An audit is a quality assurance procedure carried out by a party outside the university. It is used to examine whether the university meets the requirements set for it. The audit examines whether the higher education institution meets the European quality management criteria for higher education institutions.
The audit in HAMK
An audit will be held at HAMK this spring in April. The audit for HAMK is performed by the Finnish Education Evaluation Centre (FINEEC). The audit is conducted online and several students and staff members will participate. The audit team is international and the audit is conducted in English.
FINEEC info on the audit was held on March 14, 2022, which was attended by a large number of people from HAMK. At the briefing, Aino Kouri, President of the Board of HAMKO, spoke about the expectations of the student union towards auditing.
The Student Union influences quality issues
For a student union, a developing university of applied sciences is one of the most important goals. This is being built continuously in cooperation with HAMK. This goal is reflected in our organization and its operations. HAMKO’s Board has a member appointed to the responsibility process for the quality and feedback, and we also have an employee for this sector. HAMKO is represented in all of HAMK’s main bodies; HAMK Ltd Board, Management Team, Quality Management Development Group and many other working groups. HAMKO is also active in HAMK’s feedback processes. The Meet the Dean meetings should be mentioned as the most visible of these, and HAMKO is also involved in the planning of these feedback sessions.
The world is changing, is education changing with it?
In six years, the world has changed around us, and will change faster and faster in the future. The change has been prominently visible in the word of work which is where our graduates will be active. That is why it is important to ask: has our university of applied sciences kept up with the change and does education respond to the questions and challenges that we will have to deal with in the business and industry of the future?
Have electronic systems developed and has there been sufficient support for students’ capacities in their use?Aino Kouri
Changing operating environment
The change in the operating environment since 2016 after the last audit has been spectacular. The ways of learning have become more diverse and new environments have come alongside traditional classrooms and lectures. From spring 2020 until now, the Corona virus forced us all to make a rapid change when we switched to distance learning. Many things became digital, and pedagogy required changes. It is also worth considering whether as a higher education institution we have taken the digital leap that society has taken due to the pandemic. Have electronic systems developed and has there been sufficient support for students’ capacities in their use? Where have we developed and where is there still room for improvement?
Students involved in quality work
It is important for HAMKO that the students’ voices are heard in HAMK’s feedback systems and audit. Module feedback processes, Spark system, Meet the Dean and Rector’s Hearings meetings. The purpose of all these is to establish a dialogue between students and the university of applied sciences. Without this vital dialogue, it would be challenging to develop the quality of higher education. After all, quality development is never complete, and it does not strive for perfection as it is logically impossible. The cycle has no end point, so quality must always be improved, this is done as a dialogue between different parties.
Expectations of student involvement
The recommendations of the 2016 audit included, among other things, the more effective involvement of students in HAMK’s feedback systems, and the student union was seen to have the opportunity to play a bigger role in student inclusion. An important part for us is whether students know and recognize their role in HAMK’s quality system and whether HAMK’s quality work is visible to students. This is one of the things on which we look forward to an external assessment, so that we can see the results of our cooperation and plan for the future. The desire of international students for better working life contacts is also our interest, as one of HAMKO’s priorities is in the services of international students and in better workplace services.