3.3 Functionality and development of the quality system

Assessment of the audit team

A solid and comprehensive quality management system frames HAMK’s core processes

HAMK’s quality system is based on the principle of continuous improvement of all its core areas, strong stakeholder involvement and an actively supported quality dialogue as main drivers for improvement and development. Stakeholder involvement and quality dialogues are key in enhancing the quality of education, research and innovation to foster competence development and HAMK’s societal impact and engagement.  Close linkage to strategic management and planning, regular monitoring and reviews of quality cycles and core processes, integration of various forms of feedback and shared responsibility for quality development clearly shape HAMK’s quality management system.  The interviews with representatives of various units, including different support services, provided evidence that a common understanding of quality, and each individual’s contribution to it, is well grounded in the institution.

Strategic management, which is built on the pillars of  management by objectives, competence and knowledge management is diligently supported by HAMK’s BI system and fosters goal orientation and further development. Examples of quality dialogue as mentioned in the interviews are teamwork, common data interpretation, as well as various forms of feedback, and a regular integration of quality issues in meetings and personal contacts. The staff also referred to the process for co-creation of modules and the sharing of good practices across departments as examples of quality dialogue, which create an immediate impact on the quality of education and stimulate innovation in teaching, learning and research. All forms of quality dialogue also help recognising development needs both on an institutional and individual level and foster participation in quality management.

HAMK’s quality management as a breeding ground for quality culture and enhancement

Continuous improvement ensured by a smooth and well-guided pdca cycle, participation of internal and external stakeholders in quality work and feedback, shared learning and co-creation all foster and nourish HAMK’s quality culture and a widely shared quality-oriented mindset. Quality management and its tools are steadily further developed, with the digitalisation of the institutional quality management system through the STARA 2.0 system serving as a recent example of good practice. HAMK’s readiness to innovate and to improve through the implementation of digital tools, its educational research, as well as its network of academic and business partners, essentially contribute to the institutional quality culture but also to the impact on its core processes of education and RDI.  In the interviews it was clearly stated that the use of educational research results in the ability to better monitor students’ learning experience; furthermore, HAMK’s participation in and its input to the RUN EU alliance were mentioned as examples for evidence and purposeful enhancement activities. As HAMK has a leading role in regional societal development, outcomes stemming from the EU RUN alliance should be evaluated regarding impact and enhancement opportunities for regional development.

In all interviews, the functionality, the steady further development, the purposeful use, and the positive impact of HAMK’s quality management and quality management system were confirmed. The audit team also gained convincing evidence that, at HAMK, quality is considered a shared and common responsibility, which builds on inclusion and participation of all internal and external stakeholders, on transparent information, purposeful processes and tools, and a diligently monitored quality culture throughout the institution. HAMK’s quality culture and the steady and long-term further development of its quality management are considerably conceived by a bold attitude, a clear strategy with ambitious goals and ”the HAMK community” as was mentioned as an overall strength in the interviews.