Audit of Savonia University of Applied Sciences 2022

Higher education

FINEEC has conducted an audit of Savonia University of Applied Sciences and has awarded the institution a quality label that is valid for six years from 16 March 2022. Savonia’s quality system meets the national criteria for quality management in higher education institutions and corresponds to the European principles and recommendations. Savonia's strengths in the development or its activities and quality management are a strategy-oriented approach, accessibility and transparency.

The development work is systematic and effective, and the information provided by the operations management system is used throughout the organisation in the management and enhancement of quality. Savonia also utilises and processes monitoring data to promote its societal impact in a very successful way.

The audit team gave Savonia the grade Excellent for the evaluation area HEI promotes impact and renewal (II). According to Kati Komulainen, the chair of the audit team, Savonia’s vision to be the most responsible and influential higher education institution is very much alive in its activities and is naturally linked to the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals. The vision is ambitious and clear, and the higher education community has committed itself to implementing it.

Savonia’s strategic objectives are in line with the regional strategic programme for North Savo, which supports Savonia’s influential and responsible role in regional development. Savonia acts as the responsible organiser and leader and an active participant in the most important cooperation networks for North Savo. Strategic planning together with regional actors supports stable regional development and competence-based growth in the entire North Savo.

- The audit team is convinced of and impressed with Savonia’s work to create regional impact. Savonia’s active operation in networks that are important for North Savo and the trust it has achieved among the key stakeholders is a result of long-term development work,” comments the chair of the audit team, Rector Kati Komulainen from Vaasa University of Applied Sciences.

Working-life relevance of degree programmes at Savonia is strong and develops continuously

In the audit team’s opinion, working-life relevance is identified and recognised as a distinct part of the degree programmes both in the operating environment of Savonia and within the higher education institution. Savonia develops its education interactively with external stakeholders and the integration of RDI activities and teaching is goal-oriented and innovative. Savonia’s operating culture supports this renewal and encourages to development through experimentation. Boldness as a value is shared by all levels of the organisation and is concretely visible, for example, as encouragement to innovative use of new technologies in RDI activities and degree education.

Implementation of competence-based higher education studies still requires systematic and consistent development

According to the audit group, the key enhancement areas at Savonia include ensuring the implementation of a competence-based approach in all degree programmes and defining the next development stage of the operations management system. The audit team also proposes that Savonia take a stronger role as an actor responsible for medium and long-term anticipation in the region. Establishing a skills anticipation forum led by Savonia could be one form of activity helping to achieve this.

In addition, the audit team encourages Savonia to enhance its activities to reach its internationalisation targets, for example, by paying attention to the implementation of international cooperation in all competence areas and by investing in international cooperation with the alumni and student communications. The ways of listening to and using the experiences of the student community of Savonia in enhancing the education should also be developed.

Savonia is an innovative and future-oriented partner in continuous learning

The evaluation area selected by Savonia was demand-driven continuous learning. Savonia has linked continuous learning strongly to its strategy and vision, which according to the audit team's view lays a strong basis and guidelines for the development work. Continuous learning and RDI activities support each other, and the ideas generated in RDI activities are utilised interactively in the development of degree education.

In future, Savonia should make even stronger use of the successful implementations and operating models of continuous learning in the development of its activities. For example, creating a process model at the level of Savonia on the basis of successful processes in continuous learning would promote the development of new education products. Training courses involving continuous learning should also be developed and targeted at international markets to achieve the strategic targets.

Savonia University of Applied Sciences passed the audit conducted by the Finnish Education Evaluation Centre (FINEEC) and was awarded a quality label valid for six years. Passing the audit shows that Savonia's activities and quality system meet both the national criteria and the European quality assurance criteria for higher education institutions. The audit focuses on higher education institutions’ procedures, which it uses to maintain and enhance the quality of education, research and societal interaction. The audit criteria used in the audit have been published in FINEEC's Audit manual for higher education institutions. Finland launched the audits of quality systems of higher education institutions in 2005.

Audit team:

• President Kati Komulainen, Vaasa University of Applied Sciences (chair)
• Theme Specialist Perttu Jämsén, Sitra
• Principal Lecturer Kimmo Mäki, Haaga-Helia University of Applied Sciences
• Student Anette Pottonen, Humak University of Applied Sciences

The audit report is available on FINEEC’s digital audit platform.

The contact person at FINEEC

Helka Kekäläinen.

Helka Luodelahti

Head of Unit
Management and administration, Higher education, Liberal adult education
+358 29 533 5513 Helsinki