A new record was set at Arcada in 2018, when a total of 500 students completed their bachelor’s or master’s degrees. Relevance and co-operation were key factors in developing new programmes within further education.
"This is an enormously positive increase, particularly for our master’s programmes. The graduates there increased from 35 to 64 in just one year. A partial explanation is that it of course always takes a while for new programmes to become established, but increasing figures during a number of successive years can also mean that we offer attractive programmes", says Carl-Johan Rosenbröijer, vice- rector responsible for degree education.
Programmes relevant to students
In 2018 Arcada offered 17 different programmes for the bachelor’s degree and ten programmes leading to a master’s. It’s a question of offering programmes relevant to students and society, to ensure they stay attractive. The master’s programme Big Data Analytics, focusing on AI, was introduced in 2018. The first degree students enrolled in August.
"We have a lot of research in this area, building a basis that’s passed on through our programme. There’s an enormous demand for skills in this area within many different types of enterprises and organisations", Rösenbröijer concludes.
Focus on the Learning Environment
This number of graduates would not have been possible without a high-quality pedagogy and a significant focus on the learning environment. Each department has its own laboratory or simulation environment. In 2018 the first stone was laid in the construction of the Arcada sports hall. The sports hall will create a state-of-the-art environment for the sports and physiotherapy programmes at Arcada.
"The sports hall with its testing lab gives us opportunity to incorporate simulation as teaching method also within these programmes", says Carl-Johan Rosenbröijer.
Further Education Strengthened
Continuous learning got a boost in 2018 when Arcada appointed a new director for contract education and continuous learning. This puts a new focus on continuing learning and is an answer to the needs in society today.
"The job market and the world of work changes at a fast pace. It’s no longer enough to have a degree, there’s a need to continuously further one’s knowledge and to retrain", says Lotta Wikman, who was appointed to the new position.
Apart from continuous learning, i.e. helping people to develop in their working environment, Arcada can offer contract education in co-operation with business enterprises.
"Both areas need to be strengthened, but today we already have strong links to working life as the degree education at Arcada also is very work-life oriented."
Answering Today’s Demands – Continuing Education within Health Care
Arcada has the advantages of a small and flexible organisation; being able to react quickly in answer to new demands in society. The best example is perhaps the unique continuing education-module for health care professionals involved in the preventive work and treatment of osteoporosis. This programme started in the autumn of 2018.
"This module was built in co-operation with Luustoliitto. It was very well received and will definitely continue, says Lotta Wikman. Arcada also organised the only specialisation course in Finland for infection control nurses and a popular seminar on acute geriatrics together with Finland’s nursing association", says Lotta Wikman.
Arcada also organised the only specialisation course in Finland for infection control nurses and a popular seminar on acute geriatrics together with Finland’s nursing association.
"The seminar attracted participants beyond the target group; for instance, many physicians attended, proving that the seminar answered to a demand not previously met", says Lotta Wikman.
Changes are taking place in other areas as well, and the demand for specialisation and further education is growing. Together with the UAS Seinajoen ammattikorkeakoulu and Music Finland, Arcada offered a unique programme for those who want to work as a manager in the music field. The first students graduated in spring. In the autumn a new edition of the specialisation started.
"The music business is an area that changes all the time, where you are really learning by doing – but it’s also important to have a basic education. This programme as well is very work-life orientated. The important thing with our further education programmes is that they answer to the real demands that professionals at work have”, says Lotta Wikman.
This specialisation again relies on lectures with many of the top international names in the field, coupled with participating in various events and a development project of one’s own. The participants are also given the opportunity to work with a mentor during the course of the programme.
Four departments became five when the department for Health and Welfare was divided into the department of Health and Welfare and the department of Healthcare in the autumn of 2018.
"We have to increasingly work across the department boundaries, co-operate and try to learn from one another", says Carl-Johan Rosenbröijer.
The crossdisciplinary approach is reflected in everything we do at Arcada. Working to find scalable solutions is a common denominator for degree studies and continuing learning. This effort was launched in the autumn of 2018 and there is a definite potential for working across the boundaries of both departments and programmes.