The social impact of the university of applied sciences stems from the interaction between education, RDI efforts and the service business. The guiding concept of JAMK’s operations “Turning expertise into competitiveness”.  The university’s strengths and the related development platforms play key roles in this regard. In this social impact report, we go through our most important achievements in 2016 through brief overviews, examples and figures.

JAMK’s strategy and areas of strength

The title of JAMK’s strategy for 2016–2020 is “Turning expertise into competitiveness”. This means using expertise to improve the competitiveness of both our students and our customers. Bolstering competitiveness is the leading theme of the strategy.

The strategy is closely linked to our university’s operating environment. Over the coming years, several large investments are due to be implemented in Central Finland, including the bioproduct factory in Äänekoski, the New Hospital, the Kangas area, Hippos and the Himos tourist area. All of these will provide new kinds of development platforms and possibilities for JAMK’s operations, which has been taken into account in the university’s areas of strength and development targets.

JAMK will continue its active cooperation and interaction with working life. In the future, this will be carried on increasingly in both training and RDI work on new development platforms in Central Finland. Cooperation will also be engaged in directly with businesses, public-sector organisations and international companies active in Finland.

The themes that cut across JAMK’s strategy are the renewal and digitalisation of learning, the development of new business, sales expertise and entrepreneurship and the internationally acknowledged quality. In addition, special areas of strength and new rising fields have been selected, which are based on the needs of the operating environment, JAMK’s strong expertise and competitive centres of excellence. Each area of strength includes a significant education task, focused RDI activity and professional service activity. JAMK’s selected areas of strength are education expertise and business, bioeconomy, applied cyber security, multidisciplinary rehabilitation, as well as automation and robotics. The areas of strength are compatible with the objectives of the City of Jyväskylä and the regional strategy for Central Finland. 

Impactful education: Learning is a life-long process 

Based on a customer survey conducted at the beginning of 2015 on the future of adult education and supplementary education, we can draw a conclusion that the customer and student profiles in education provided by universities of applied sciences will continue to diversify and, as regards degree programmes, it will be feasible to develop pedagogic models that will suit the needs of students who are already in employment. 

Another clear signal related to life-long learning is the substantial difference between the appeal of part-time and full-time study implementations. The increase in demand for part-time studies is evident in the relative proportions of the students who begin degree studies.  The change has been the most prominent in universities of applied sciences, where the percentage of part-time students increased from 16% to 29% in 2015–2017.  If we count master’s degree and teacher education programmes, alongside the regular bachelor’s degree programmes, the proportion of part-time studies is roughly 58% among students who began their studies in 2016.

On average, 25% of annual study attainments among UAS students are completed online. The proportion is growing gradually each year. What this means is that, in practice, the majority of JAMK’s education activities have been and will continue to be part-time, increasingly web-based studies that meet social needs in a flexible manner.   In the expansions of part-time studies, special attention has been paid to the quality of the education and studies. Online pedagogy provides new opportunities but also challenges. In order to ensure that higher education and work remain meaningful and productive, JAMK has used peer guidance and support, along with specialists in online pedagogy. A pedagogic agent (i.e. “pedagent”) project, based on peer guidance and learning, was implemented in 2016. 

JAMK produced its first MOOCs (massive open online courses) between 2014 and 2015, after which many more have been launched. There have been a few hundred users for each MOOC module. JAMK has also produced the first joint MOOC with the University of Jyväskylä on pedagogic studies.  

JAMK implemented the EXAM examination studio as part of a group formed by institutes of higher education. Its utilisation rate has been high with the users numbering approximately 400–600 during the first months. The utilisation rate is increasing gradually but constantly. 

In March 2016, an agreement on EduFutura Jyväskylä cooperation was completed between the University of Jyväskylä, JAMK and the Jyväskylä Municipal Education Consortium. EduFutura Jyväskylä is a concept that combines operations of the university of applied sciences, university and upper secondary education with the aim of creating a nationally and internationally significant, impactful and comprehensive cluster of competence. EduFutura Jyväskylä will produce joint summer studies, year-round and third-semester courses for all students, a shared learning environment for entrepreneurship and innovation activities, and open studies for both students and customers.

In the autumn of 2016, JAMK joined the Summersemester portal for universities of applied sciences. The increase in open learning materials has been considerable, and the availability of instructions for their production has been secured with open information and guidance provided to teachers. The joint systematic efforts to develop digital learning environments will pick up pace with the commencement of the eAMK (electronic university of applied sciences) project – funded from the Government’s spearhead programme with a special grant from the Ministry – in May 2017. The project involves all universities of applied sciences, the University of Jyväskylä and ARENE.

Open higher education in Äänekoski cooperates with the University of Jyväskylä

In 2016, the town of Äänekoski prepared a proposal to JAMK and the University of Jyväskylä on bringing higher education studies to the Ääneseutu region. This also initiated planning work with the aim of offering part-time implementations of open higher education studies in Äänekoski, through cooperation between JAMK and the University of Jyväskylä. The education is intended to boost competence and the level of education among local residents, as well as increase the appeal of the region. The year 2016 involved identifying the goals, preparing a schedule, dividing responsibilities, defining target groups and determining the education needs. The work continues and the aim is to initiate the first studies in Äänekoski in the autumn of 2017.

Regional activities

Impactful RDI

JAMK has been active in implementing research, development and innovation activities in Central Finland. It has invested in ensuring that the research and development efforts are customer-oriented by utilising professionals in the sparring arrangements for R&D projects. This improves the usefulness of the RDI results and their feasibility for commercialisation. Innovation coaching for staff members, the development of IPR agreement models and invention cooperation with the University of Jyväskylä have been implemented and the utilisation of innovation platforms has been planned. 

The annual report presents concrete examples of results gained through RDI efforts. 

Domestic service business

JAMK’s domestic business developed towards consolidating smaller units into larger ones – in 2016, especially with regard to manager and leadership training. The domestic service business will be implemented either as expert work or a combination of expert and student work. JAMK has been approved by TEKES as a service provider for the innovation voucher scheme, which increased our cooperation with microbusinesses and SMEs last year.

Development of staff and supervisor activities at the Äänekoski Health Centre

Experts from JAMK’s School of Health and Social Studies are also developing the operations of the staff and supervisors working in day-to-day support, as well as the Health Centre’s acute inpatient ward in Äänekoski. The training and consultation services will be implemented between 2016 and 2018 by JAMK experts from multiple disciplines. The consultation service entails four areas, which are training and coaching, team building, supervisor consultation, questions related to work guidance, and process management.

The long-term goal is to build a regional operating model for day-to-day, home and family rehabilitation in such a way that the working and operating methods of rehabilitation penetrate the entire chain of elderly services in purposeful manner. A testament to the impact of the service is the number of participants, which stood at 165.

Developing service culture in Jyväskylä

The City of Jyväskylä’s Urban Planning & City Infrastructure service area is developing its service culture in cooperation with the JAMK School of Business. In 2016–2017, the training related to changing the service culture will engage the entire organisation of 220 people. Changes are implemented in an active way that encourages experimentation.

Financial and Administrative Manager Mari Pitkänen from the Urban Planning & Infrastructure service area states that realising all three main themes of the city strategy, which are active and healthy residents, effective enterprise and industrial policy and the sensible use of resources, requires good capabilities for handling customer contact. In her area, developing customer understanding and creating a solution-oriented operating model are especially important. Knowledge of the various areas improves the capacity for a genuine development of operating methods.

Education exports

JAMK’s education export efforts are conducted under the name JAMK Global Education Services. In recent years, the value of purely commercial international service sales has been approximately one million euros, and the level has also been roughly the same for projects funding the export of self-sustaining competence. The education export portfolio consists of various continuing education, degree programme, consultation and expert services. The most important export countries have been Kazakhstan and China.

The education export services are implemented in Finland, the target country and partially online. In 2016, the education export projects have brought a number expert groups and students to Jyväskylä.

Among the projects conducted abroad, especially those where the customer has been a ministry and that have developed education systems have provided a great deal of visibility in local media and among administrative bodies and educational institutes. This has strengthened Finland’s image as a specialist in not only education but also the health care sector.