Accessibility and equality at TAMK
TAMK's organisation culture, management practices and quality system are tools for supporting fair and equal treatment of staff and students. TAMK invests both in continuous competence development and building of a psychologically safe organisation culture. Realisation of equality is considered to increase study-related and occupational wellbeing as well as the experience of fairness and thereby positively affect the entire TAMK community.
Equality issues, which are closely connected to accessibility, are discussed annually on different forums. The HR Services are responsible for preparing TAMK's equality plan. The plan is promoted and monitored in different groups. The Student’s Union Tamko plans and implements equality practices, for example for orientation studies. Tamko follows the community’s practices and continuously discusses with TAMK's management. At TAMK, the guiding principle is that everyone is treated equally in similar situations and without discrimination. This is implemented by means of guidelines, information and discussions and by intervention in possible malpractices.
Students’ Union Tamko’s active role
The Student’s Union Tamko drew up a code of conduct for its activities, ie ethical guidelines which contain Tamko's ethical principles and equality guidelines. It guides Tamko's operations towards a safer and more sustainable organisation culture. The guidelines describe how everyone can contribute to creating a good and equal atmosphere. In addition, it clarifies what constitutes inappropriate behaviour and specifies the procedures used in connection with harassment and discrimination. The code of conduct applies to all Tamko's operations.
Tamko also coordinates harassment contact activities and selects student representatives to the TAMK-level accessibility group. In addition, it works actively to promote equality and accessibility. Student tutor training deals with the themes of accessibility and equality to give peer tutors the skills to meet diverse students and refer them to specialists when necessary. In addition, Tamko has a year-round feedback channel through which students can report any problem situations. Tamko also has an email address for accessibility issues, related to eg events. In the future, a section on accessibility and equality will be added to Tamko's action plan, through which operations will be reviewed annually. At Tamko, accessibility issues are handled by an expert of educational and social affairs.
Accessibility in TAMK’s strategy and quality system
TAMK's strategic objectives for 2022–2024 call for promotion of accessibility. The objective of being the most international higher education institution can be achieved when we create a welcoming and inclusive organisation culture for TAMK’s students and staff. We are a desired working life development partner if we are able to work with a wide variety of companies and organisations and fulfil the conditions for talent diversity.
At TAMK, accessibility-related management and coordination responsibility rests with persons appointed from TAMK's executive board. The HEI's management is committed to promoting accessibility and equality practices. There are two accessibility groups at TAMK, one of which is a TAMK-level group and the other consists of teaching and counselling representatives. The purpose of the groups is to promote development, implementation and evaluation of accessibility practices. TAMK also has an accessibility contact person who coordinates practical accessibility measures and works in close cooperation with the accessibility staff of the Tampere Universities community. In addition, TAMK is involved in various national and international cooperation networks which promote accessibility.
Monitoring and evaluation practices related to accessibility have been and are still being developed. The key principle of TAMK's quality management, continuous improvement, is also used in evaluation of accessibility. The national guidelines guide the work: "Implementation of higher education institutions’ accessibility plans is monitored and evaluated as part of the higher education institutions’ performance guidance and internal and external quality and quality system evaluation." (Kosunen 2021, 195). Higher education institutions are required to have network-based co-operation and appointed persons in charge as well as systematically implement good practices.
Communications and its role in supporting accessibility
In TAMK's everyday life, personal communication and interaction are at the heart of all activities. Since TAMK is a large and multidisciplinary community, several open channels, platforms and forums have been established to support communications and management. They allow community members an equal opportunity to have information and influence TAMK's organisation culture. This also contributes to social accessibility. Communications also has a strategic role: it informs about everyone’s TAMK through both internal and external communication. Communications plays an important role on our journey towards everyone's TAMK.