitoring and communication of the development measures of the quality system.
The development of the student feedback process requires investment in matters such as the implementation of responses to feedback from students. The audit team encourages SeAMK to also pay attention to assessing students’ learning and their achievement of the intended learning outcomes as part of evaluating the impact of the education. The implementation of the intended learning outcomes of the education must be evaluated and monitored more systematically. The development ideas proposed by students in international degree programmes must be taken into account more comprehensively to enable SeAMK’s vision International, entrepreneurial SeAMK – Best for our students to be realised even better.
More advantage should be taken of the provision of ETCS credits for work experience also in continuous learning services
The evaluation area chosen by SeAMK was Planning, organising and enhancing continuous learning. The link between continuous learning and the strategy is clear and cooperation related to planning the activities is carried out actively with the actors in the region. The development needs in continuous learning have been identified and reacted to by clarifying the organisation of continuous learning. In future, the processes and practices of providing ETCS credits for work experience must be improved while also paying attention to the continuous learning services as a whole. The continuous learning system and the opportunities for continuous learning must be clarified to the target groups of the services and to degree students, and the continuous learning offered should be made more customer-oriented.
Finland launched the audits of quality systems of higher education institutions in 2005. The audit report is available on FINEEC’s digital audit platform.
- Hanna Väätäinen, Project Manager of the audit, Senior Evaluation Advisor, tel. +358 29 5335 568, hanna.vaatainen(at)karvi.fi
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