The University of Turku passed the audit conducted by the Finnish Education Evaluation Centre (FINEEC). The University of Turku received special praise for its inclusive quality culture, which enables staff and students to participate widely in the development of the University's operations and services. The development of curricula is systematic. The University has a strong commitment to promoting multidisciplinarity and social impact.
The University of Turku 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 the University's activities and quality system meet both the national criteria and the European quality assurance criteria for higher education institutions.
Multidisciplinarity is strongly reflected in the University's strategy and is one of its strengths. The University actively seeks to develop multidisciplinarity in both research and education. The University's regular Research Assessment Exercise promotes the development of multidisciplinarity, research impact, and open science.
“The University of Turku could further strengthen multidisciplinarity by increasing cooperation between its faculties and bodies representing different fields of research. In addition, the University could introduce internal funding models that reward multidisciplinarity. The University of Turku could also attract more talented international researchers,” encourages the chair of the audit team, Professor Milena Žic Fuchs from the University of Zagreb in Croatia.
Vice Rector Piia Björn, who leads the quality work development at the University of Turku, thanks the audit team for a well drafted report.
“The audit result and report demonstrate transparently the University’s high quality and targets for development at the same time. Several factors have an impact on quality and their development has a long tradition at the University of Turku. The University’s quality work is affected by the current and rapid global changes, which requires that we apply even more foresight in our development processes,” Björn says.
According to Björn, the development of research, education, societal interaction, strategic foresight and knowledge-based management are well under way, which at the same time boosts the University’s success.
“In order to succeed in development work, it is essential to involve our expert and multidisciplinary community. I want to thank all the members of the Student Union, personnel and stakeholder groups who participated in the preparation of the audit process as well as in the audit interviews. The feedback we received from FINEEC is such that we are able to work on our targets for development already this autumn.”
Development of education is systematic
According to the audit team, the University of Turku has good procedures for developing curricula and degree programmes. Curriculum development is systematic and well managed. The audit team appreciates the University's collaborative and participatory quality culture.
The voice of staff and students is heard in a wide range of ways in the University's development work. Feedback from professional life is also actively collected and used in the development of education.
However, some students feel that their opportunities for participation needs to be strengthened. The audit team states that the University should further develop the opportunities to participate in the development work for international students, continuing education students, and doctoral researchers.
Students' learning is supported through a variety of teaching and assessment methods. Similarly, teachers' pedagogical skills and the development of teaching methods are supported in a variety of ways. According to the audit team, the University should ensure that students receive sufficient feedback on their learning to support the achievement of learning objectives.
Wide range of actions to promote social impact
One of the University's strengths is the strong commitment of the entire academic community to promoting social impact. The University engages in multi-level collaboration with its stakeholders and is a dynamic and valued partner regionally and internationally.
The audit team suggests that the University of Turku should further develop its partnerships. The University should make better use of its strategic potential and its position as a developer in the Baltic Sea Region. Similarly, the University could consider the same type of progressive cooperation with the cities of Pori and Rauma as it already has with the City of Turku.
University’s knowledge-based management is getting stronger
The quality system and steering system of the University of Turku are closely linked. The University's annual planning processes and feedback systems produce a wide range of information that the management, faculties and departments use to promote the implementation of the Strategy and develop the University's core activities and services. The integrated development process has resulted in a high level of awareness and commitment to the Strategy among the University staff.
The University is strengthening its knowledge management and management information systems. The audit team therefore considers it important that the University develops the knowledge base for strategic planning processes and decision-making and its transparency to the whole community.
University invests in its personnel
The University has paid considerable attention to the competence development, support and well-being of its staff. The audit team proposes that pedagogical studies should be made compulsory for all teachers. Access to staff training for international staff should be improved by increasing the availability of training in English.
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.