3.1 Using the quality system in strategic management

Auditeringsgruppens bedömning

The strategy is part of Metropolia’s quality system

Metropolia has a multilevel public quality policy. The quality system is based on the PDCA cycle and Metropolia´s Strategy 2030 and describes responsibilities and objectives.

The quality group is divided into a core group that monitors the quality system’s status and a support group that supports the core group’s objectives. In addition, each head of school, each head of the degree programme and each director in Metropolia’s management group is responsible for the quality of operation, its evaluation and development in their area of strategic responsibility. The overall responsibility for quality management lies with the president of Metropolia. The quality system is linked to the strategy through strategic, responsible areas: lifelong learning, phenomenon-based innovation hubs, sustainable development and growth, people and culture and digitalisation.

The quality management system is supported by the quality group (with the task force and support group) with representatives from different stakeholder groups, including the METKA student union. The quality group is led by the business architect, who reports to the director of development. Based on the interviews, one important aim is strengthening the link between quality development and processes. The quality group aims to focus more on key issues and make more concrete and detailed proposals for improving the quality system. The quality management (QM) responsibilities are well defined and have been divided in accordance with the management system responsibilities based on Metropolia’s strategy.

It has been evident from the interviews that the idea of continuous improvement is the everyday quality work of Metropolia. The general approach in Metropolia is that every staff member is responsible for implementing quality policy according to the PDCA cycle of continuous improvement and development.

Quality System still needs to be communicated to staff

Metropolia had renewed the practices of the quality group just before the site visit. From the interviews during the audit, a high level of individual willingness to improve quality in different fields could be observed. Continuous improvement is clearly part of every employee’s mindset. The tendency to generate suggestions for improvement on a low-threshold level and dialogical manner was also visible.

However, it also turned out that the interaction of the planned elements and processes was still unclear to many interview partners. According to the interviews, the responsibilities within this complex quality management still need clarification. Quality management is not yet seen as an active tool on all levels in Metropolia. The audit team recommends more intensive communication about the goals, instruments and role distribution of the new quality system on the operative level.

Metropolia’s strategy serves the goals of the whole University of Applied Sciences

The interviews showed that the strategy is well-known and widely accepted among employees. According to the audit material, Metropolia collects feedback from students, staff and stakeholders to ensure continuous improvement with the university of applied sciences. The management uses the quality systems to support strategic development: Qlik Sense for visual data reporting, Tsemppi for operational follow-up and Halli for project tracking and impact reviews. Whether the quality management system (QMS) is affecting the stated goals will only become apparent in the coming months and years.

Metropolia has advisory boards for education development through which external stakeholders are involved in education development. The Board monitors the objectives of strategic goals; however, the Board’s role in strategic quality management should be strengthened.