The Finnish Education Evaluation Centre (FINEEC) conducted its first audit of South-Eastern Finland University of Applied Sciences (Xamk) and awarded it a quality label that is valid for six years. Xamk’s quality system meets the national criteria for quality management in higher education institutions and corresponds to the European quality management principles and guidelines.
Xamk has a strong role as a regional developer, and its strengths include agility in addressing areas of development and use of a quality system that serves as a basis for constant improvement of operations. All Xamk’s objectives of regional impact are supported by a uniform organisational culture created after the merger of Kyamk and Mamk. In addition, Xamk’s quality system is strongly linked to its strategic goals, and the data produced by the system is diversely used in the management and development of operations.
As for degree programme curricula, the strengths at Xamk include connections with the world of work, extensive opportunities for continuous learning, diverse learning environments and extensive student support and wellbeing services. Degree programmes are developed in a carefully planned manner anticipating the needs of the world of work in the future.
– Quite soon after the merger, we created an operations culture based on predictive development. We’ve built a community of higher education professionals and students where nobody’s wellbeing should be jeopardized and where all staff, students and partners work for the common goal of developing our own operations and the vitality of the region and the country as a whole. I want to express my gratitude for the good results to all members of our university community. We also received good feedback on our staff development programs and wellbeing at work, says Heikki Saastamoinen, the President of Xamk.
– We were impressed with the way Xamk has succeeded in creating uniform operating methods and practices that are systematically used to assess and develop the quality of all operations. Uniform operating practices have formed a basis for a participatory, interactive and agile quality culture that creates a strong regional impact, Jaana Ignatius from Laurea University of Applied Sciences summarises the results of the audit.
Customer relations management and international activities as development targets
The audit also serves as a means for an institution of higher education to learn and improve. The audit team recommends that Xamk continue the development of customer relations management and place a stronger emphasis on the role of international cooperation in the planning of degree programme curricula and development of learning environments.
– We’ve already begun developing our customer relations management system and we’ll continue that. In this way, we’ll be able to better and more effectively respond to the needs of the world of work. Also, our strategical aim is to increase our international activities and cooperation, and we work hard to attract exchange students and international experts, Saastamoinen says.
Each institution of higher education can select one target of audit. Xamk selected the integration of teaching and RDI.
– We conduct more RDI projects than any other Finnish university of applied sciences and we’re making great effort to integrate RDI into teaching. This audit encourages us to continue and develop this process. In all our development activities, the goal is to respond to the needs of the world of work, Saastamoinen states.
South-Eastern Finland University of Applied Sciences, Xamk
Heikki Saastamoinen, President and CEO, heikki.saastamoinen (at) xamk.fi
Marjaana Kivelä, Quality Manager, marjaana.kivela (at) xamk.fi
Jaana Ignatius, Director, Chair of the Audit Team, Laurea University of Applied Sciences, jaana.ignatius (at) laurea.fi
Kati Isoaho, Senior Evaluation Advisor, The Finnish Education Evaluation Centre, kati.isoaho (at) karvi.fi