Audit, i.e. the evaluation of the quality system, has been ongoing at VAMK since last autumn. The audit will be implemented by the Finnish Education Evaluation Centre (Karvi), whose audit model for Finnish institutes of higher education is based on the criteria created by the European Association for Quality Assurance in Higher Education (ENQA). An important part of the process is self-assessment that was uploaded onto FINEEC's digital platform at the end of the last year.
– A huge amount of work has been done with the self-assessment and a lot has been learnt when doing it. We have discussed our good practices and considered enhancement needs in online meetings. It has been great to see that we consider the audit as a possibility to enhance our activities, says Tarja Kettunen, Quality Manager at VAMK.
The audit process will continue in the spring with workshops and the audit visit 23 - 25 March. The self-assessment will be looked at in the workshops and the sessions are divided into themes.
The audit visit will be implemented online as interviews or as workshops. During the visit, the audit team will interview the staff and students from various degree programmes, units as well as representatives of stakeholders. The invitations to the interviews will be sent to the groups of interviewees and everyone will participate using one's own computer. The purpose of the interviews is to verify that everything presented in the self-assessment report and other material sent in advance is carried out as presented at VAMK.
The Chair of the Audit Team is Eva Werner, Professor Emerita. During the career, she has served President of Krems University of Applied Sciences in Austria, where her responsibilities included academic quality assurance. Other members of the team are Touko Apajalahti, expert from Technology Finland, Tero Janatuinen, Quality Manager from JAMK University of Applied Sciences and Jade Brouns, a student from Fontys University of Applied Science, the Netherlands. Also participating as experts are Sirpa Moitus, Counsellor of Evaluation and Hanna Väätäinen, Evaluation Expert.
VAMK's audit is the first international audit to be implemented using the FINEEC's audit model. In the audit, it will be evaluated if our quality work meets European standards and if our own quality assessment supports continuous enhancement.
– Both the self-assessment and the audit evaluation will be available on the FINEEC's platform after the process had ended in the late spring. Such a practice increases the openness of the assessment and quality work as well as transparency, Tarja Kettunen points out.
Working Life Cooperation in Particular Focus
The entire management and quality system will be evaluated in the audit but education and its impact are in focus. Impact means societal engagement, significant RDI activities, and organisational culture that promotes renewal.
VAMK's activities are based on the premise that students receive as extensive and up-to-date education as possible and are prepared for future work. To achieve this, VAMK listens to opinions of the staff and students and cooperates actively with working life. The higher education institute can choose one evaluation area itself and VAMK has chosen cooperation with working life, which is essential for its activities.
– Our objective is a new kind of partnership with working life, developing continuous learning and creating research platforms, Tarja Kettunen sums it up.