Operation and principles of the quality system
The improvement of the activities is based on analyzed feedback, evaluations and indicator information. The quality management encompasses all the activities and the members of the University community. Actions are taken on the basis of the set objectives and follow-up. The quality system offers tools for the improvement of research, education and interaction with the society, and supports the spreading of good practices. The procedures, service processes and IT-systems of service and administration are shared and jointly agreed on.
The quality system consists of the procedures that the University uses to maintain and develop the quality of its activities and operations. These procedures comprise of:
- what activities are carried out (for example process descriptions)
- information about what is pursued (for example the targets agreed in the target and performance negotiations)
- knowledge of how things should be done (for example 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, Sisu statistics)
- risk management procedures
- methods and policies to step in when deviations are perceived
- a culture and modus operandi of continuous improvement
Quality management responsibilities
Fundamentally the quality management is management of the organization. The Rector is responsible for the quality management of the University. The dean is responsible for the quality management of the faculty. In other units the director is responsible for the quality management of the unit led by her/him. The University’s interest groups are heard in the quality work. Each student, employee and superior are involved in improving the University’s activities and their quality.
Assessment and quality audits
According to the Universities Act, universities must regularly participate in external evaluations of their activities and quality systems. The objective of the quality audits is to make sure that the university has a quality system which supports constant development of the operation.
The quality system of the University of Oulu was audited in autumn 2017. Finnish Education Evaluation Centre (FINEEC or Karvi in Finnish) was responsible for the auditing. The university’s quality system was found to comply with the national criteria for quality management in universities and be in line with the European principles and recommendations. As a token of this, the Finnish Education Evaluation Centre granted the University of Oulu a quality label valid until 28 February 2024.
FINEEC’s audit targets were:
- Quality policy
- Quality system’s link with strategic management
- Development of the quality system
- Quality management of the higher education institution’s core duties, including essential services supporting these:
a)Degree education (including first-, second- and third-cycle education)
b)Research, development and innovation activities, as well as artistic activities
c) The societal impact and regional development work (incl. social responsibility, continuing education, open university and open university of applied sciences education, as well as paid-services education)
d)Optional audit target
- Samples of degree education: degree programmes
- The quality system as a whole.