Audit of Åbo Akademi University 2022
FINEEC conducted an audit of Åbo Akademi University in 2022. The university passed the audit. Åbo Akademi University has a strong and well-functioning societal engagement with external actors and the societal engagement activities have a clear and positive impact on society. Based on the audit, Åbo Akademi University is a development-oriented university that continuously develops its activities.
The university has a strong and well-functioning collaboration with external actors
Åbo Akademi University has an organisational culture that stimulates multidisciplinary collaborations internally and collaboration with external actors regionally, nationally and internationally. The university is an active and very important regional actor in its campus locations with diverse collaboration with the surrounding society and companies. The university also profiles itself as a gateway to the Nordic region, and Nordic cooperation is a natural and integrated part of the activities at the university.
– Societal engagement has created common understanding, new insights and concrete changes for both the university and external actors, says professor Birgitta Bergvall-Kåreborn, chair of the audit team and rector at Luleå University of Technology.
According to the audit team, the university could more systematically analyse and evaluate societal engagement and impact.
University’s management and quality system is well integrated into daily work
A positive change has taken place at the university in terms of the systematisation of how activities are planned, followed up and developed.
– The university’s management and quality system is well integrated and anchored in the university’s activities. Transparency of the management system has also improved, says Alexander Bargum, member of the audit team and Group CEO at Algol.
The audit team notes that follow-up of activities should be further improved. The indicators used to follow up the activities are not in all respects relevant and sufficient. The university should better follow up whether implemented development measures were effective and appropriate. The management could also strengthen university-wide structures, procedures and processes while maintaining the existing organisational culture that enables flexibility.
The flexibility of studies and short distances between teachers and students are the university’s strengths
One of the strengths of studying at Åbo Akademi University is the flexibility in the design of your own degree and study methods. The audit team saw a particular strength in the system with personal teacher tutors.
– The system with personal teacher tutors facilitates close contacts between students and teachers, which creates good conditions for following up and addressing both challenges and successes in their learning processes, says Max Scheja, professor at Stockholm University and member of the audit team.
One of the university’s strengths is also an active dialogue regarding pedagogical issues and a tangible awareness of what currently works well and what needs to be developed in terms of the educational provision.
According to the audit team, the student feedback system needs to be developed to create real benefit for the development of education.
– The ongoing development of the feedback system needs to include careful consideration of which information is collected when, where and how, as well as analysis of which information is of real use for the development of education, says professor Scheja.
The working life relevance should be made more visible to students in generic disciplines
Åbo Akademi University chose working life relevance in education as an evaluation area in the audit. The close cooperation between the university and the local labour market provides good opportunities for study programmes to develop the working life relevance.
The university should better make visible for students the working life relevance in degree structures and contents. The audit team considered that the working life relevance could in a more systematic manner be clarified in degree structures and considered in the planning of education.
– The university should review its non-profession-oriented bachelor’s and master’s programmes to create clearer structures for increased working life relevance in those programmes where it is needed, says Marie Nørvåg, member of the audit team and student at the University of Agder.
As a result of the successful audit, the Åbo Akademi University received a FINEEC quality label valid until 26 August 2028. By passing the audit, the university showed that its activities and quality system meet both the national criteria and the European quality assurance criteria for higher education institutions. The focus of the audit was on the procedures used by the HEI to maintain and enhance the quality of its educational provision, research and societal engagement and impact. The evaluation criteria applied in the audit are available in the FINEEC audit manual.
- Professor Birgitta Bergvall-Kåreborn, rector, Luleå University of Technology, Sweden (chair)
- Alexander Bargum, managing director, Algol Ab, Finland
- Marie Nørvåg, student, University of Agder, Norway
- Professor Max Scheja, Stockholm University, Sweden.
Mirella Nordblad, Counsellor of Evaluation, is the FINEEC project manager of the audit.