UEF has a low-threshold organisational culture
UEF’s very low-threshold organisational culture was mentioned in almost every interview. This is an asset while fostering an open and transparent, innovative, and creative atmosphere. During the audit visit, several references were made to the university’s working environment as being informal and easily accessible.
The university has many examples of good practices to spread both within and outside the university. The audit team encourages UEF to strengthen the culture of praising success and be prouder of its achievements. At the same time, it should allow doing more perhaps even failed experiments and learning from them. UEF has annual internal strategic funding available to run a range of pilots and trials to encourage collaboration between units. This is a good practice which the audit team values. However, the audit team recommends to ensure that the university also have more formal procedures and processes in place for innovation, ideas, and suggestions.
Even though UEF organizes several events and activities for alumni, the representatives of the student union and international students were not aware of any alumni activity. There is a huge unused potential in local, national, and global alumni networks, businesses, and industry. The audit team recommends the UEF to make the alumni network known to all present students. They should have an alumni package for graduated students. UEF could also build an international alumni network for graduates with international backgrounds. Alumni can be role models for current students.
The potential of local alumni in business cooperation is a good tool to bring in working-life expertise or subject-related specialists to existing programs and courses. A more structured way of cooperation might lead into a more measurable result. This is a regional development, attractiveness, and retention issue, especially for international students.
Systematic collaboration with different networks would support enhancement
Local and regional networks were mentioned several times also in terms of keeping the region alive and vivid. The audit team sees that UEF should have an active role in creating, maintaining, and participating in those networks. All UEF’s international networks have a designated person in charge of it as well as a coordinator. Also, local and national networks and partnerships should be almost as important to UEF than international networks.
The audit team finds that the Young Universities for the Future of Europe (YUFE) is promising network and a great opportunity for UEF. The YUFE network offers opportunities for joint degrees, staff training, and different kinds of international benchmarking. It also offers a stronger voice on the European arena together with environmental analysis. The YUFE ought to be used in an optimal way. It could be a good practice to use encouragement as a catalyst for change.
International networks were mentioned widely by interviewees, but some of them were also based on personal contacts. The audit team recommends using international, national, and local networks more systematically and in an enhancement oriented way. The university should also think how to manage the existing networks better, whether a system or tool is needed for that and how it could update local, national, and international stakeholder relations and collaboration networks in a more innovative way.