What is meant by accreditations?
Why has the School of Economics opted to seek accreditations, Tuija Nikko, Director of Quality and Accreditations?
- For us, the accreditation process is a way to measure and improve quality and international competitiveness. At the same time, accreditations are a way to communicate our quality level to others in a way that enables international comparisons. In intense international competition, accreditations can be used to indicate the high quality of both our degrees and our school.
- Accreditations have had particular significance for MBA degrees, as they do not have the status of an official degree in Finland. Globally, the competition on the MBA market is very tight. Heightened international competition also increases the significance of accreditations as quality labels for the basic Master’s and Bachelor’s degrees.
- For me, a significant benefit is obtaining regular, constructive comments to help in the development of our operations from the most highly esteemed international experts in the field. In terms of accreditations, it is thus not enough to fulfil demanding quality requirements only once. They involve constant evaluation of operations. The evaluations are implemented as international peer evaluations, i.e. the evaluators come from other accredited business schools.
How do students benefit from the quality labels?
- Accreditations bring a large number of concrete benefits. Most high-quality universities will only partner with universities with a recognised status. A recognised status also adds to the value of the degrees of students educated by us and promotes their salary development.
- The quality of Finnish degrees is not necessarily well-known outside of Finland. Accreditations help us to convey our quality level on international terms. Foreign students pay attention to accredited universities when looking for a suitable place to study or spend their student exchange period. This is also true of professors and researchers considering their career options.
What is happening in accreditations right now?
- Our next major event will be the first five-year evaluation of the AACSB accreditation. An international team of evaluators will arrive on our campus at the end of January to evaluate our success in implementing our mission in the past five years. The main emphasis of the evaluation will be on the development of the merits of our teaching staff and the realisation of the learning goals of our degree programmes.
- Another topical issue is the interim evaluation associated with the five-year EQUIS accreditation. The evaluation focused on our international partnership agreements, corporate relations and development of functions associated with the evaluation of degree programmes. According to feedback received in August, we have made good progress in our objectives. The interim evaluation is a concrete indication that accreditations encourage goal-oriented, continuous improvement of quality.
Image: Tuija Nikko, School of Economics