Quality management

Quality at the University of Helsinkki means doing the right things at the right time in the right way to achieve top results. The fit for purpose operating models are continuously assessed and developed to further improve results. Quality means expedient operations and high-quality results.

The University’s quality culture is the atmosphere of the University community supporting high-quality operations. The quality culture manifests itself in the high commitment of the staff and students to their work and studies. The staff and students collaborate in accordance with the values and objectives of the University and adhere to common policies. They also share good practices and engage in continuous evaluation.

Quality management is the fit-for-purpose conduct of operations. The practices adopted by the University are justified and well managed. Through quality management, we will know whether we are achieving the goals set for our work, and have the ability to correct our course when necessary. Quality management ensures that society can trust in the University and its operations.

The University's quality system is an integrated management system which helps us maintain and develop the quality of University operations. It is a collection of measures and methods used to ensure that we are progressing towards and achieving our goals. With the help of our quality management system, through the description and measurement of operations, we can observe when something is not working and react to development needs. The University’s quality system provides the necessary structures and defines the procedures and responsibilities for well-functioning quality management.

The description of the quality system:

Defines how the University´s quality system operate using PDCA-cycle.

What does quality mean at the University of Helsinki? What is the quality of teaching and research and the public engagement based on them? The video describes the key quality concepts of the University as parts of the University’s and the University community’s every day life.

 

Quality policy means University guidelines for the goals, principles and distribution of responsibilities in high-quality operations:

Quality work supports the University of Helsinki in achieving its vision defined at the Strategic plan. Every member of the academic community shall contribute to the common goal of achieving the University’s objectives and shall be responsible for his or her performance and outcomes. The purpose of the University’s quality system is to aid the academic community and its members in developing a framework for quality management.

The quality system is an integrated management system which helps us maintain and develop the quality of University operations. It is a collection of measures and methods used to ensure that we are progressing towards and achieving our goals. With the help of our quality management system, through the description and measurement of operations, we can observe when something is not working and react to development needs.

The quality system provides the structures and defines the procedures and responsibilities of well-functioning quality management.

The description of the quality system (see the more substantial version above):

Defines how the University´s quality system operate using PDCA-cycle.

 

The purpose of the quality system is to:

  • Support the attainment of the objectives of the University’s quality policy
  • Support the leadership and management
  • Allow for continuous assessment and improvement of operations by offering tools and pointing out development areas
  • Provide reliable monitoring and assessment data for operations management
  • Clarify and harmonise procedures as well as eliminate errors and flaws
  • Disseminate and establish good practices

The quality system rests on an appropriate organisational structure as well as good management and decision-making. Its foundation consists of the strategic plan as well as the University’s target programme together with the related target programmes and action plans of the units (faculties and independent institutes). The quality system supports the University’s strategic objectives and helps both the University and its units to achieve them.

The University of Helsinki's quality system is documented in

The description of the quality system

The description of the quality system explains how University operations are planned, implemented, evaluated and developed. See the picture at the top of the page.

Flamma intranet

The Flamma intranet and the Instructions for Students and Instructions for Teaching websites function as the University’s operations manual, providing all the necessary information on how operations are carried out at the University. The University no longer draws up an operations manual in the traditional format on the University or unit levels. The framework of guidelines and instructions for the University and unit levels is presented with the help of the PDCA (Plan - Do - Check - Act) cycle. The PDCA cycles of faculties and independent institutes feature on the unit-specific The University Guide to How It’s Done page on Flamma.

The instructions for Students

The Instructions for Students website offers general and degree programme-specific instructions and bulletins regarding your studies.

The instructions for Teaching

The site contains University-level and degree programme-specific instructions for teaching (e.g., the planning of teaching, thesis supervision and special arrangements).

Process descriptions

The process descriptions of the University of Helsinki have been drawn up using QPR Enterprise Architect software, and they are stored on the Mallinnus server. To log in You need the University user identifier. Process descriptions are part of the work on the enterprise architecture of the University of Helsinki.

Process descriptions clarify management practices, help to identify process bottlenecks, relieve the process workload, facilitate comparisons with other units, harmonise operations and help to share good practices.

Instructions

Instructions for the operations of the University of Helsinki are provided in various regulations, provisions and guidelines. All of these are part of the University's quality documentation.

Public decisions and minutes

The Board of the University of Helsinki bears ultimate responsibility for quality principles and policies. The University leadership is accountable for the overall quality of operations and results. The faculty deans and directors of independent institutes, as well as the directors of University Services sectors answer for the quality of the operations and results in their units. Every member of the academic community is responsible for the quality of their work and its results as well as their improvement in their role as

  • Teachers
  • Researchers
  • Students
  • Members of the administrative and support staff

Quality management at the University is coordinated by the quality management steering group. The group is led by the vice-rector in charge of quality management, while the University’s head of quality management acts as the secretary. The head of quality management coordinates the implementation of quality management principles and procedures.

The responsibilities for the quality system correspond to those defined for the University’s management and integrate seamlessly into regular management procedures. For example, deans are responsible for their faculty’s quality system and heads of department for their department’s system. Faculty and degree programme steering groups play an important role in quality assurance.

Quality management steering group

The University has established a quality management steering group to supervise and coordinate its quality management and evaluation. The group is led by vice-rector Sari Lindblom. The group’s duties include developing and consolidating the University’s quality culture together with its units, preparing the University’s quality management principles in support of teaching and research, steering the development and evaluation of operational quality at the University, and coordinating the quality management system overall. The group’s term ends on 31 December 2020.

According to the Universities Act, universities must evaluate their education, research and artistic activities as well as the effectiveness of these activities. Universities must also regularly participate in external evaluations of their activities and quality assurance systems. The results of these evaluations must be made public.

Evaluations usually include a self-evaluation conducted by the University community. Self-evaluation offers a good opportunity to assess activities and identify strengths and areas in need of development. Evaluation projects involve external experts who provide constructive feedback to serve as an impetus for examining the current state of affairs and boosting the quality of University operations. Audits do not address the objectives or results of operations as such, but rather evaluate the processes used to maintain and develop the quality of operations.

Quality system audit

The objective of the audit is to ensure that the University has a quality system that supports the continuous development of its operations. The audit also ensures that the University operates in line with its objectives and that its operations are reliable both nationally and internationally. The audit does not judge the objectives or results of operations as such, but rather evaluates the processes used to manage and develop the quality of operations.

Preparations for an audit of the University’s quality system in autumn 2021

The next audit of the University’s quality system will take place in 2021. This international audit will be carried out by the Finnish Education Evaluation Centre (FINEEC).

Previous quality system audit

The University’s previous quality system audit was conducted in 2014–2015  as an international audit by the Finnish Education Evaluation Centre (FINEEC). The University passed the audit on 27 February 2015 and received a quality label which is valid for six years, until 27 February 2021. Based on the audit and the audit team’s visit, the international audit team published an audit report on the evaluation of the University.

Evaluations

The research conducted at the University of Helsinki was assessed on 2018–2019. The aim of the assessment was to produce an overview of the quality and impact of the research conducted at the University, to assist in identifying future research opportunities and to support the renewal of research.

Final report: Research Assessment 2018-19 University of Helsinki (RAUH) (pdf)

The aim is to carry out the evaluations in a way that puts minimum strain on the University’s basic operations, teaching and research. Upcoming evaluations in the 2020s:

  • Evaluation of the degree programmes in 2021
  • Evaluation of University Services (time to be confirmed)

 

Have your say – let's join forces for a better university

As a member of the university community, you share the responsibility for the University’s high-quality operations with other members of the University community. It is important that you attend to your own duties to the best of your ability. By participating in supervision and guidance, feedback surveys and development discussions, you play an important role in managing the quality of the University community’s operations.

The University strives to operate in a high-quality way so that time and resources can be directed at the core duties of its members, namely studies, teaching and research.  The University has its own quality policy that serves as the basis for operational development.

An international panel has evaluated the University’s operations in the autumn of 2014. This evaluation, known as an audit, aims to discover means of ensuring the continuous improvement of the University’s successful operations.

As a member of the University community, you can contribute to these efforts! Students have several channels through which they can have their say:

  • Discussions conducted in connection with their personal study plan (PSP)
  • Course feedback
  • The University’s own HowULearn questionnaire
  • National surveys such as the Bachelor’s Graduate Survey
  • Student organisations
  • Student representatives in the various University committees and decision-making organs
  • The University of Helsinki Student Union
  • Student wellbeing surveys conducted by the Finnish Student Health Service
  • The graduate employment survey conducted by the Aarresaari Academic Career Services Network
  • Feedback surveys designed for UH students returning from exchanges and for incoming exchange students
  • The International Student Barometer