The operation and principles of the quality system
The University of Oulu's quality system produces reliable information about the effectiveness, efficiency and smoothness of operations and supports the spreading of good practices.
Continuous Improvement (PDCA, Plan-Do-Check-Act) is a key principle of the quality system, according to which the university's operations are planned, implemented, evaluated and developed. Continuous improvement is the business of every student and member of the staff.
The quality system creates structures and defines responsibilities and procedures for functional quality management. The quality system serves as a quality management tool.
The university's quality system ensures that the university's quality policy is implemented and defines the quality management organization, division of responsibilities, procedures and resources.
The quality assurance system consists of the following procedures that the university uses to maintain and develop the quality of its activities and operations:
- what activities are carried out (e.g. process descriptions)
- information about what is pursued (e.g. the targets agreed in the target and performance negotiations)
- knowledge of how things should be done (e.g. up-to-date guides)
- knowledge about the roles and responsibilities of university’s actors (e.g. University regulations, Competence in contracts resolution)
- relevant information about the operations and activities is available (e.g. feedback systems)
- a culture and modus operandi of continuous improvement.
Quality management is an elemental part of the university’s management system. Operations are improved through analyses based on feedback, evaluations and indicator data.
University quality management is based on the quality policy approved by the university's Board of Directors in 2023.
Assessments and audits
According to the University Act, universities must regularly participate in external evaluation of their operations and quality systems. The goal of the quality system audit is to ensure that the university has a system that supports the continuous development of operations. The audit assesses the appropriateness, functionality and effectiveness of the higher education institution's quality system. The subject of review are the procedures by which the higher education institution maintains and develops the quality of its operations.
The Finnish Education Evaluation Center (FINEEC) evaluates the operations of Finnish higher education institutions with audits that are carried out every six years. The current quality label of the University of Oulu's FINEEC audit is valid until February 28, 2024. The next time the University of Oulu will be audited in December 2023.
Quality management actors and responsibilities
The Rector is responsible for the university’s quality management, supported by the steering group for quality work, which is headed by the development director. The implementation of quality work is supported and coordinated by the Strategy and Science Policy Unit; a quality specialist coordinates the implementation of quality management principles and procedures. The deans are responsible for quality management at faculties. The quality management of other units is the responsibility of their directors.
At the University of Oulu, quality work is the determined work of every member of the university community to achieve their own and the university's objectives and continuous improvement of operations.