Quality for stakeholders

The University of Eastern Finland is an internationally recognised and socially impactful actor. We are known as a partner who takes the initiative. Our key partners are the cities that our campuses are located in, state research institutes, Kuopio University Hospital, universities of applied sciences, and business and industry. Experts of our university participate, together with stakeholders, in the work of various working groups, as well as in the generation of knowledge needed to support decision-making in society. The university promotes and supports broad-based innovation activities and the emergence of business activities especially in eastern Finland. In addition, cooperation with stakeholders takes place in various projects relating to education, as well as in R&D projects. Studies in several of the university’s academic subjects include practical working life training.  

Representatives of stakeholders participate in the planning, evaluation and development of the activities of the university's units in various manners (social interaction). Stakeholders are represented in, for example, the university’s Board, the University Collegiate Body and the Advisory Board, as well as in various planning, steering and management groups. Experts representing business and industry and the public sector, as well as the university's alumni, are made use of as experts and trainers. To support life-long learning, which is relevant also in working life, the university offers modern and efficient adult education as Open University teaching and as continuing education resting on the university's strong fields of research and education. The Open University also serves as a gateway to degree studies.

Quality Management System of the University of Eastern Finland, stakeholder participation in quality work and the significance of the Quality Management System for stakeholders

The University of Eastern Finland has a Quality Management System that covers all activities of the university. The Quality Management System is loosely built on the ISO9001 standard by matching standard's scheme but is not sertified. There is also some accreditated units or laboratories in the university.

The Quality Management System consists of the university's Main Quality Manual, the subordinate quality manuals, process descriptions and various procedural and work instructions of the faculties and units. The Quality Management System is briefly explained in the Prezi presentation available at: https://prezi.com/pxfihfpslazr/uefn-laatujarjestelma/ . The university's Main Quality Manual describes the university’s activities and quality work in more detail.

In the university’s quality culture, quality work and continuous development of processes have become an integral part of strategic leadership and the university’s activities both at the level of individuals and units. Stakeholder cooperation plays an integral role in the university’s quality work. The university’s Quality Management System is rooted in the principle of continuous and systematic development of activities in accordance with the Deming Cycle (PDCA).

The system produces data on the university’s activities and performance needed by the university’s leadership and internal and external stakeholders for the development of the activities and to support decision-making. The principle of continuous development, the Plan-Do-Check-Act cycle, also works in stakeholder cooperation.

The Quality Management System provides the university’s stakeholders with opportunities to make sure that the university's core activities are efficient and expedient.  The university provides stakeholders with information relating to its activities and quality assurance. The stakeholder members in the university's Board have also participated in the decision-making relating to the university’s quality policy, quality requirements and the Quality Management System as a whole.  Stakeholders participate in the university’s events such as annual celebrations and opening ceremonies, evenings aimed at corporate partners, and day-time events at the university. Matters relating to quality have been discussed in these events frequently over the past years. 
Ensuring that stakeholders have good access to information about different forms of cooperation and about the services offered by the university constitutes part of the university's quality assurance.

At the University of Eartern Finland, quality management and the promotion of the  suitanable development and social responsibility constitute integral parts of the implementation of the university's strategy. Quality and sustainable development are parts of the university's everyday activities. Furthermore, in the fields of quality and sustainable development , the University of Eartern Finland actively collaborates with the region of eastern Finland, as well as with other higher education institutions.  

In sustainable development our university is one of about ten finnish higher education institutions who held the status of a Fair Trade University. The university and Studen Union are pledged to use Fairtrade products in university's events and meetings. Also university restaurants offer fairtrade products. University Services has also the Green Office diploma and it is operating by sustainable development's principals which are also widely used in the whole university. The university has undersigned the Society's  Commitment to Sustainable Development in 2015.

Furthermore, the university holds a Diploma Supplement Label awarded by the European Commission in recognition ot the university adhering to all aspects of the Diploma Supplement system (Europass). In recognition of this work to develop the professional competencies of researchers and the attractiveness of the research career, the university obtained the right to use the HR Excellence in Research logo, issued by  the EU.

University's external audits

In Finland, evaluation and monitoring is used in the development of universities and universities of applied sciences. In accordance with the national evaluation model, quality management systems of higher education institutions are audited at least every six years. The University of Eastern Finland already has a valid certificate from the audit carried out in 2010.

These audits are carried out by an independent expert, the Finnish Education Evaluation Centre, FINEEC.
Finland's own national model defines what the quality management system should be like both in view of national and European requirements. In auditing, the quality management system developed by each higher education institution from its own viewpoints and objectives is evaluated. The quality management system refers to the overall entity of developing activities, which consists of the organisation for quality assurance, division of responsibilities, procedures, and resources. Quality management refers to the procedures, processes or systems with the help of which a higher education institution monitors, maintains and develops the quality of its activities.

The objective of auditing is to support higher education institutions in the development of quality management systems that conform to the principles of European quality assurance, and thus to demonstrate that Finland has well-functioning and consistent quality assurance both in higher education institutions and at the national level.

The Finnish Education Evaluation Centre, FINEEC, was evaluated the Quality Management System of the University of Eastern Finland on December 2016. The previous audit was carried out in 2010, after the University of Eastern Finland was established. The audit was an international audit, which means that the audit team had also foreign quality experts as members, and that the language of the audit was English. In the audit, the university's staff members, students and also representatives of stakeholders were interviewed on a broad basis. 
FINEEC has conducted an audit of the university on April 2017 and has awarded the university a quality label FINEEC audited that is valid for six years until the next audit in 2022.
The quality management system of the Univeristy of Eastern Finland fulfils the national criteria set for quality management of higher education institutions and corresponds also to the European quality assurance principles and recommendations for higher education institutions. The Audit report can be find here.

Further information about the audit is available on the website of the FINEEC audit from these university's quality websites.