Successful renewal of the organisational culture is a priority
VAMK sees the renewal of its organisational culture as a strong basis for quality and a key precondition for the successful implementation of its strategy. The interviews provided evidence of an overall commitment to this renewal and a common aim to build a community of working together. This is a clear strength of the institution. As a good practice, the President’s discussion events with staff are said to happen in an open atmosphere and thus diligently support institutional change management.
Many of VAMK’s partner companies are large, innovative, global organisations who share the same goals for developing open, empowering, and inclusive workplaces. VAMK could aim to benefit from its partners as co-development partners when it comes to organisational development. Joint projects on the topic of organisational culture development could bring about new ideas.
Partnerships are the primary tool for stakeholder management
VAMK’s partnership agreements essentially form its new partnership model. Based on the interviews, the agreements have made partnerships more systematic and have led to an annual cycle for planning and updating partnerships. They form a basis for capturing expectations from both sides and enable leveraging cooperation from the already existing good person-to-person contacts. According to the partners interviewed, the partnership model is not too rigid and VAMK is still able to flexibly meet the partners’ needs.
In addition to partnerships, VAMK uses its regional networks beneficially for co-development, which is demonstrated in the examples of successful enhancement activities in VAMK’s self-evaluation. The Vaasa Higher Education Consortium especially is an example of good practice where the six higher education institutions that operate in the city actively search for synergies in teaching and RDI.
International networks could increase VAMK’s contribution to the region
The interviews confirmed that VAMK’s international contribution now comes mostly through international students that it brings to the region. VAMK should seek ways to also use its international networks to internationalise its RDI work and identify global trends that will affect the region in the future. There is also further work to be done to succeed in keeping the international students in the region after graduation.
A new alumni network has just been set up. VAMK is starting to use the network for collecting information such as needs for continuous learning. The plans to include international alumni in the network are promising and the auditors encourage VAMK to follow these plans. The alumni network could be utilised more extensively in the activities of VAMK once these initiatives begin to bear fruit.