Our key objectives for the year were good academic performance and the study progress and graduation of students, in particular, as well as increasing the number of large RDI project applications. In addition, we focused on improving teamwork and a sense of community.
During the year, we developed operations which aim to help our students graduate. We supported the graduation process by increasing the use of the digital Exam system by having students complete all retake examinations in the system. We continued our demonstration days that had received extensive national visibility and, at the same time, promoted the processes of recognition and accreditation of competence acquired in the working life, or educationalisation. The development of the curricula renewed in 2015–17 continued and we also reformed our work placement process. Cooperation meetings with students were developed, and the students gave us positive feedback on it. In the autumn, supported by the Chamber of Commerce, we promoted the prerequisites for moving from upper secondary education to the tertiary level.
In addition to these, we solidified the ground rules of teamwork and collaboration in the Jatkumo coaching provided for instructors.We applied the Disc personality profile analysis in the development work. Digital financial management training was started with the partner network. We also actively participated in promoting the nationwide digital entrance examination reform.
Two large research projects are underway in our unit, namely Internet of Things and Rapid Prototyping (Erasmus+) and Skills, Education and the Future of Work (Taidot työhön) (Academy of Finland), as well as several smaller projects. In addition, we focused considerably on the preparation of new large project applications. We hired a Head of R&D, who is in charge of strengthening the RDI operations in our unit. We also established an internationally significant SalesLab research and teaching platform together with our Value from Sales core competence area group. Cooperation with companies in the RDI operations, teaching and commercial services was active. In addition, we designed and implemented an extensive coaching programme for Danske Bank in order to bring financial sector competence up to date.
Internationality was integrated in all our operations. Cooperation in research and development with Russia and several Central European countries was active. In August, the second group of students started studying in our International Business programme in Mexico. Project funding enabled us to export sales competence to Asia, and we investigated the possibilities to be more active in the region. We prepared the international business education and research quality accreditation, or the EPAS accreditation, for our International Business programme. We also launched a new double degree in the programme in France.
The project to export Haaga-Helia’s and Turku University of Applied Sciences’ success concept, the Best Seller Competition, to southeast Asia started towards the end of 2018. The South-East Asian Sales Competition includes an international B2B sales course and the finals of the sales competition in southeast Asia. The export project is part of the SEASAC – South-East Asian Sales Competition project – which aims to strengthen the ability of universities in southeast Asia to offer skilled B2B professionals for the developing international markets. Haaga-Helia is a partner in the project, which is coordinated by Turku University of Applied Sciences. The Best Seller Competition has been the model for the European Sales Competition, in which competitors represent several European higher education institutions.
Haaga-Helia has been developing increasingly flexible ways to recognise and demonstrate competence acquired outside the university of applied sciences. The demonstration days event in the business degree programme has been a success, and the Work & Study model implemented throughout Haaga-Helia has enabled many students to combine work and study. Combining work and study is facilitated by actively developing the processes of the recognition and accreditation of competence acquired in the working life, or educationalisation. The development work enables students to progress faster in their studies, as they do not need to study skills that they already have.
In 2018, Haaga-Helia launched the IoT Rapid Proto Labs project to promote product development competence in IoT (Internet of Things) and make it faster to apply such competence. The project involves international and multidisciplinary IoT Proto-Lab teams launching, piloting and testing innovative IoT solutions for SMEs and startups. Before the final curriculum is published, the project goes through intensive piloting, testing, refining and assessment stages. The project was funded by the Erasmus+ Knowledge Alliances programme. In addition to Haaga-Helia, the international joint project of five countries includes three other higher education institutions, one research institution and two companies.