Audits of quality systems 2012–2018

Higher education

The quality systems of all Finnish higher education institutions (HEIs) were audited once during the first round of audits in 2005–2012.

In the second round of audits (2012–2018) altogether 40 HEIs participated in FINEEC’s audits, of them 14 universities and 26 universities of applied sciences. Half of the audits were conducted by international audit teams and the other half were conducted by Finnish audit teams. The institutions that passed the audit received a quality label, which is valid for six years.

HEIs with valid audit labels are listed in the FINEEC audit register.

The audit reports can be found in Publications.

The audits covered all core operations of the HEIs

One of the central aims of the Finnish audit model is to support HEIs in recognising their own strengths, good practices and areas for development. The audit model is in line with the principles of enhancement-led evaluation. By helping HEIs to reach their strategic goals and set the course for future development, audits help enable continuous development of the HEIs’ operations.

The focus of the second audit round was on the quality system of HEIs, meaning the procedures, processes and systems that the higher education institution uses to maintain and develop the quality of its activities.

The functioning of the quality system was evaluated based on the following audit targets:

  1. The quality policy of the higher education institution
  2. Quality system’s link with strategic management
  3. Development of the quality system
  4. Quality management of the higher education institution’s basic duties, including essential services supporting these:
    a) Degree education
    b) Research, development and innovation activities, as well as artistic activities
    c) The societal impact and regional development work
    d) Optional audit target
  5. Samples of degree education: degree programmes (HEIs select two of these and the audit team the third)
  6. The quality system as a whole

In the 2012-2018 audits, special emphasis was put on the quality management of degree education, through samples of degree programmes. Altogether 120 degree programmes were evaluated during the second audit round.

Furthermore, special attention was given to the strategic goals of the HEIs by asking the HEI to choose one of the audit targets. HEIs selected a key function which was central to their strategy or profile, and where they wanted to received feedback for further development.

The process, targets and criteria for the 2012-2018 audit model are described in more detail in the audit manual.

Meta-synthesis of the audit results of HEIs 2012–2018

A meta-synthesis of the results from the second audit round has been conducted at FINEEC. The aim of the study was to summarise and analyse the audit results of HEIs. A summary publication is published in English (2020): Quality in focus. Quality audits of Finnish higher education institutions 2012–2018.