Quality management at Laurea
Quality management is the foundation of Laurea's operations and a tool for continuous improvement. As different monitoring and development measures, it is linked to all operations of Laurea UAS and therefore a part of the management, strategic work and internal performance management of the organisation. The aim of quality management is to maintain Laurea's quality culture and develop it further. All members of the Laurea community as well as the key stakeholders participate in the development of quality.
The basis for the quality management system in Laurea UAS is the cycle of continuous improvement: Plan – Do – Check – Act. The cycle of continuous improvement in Laurea is realised in accordance with the following philosophy: Plan refers to the basis of operational planning. Do refers to the description of processes and acting in accordance with them. Check refers to operational monitoring and evaluation using set indicators. Act refers to the implementation and documentation of development measures selected based on monitoring, evaluation and feedback data as well as monitoring the effectiveness of these measures.
The aim of Laurea's quality management
The aims of Laurea's quality management system include
- to produce information that supports management and the achievement of Laurea's strategic goals and strategic intent
- to systematically produce operational data that supports quality improvement
- to standardise quality management procedures and methods and to improve their efficiency
- to enhance the quality culture of Laurea UAS and the participation of Laurea community members in quality work
- to support the spreading of good practices nationally and internationally.
A higher education institution's quality policy refers to the whole made up by the goals and basic principles of the quality system and the delegation of responsibilities for quality management.
The goal of the quality policy in Laurea UAS is to support the achievement of Laurea's values, strategic intent and strategic goals. The quality policy promotes continuous improvement of the operations in line with the strategy. A process of integration is taking place between the quality system of Laurea UAS and the management system, where the Operating and Financial Plans (OFPs), in which the strategy is translated into practical terms, form a link between the two systems. From the beginning of 2015, key goals and development targets have been recorded in the Operating and Financial Plans (OFPs) at the level of both the institution as a whole and its individual profit centres.
Laurea's Quality Culture
Laurea has engaged in persistent and goal-oriented development work. A Strategy Implementation Plan, which steers Laurea's operations and quality work, was drafted for the first time in 2005. A uniform quality management system was created for Laurea UAS in 2006–2007. International evaluation was launched in 2008, and the importance of international evaluation to operational development has increased since that time as internationalisation targets were introduced for education, research and development. As evidence of Laurea's quality culture, the Laurea quality guarantee system passed the FINHEEC audit in 2010.
In 2014, Laurea received the Certificate for Quality in Internationalisation (CeQuint).
Laurea has also been selected as a quality unit in the next FINHEEC quality unit evaluations, which is an indication of the quality culture at Laurea.
• Quality unit education evaluation 2010 - 2012
• Quality unit education evaluation 2008 - 2009
• Regional development impact centre of excellence evaluation 2006 - 2007
• Quality unit education evaluation 2004 - 2005
• Regional development impact centre of excellence evaluation 2003 - 2004
Quality management through the cycle of
The quality management process in Laurea UAS is based on the PDCA cycle and the principle of continuous improvement. The purpose of quality work is to support the achievement of Laurea´s strategic intent 2020. "Laurea aims to be an international developer of well-being and competitiveness of the Helsinki Metropolitan area in 2020."
Figure Laurea UAS quality management system
Operational planning is informed by the agreement concluded between Laurea UAS and the Ministry of Education and Culture for the period 2013-2016. Similar agreements are concluded at four-yearly intervals. They contain the targets set for Laurea´s operations, including degree numbers and indicator targets, as well as an agreement on how target achievement will be monitored and how the operations will be developed. The Laurea level targets are translated as goals for individual profit centres, which are recorded in each profit centre´s Operating and Financial Plan.
The Laurea2020 strategy guides the realisation of the strategic intent and defines the operational targets.
The operations of Laurea UAS are described using operating models and process descriptions. The purpose of the process descriptions is to standardise Laurea's operating methods and clarify the delegation of work and responsibilities within the organisation. The process descriptions can, for example, be utilised as familiarisation material. Clear definitions of the process stages, delegation of work, tasks and responsibilities also support development work. Functions and services are also being harmonised and developed to meet the needs of the organisation's activities. Key documents, including the Rules of Procedure, the Degree Regulations, the Project Manual and the LbD Manual provide guidelines for practical operations and support the development of uniform practices.
The operations of Laurea UAS are evaluated by means of internal and external evaluations and information collected through the feedback system. Evaluation focuses on targets of strategic importance. Target achievement is monitored using indicators defined in the Operating and Financial Plans. The indicators to be monitored are based on the performance agreement with the Ministry of Education and Culture, the Laurea2020 strategy and the funding model. The monitoring, evaluation and development data found in the quality management system is described in the Laurea QPR portal. The operations are evaluated at Laurea level, as part of the FUAS co-operation, and at the national level.
The effectiveness of quality management is manifested in the way in which indicator and other operational evaluation data is used to develop Laurea's operations. Collected indicator and evaluation data is processed for example in different working groups where the decisions of development targets and development measures are made.
The influence of evaluation data is enhanced by means of the Development Portfolio and the Development Workbooks. Key areas needing improvement indicated by the evaluation data are prioritised in the Development Workbook, which specifies the development measures and the parties to carry them out. The workbook also specifies in advance the evaluation method and timeframe for evaluating the effectiveness of improvement measures.