3.3 Functionality and development of the quality system

Quality system covers all operations

Quality management at Metropolia is based on the principle of continuous development. The quality system covers all operations (figure 15) and is linked to the management system and operations management. The quality management procedures have been adjusted to cater to the quality management needs of each function and to achieve the objectives. The procedures, monitoring, assessment, and development are described in the OMA intranet. The documentation of the operations is appropriately accumulated in various systems. For example, the development plans are available in Tsemppi and the impact reviews on the public website. The management and superiors of each unit discuss the quality of the operations and its development with their unit and team members. This is supported by the annual planning cycle, meeting practices and processes of operations management and the systems supporting them.

Schematic representation with boxes and arrows

Figure 15 The quality system covers Metropolia’s operations in accordance with the process map.

The responsibilities for the quality of the operations have been divided in accordance with the management responsibilities. At Metropolia, the Director of Lifelong Learning is responsible for the quality of education, and the RDI Director oversees the quality of the RDI activities. The other directors in management group are responsible in their own area of responsibility for ensuring that the operations are planned, implemented, assessed, and developed in accordance with the strategy. The President and CEO bears the responsibility for the quality policy. Each superior is responsible for the quality of their own unit and the implementation of Metropolia’s quality policy and procedures. All Metropolia’s employees are responsible for implementing quality management in their job duties. Quality management is supported by the quality group which includes representatives of all functions.

Metropolia’s quality management utilizes enterprise architecture. The architectural descriptions cover the operations of Metropolia: services and processes, roles and responsibilities and their interconnections. These descriptions may reflect the desired outcome and compared with the current state areas of improvement can be identified. Development projects are set up in accordance with the project model.

Metropolia’s core operations collect feedback on their work. The decisions and measures related to the collection of feedback and the application of the feedback received are specific to each unit and function. According to the self-assessment, the practices of collecting and applying feedback should be strengthened and harmonized. The harmonization would also strengthen Metropolia’s capability to apply the system more effectively as part of knowledge management.

Metropolia has been conducting assessments regularly. External audits and internal self-assessments form a continuum. The audits were based on the auditing model by the Finnish Education Evaluation Centre (FINEEC). This has ensured that the audit perspective is consistent and the results are easier to compare. The self-assessments were carried out as an evaluation survey targeting a large group of respondents, and the results were analyzed by the management of each function. The development work is based on the enhancement areas identified in the audit and prioritized by function. According to the self-assessment, there has been variation in how measures have been implemented.

Quality system is developed to serve distinct functions

Based on the previous audit, the quality system has been improved and quality management has been strengthened by developing the structures and procedures of leadership and operations management. Reporting solutions have been harmonized to enhance knowledge management. The development of the enterprise architecture and knowledge management has strengthened the ability to see the bigger picture of the operations. Resources have been added and competence in architecture work has been strengthened. According to the self-assessment, the development work has clarified quality management particularly on the management group, middle management, and unit level. However, it also became obvious that the capability of the quality system to support those carrying out basic tasks should be strengthened further. For example, procedures and operating practices could be more harmonized.

Awareness of quality management and the quality system has been improved across Metropolia. The former quality coordinator group in the core functions has expanded into a quality group with representatives from all functions of Metropolia. The quality group is led by a business architect whose other main task is to support the organization in the development and description of processes. According to the self-assessment, the quality group’s operating model should be specified further. Also, the capability of the group to add quality management topics on units’ agendas should be strengthened. Changes aiming to accomplish this will be completed in the autumn of 2022.

Development involves the entire HEI community

Metropolia’s strategy instructs everyone to put people first. Students, employees, and stakeholder representatives participate in and contribute to developing solutions that concern them. For this purpose, Metropolia has created operating models and forums. The Parru team, described in greater detail in chapter 3.4, is often the party that develops and ensures participation. The Parru team is a process sparring team for the strategically most important development projects as prioritized by the management group. The team also helps with more operative functions as initiated by individuals.

The operating models support a participatory organizational culture and shared learning. The obtained baseline information and development ideas are diverse. The commitment to end results should also be strengthened. For example, strategy work has included participatory methods, such as crowd-sourcing surveys and workshops. In internal development work, the project groups to be formed include both key expert and client representatives. Students have representatives in the development groups, and there is a direct and regular connection between the student union and the HEI’s management through dialogue.

The dialogue-based, shared forums strengthen inclusion and facilitate the sharing of best practices. The leadership forum is a monthly setting for the management team, middle management and student and personnel representatives that discuss topics related to Metropolia’s management, objectives and progress. The forum is coordinated by the manager of dialogue. The sparring forum for superiors and the forum for heads of degree programmes are regular events for superiors and middle management in education. Examples of sharing good practices include strategy days, close cooperation with METKA and strengthening the impact of the student union, inclusion through the Parru team, and digital mentors.

Strengths Enhancement areas

Clear and tangible division of responsibilities in quality management that is linked to the strategy.

Support for quality management must be strengthened on the operative level. Currently, there is too much variation in practices.

Structures are in place for inclusion and they are applied regularly and consistently.

Tasks and the operating model of the quality network must be clarified. Currently, the support for development is insufficient.
The assessment activities are regular and have been developed over the years. Feedback channels, the quality system and feedback culture should be strengthened.
  Focusing the assessment operations on more specific themes, in addition to a ‘general’ assessment.