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QUALITY ASSURANCE Case Study: Finnish-Russian Cross-Border University Liisa Tahvanainen CBU® The Finnish-Russian Cross-Border University Institute University of Joensuu Developing quality assurance of higher education curriculum planning in Finland and Russia

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quality assurance case study finnish russian cross border university

QUALITY ASSURANCECase Study: Finnish-Russian Cross-Border University

Liisa Tahvanainen


The Finnish-Russian

Cross-Border University Institute

University of Joensuu

Developing quality assurance of higher education curriculum planning in Finland and Russia

University of Turku, Finland 26. – 27.11.2007

two countries nine universities six study fields

The Finnish-RussianCross-Border UniversityCBU®

Two countries

Nine universities

Six study fields

what is the cbu
What is the CBU®?
  • Consortium of five Finnish and four Russian universities
  • Expertise across the border
  • Jointly developed Master’s degree programmes in six study fields
  • Educational cooperation and joint efforts on worldwide marketing of the joint educational products
  • Coordinated by the CBU Development Unit, located at the Finnish-Russian Cross-Border University Institute at the University of Joensuu
the cbu partners
The CBU Partners

Partners in Finland:

  • University of Helsinki
  • University of Joensuu
  • University of Kuopio
  • Lappeenranta University of Technology
  • University of Tampere

Partners in Russia:

  • St. Petersburg State University
  • St. Petersburg State Polytechnical University
  • Petrozavodsk State University
  • European University at St. Petersburg
we started 2004 what are we today
  • Consortium of 9 higher education institutions
  • Masters’ programmes in 6 study fields with joint curriculas
  • Programmes awarding one national diploma or double diplomas~ 80 students from 10 different countries started in CBU 2007
  • Signed MoU in 2006
  • Programme specific agreements under signing process
  • Joint study guide published, www-pages, marketing started
  • CBU QAS started
  • CBU seminars: ”Quality Assurance in Joint International Education – From Theory to Practice” 7-8 November 2007 in St. Petersburg State Polytechnical University
what we would like to be
  • Masters’ programmes in new fields of science
  • Doctoral programmes
  • More partners
  • Award double and joint degrees
  • Strong cooperation with working life
  • International quality audit
  • Seminars and publications
  • Internationally well known and attractive
our motivation to develop joint programmes
Our Motivation to Develop Joint Programmes
  • visibility in international educational markets
  • attractiveness to foreign and national applicants
  • well motivated and well succeeding students
  • combining our educational resources
  • incorporating complementary teaching expertise in core areas
  • expert exchange between CBU partner universities
  • research co-operation between the partner universities
the mission of the cbu


  • to develop joint Finnish-Russian Master’s Degree Programmes to the international markets through increasing and deepening the educational co-operation between Finnish and Russian universities
  • implementing the Bologna process and promote the European Higher Education Area (EHEA) –process in Finland and in Russia.
  • The CBU education is of high quality and internationally relevant and competitive with focus on global and local applications.
  • produce graduates with high-quality special proficiency and skills for acting across national boundaries in international and intercultural environment and specifically in European Russian relationships in the working and business life.


the objective of the cbu


  • To provide CBU graduates with wide range of high quality, internationally attractive and relevant Master’s Degree Programmes on several disciplines in English.
  • Another aim is to promote educational co-operation between Finland and Russia, the cultural and national equality, language plurality and gender equality.
  • Furthermore, the objective is to reflect the CBU values of interdisciplinarity, partnership and transparency in education and co-operation.
  • An additional aim is to increase the mutual understanding between all groups of people and enhance the build-up of individual networks of future experts by the students in their own field of expertise


cbu vision


    • The CBU Quality assurance system is in use in each CBU Master’s Programme. Most of the Programmes are awarding double degrees. The Programmes are running with full capacity of at least 20 students per Programme. The choice of courses in English in each university is rapidly increasing. Marketing is global and efficient, the number of applicants meeting the admission criteria is at least double compared to the intake.
  • IN 2015 THE CBU:
    • CBU Master Programmes are widely recognized and known of high quality and competitive programmes in Europe and globally. Motivated students from all over the world are applying for the programmes. CBU has enlargened to 10 relevant master’s programmes with new partner universities and associated institutions. CBU Doctoral programmes are running, supported by the CBU Finnish-Russian research co-operation.
    • CBU brand is well-known and CBU programmes have an international quality label. CBU programmes are in close co-operation with business and industry. The educational choices by students are aligned with market needs and employees with CBU degree that is highly valued in the labour market.


the finnish russian cross border university consortium
The Finnish-Russian Cross-Border University Consortium

6 CBU Masters’


The steps of interconnectedness

and partnership between

the consortium universities






the development process of joint degree programmes
The Development Process of joint degree programmes

The steps of developing

successful joint

cross-border degree




Joint implementation

of the programme

Formulating the

curriculum for the joint

Degree programme

Formulating the sub-

competences of

the consortium

Formulating the core

competences of the


Formulating the areas of

competency in each partner


the cbu studies
The CBU Studies
  • Prerequisite: a Bachelor’s degree (or equivalent)

in a related field and good skills in English

  • Extent of the CBU studies is

2 years/ 120 ECTS

  • Language of instruction is English
  • Includes mobility
  • When graduating students will be awarded at least

one national diploma – students meeting the national requirements in both countries may be awarded two national degrees

  • a CBU Certificate and a Diploma Supplement
cbu curriculum a general structure

120 ECTS – final combination of courses is individually designed in PSP

  • CBU Compulsory courses, jointly produced
  • Home University Compulsory courses
  • Elective courses from CBU partner universities
  • Special courses, given by experts, jointly or by one partner produced, available for all the CBU students
  • Science project and / or Internship (preferably across the border)
  • Master’s Thesis, in cooperation with companies/organizations, supervised by two universities
  • Min. 3 months period of cross-border mobility in a CBU partner university
  • Versatile teachning methods; Face-to-face and distance education, seminars, projects
the cbu masters programmes
The CBU Masters’ Programmes
  • Business and Administration
  • Forestry and Environmental Engineering
  • History
  • International Relations
  • Information Technology
  • Public Health
cbu business and administration
CBU Business and Administration
  • Coordinated by the Lappeenranta University of Technology
  • Partner:
    • St. Petersburg State

University School of


  • Double-degree programme
cbu forestry and environmental engineering
CBU Forestry andEnvironmental Engineering
  • Coordinated by the University of Joensuu
  • Partners:
    • University of Helsinki
    • Lappeenranta University of Technology
    • St. Petersburg State Polytechnical University
    • Petrozavodsk State University
cbu history
CBU History
  • Coordinated by the University of Helsinki
  • Partners:
    • University of Joensuu
    • Petrozavodsk State University
    • European University at St. Petersburg
cbu international relations
CBU International Relations
  • Coordinated by the University of Tampere
  • Partners:
    • St. Petersburg State University
    • St. Petersburg State Polytechnical University
    • Petrozavodsk State University
  • Double-degree programme
cbu information technology
CBU Information Technology
  • Coordinated by the Lappeenranta University of Technology
  • Partners:
    • University of Helsinki
    • University of Joensuu
    • University of Kuopio
    • St. Petersburg State University
    • St. Petersburg State Polytechnical University
    • Petrozavodsk State University
cbu public health
CBU Public Health
  • Coordinated by the University of Kuopio
  • Partners:
    • St. Petersburg State University
    • Petrozavodsk State University
what the students might expect from cross border education
What the students might expect from cross-border education?


(The CBU Learning Outcomes)

  • Subject specific expertise and to have the learning skills to allow them to continue in third cycle studies
  • Research skills and creativity
  • Capacity for analyses and synthesis
  • Ability to integrate knowledge and handle complexity
  • Capacity for applying their knowledge and understanding in practice, in new and unfamiliar environments
  • Capacity for applying their knowledge and understanding in international and multicultural environment
  • Internationalization that advances succeeding in business life
  • Problem solving and decision making in international environment
  • Ability to work in an interdisciplinary and international team and context
  • Appreciation of diversity and multiculturality
  • Understanding of social and ethical responsibilities
  • Concern for quality
other expectations of the students
Other expectations of the students:

2) to be provided services such as:

  • well arranged, effective and competent teaching
  • versatile teaching methods
  • good supportive services (ICT, library, language...)
  • well organised guidance and tutoring
  • possibility of giving feedback and participating in developing of teaching

3) to have a choice of studies to be aligned with needs of labour markets

4) to get a national or double or joint diploma and Diploma Supplement to prove the specific nature of the CBU master’s degree programme when applying for the working life or third cycle studies.

5) to build up individual international network of future experts in their field of expertise

prerequisites for a successful joint international programme
Prerequisites for a Successful Joint International Programme
  • A successful high quality joint educational programme provides a clear added value for all interest groups
    • The first prerequisite is that none of the partners could carry out these masters’ programmes alone and be better

clear added value

best possible partners

fitting for this purpose

    • The second prerequisite is a common language

Partners are committed

And ready to invest

their efforts and resources


joint education is

an area where everyone

can gain

cbu master s programs survey
CBU Master’s Programs survey

Reasons for joining the CBU

  • Enhancing quality of education through joining forces
  • Broadening the study offer and coverage of the disciplines
  • Combining strengths and learning from the partners
  • Internationalization
  • Joining the European education system and Bologna process
  • Increasing the recognition of the degrees (esp. with double/joint degrees)
Existing co-operation
  • Need for professionals with international experience and expertize
  • Enhancing regional development through high quality education
  • Succeeding in international educational markets with intensifying competition

Partner selection

  • Complex procedure
The quality of joint international programmes is formed not only of the quality of individual institutions and their offers, but more of the cooperation across institutional and national borders and the programmes as a whole
Quality of a joint international programmes includes different aspects than in individual university level
  • Quality as a partner
  • Quality of the consortium
  • Services in English
  • Mobility
  • Tutoring and PSP (as courses in a curricula can be taken from several universities)
  • Degree awarding (as two or more universities can award the degree based on the same studies)
what is quality
  • Excellence
  • Customer satisfaction
  • To what extent the product is fulfilling the set requirements
  • Best possible results with available resources
  • Continuous improvement

“ If you can not measure it, you can not improve it”

quality assurance system is to
Quality Assurance System is to
  • follow the fulfillment of the jointly set goals and values by the quality assurance system with indicators and surveys for customers/interest groups and providers
  • The joint QAS is to provide an additional element for existing systems.
  • Makes the quality visible
qa in cbu joint programmes
QA in CBU joint programmes
  • in each partner university both national level and/or university level quality assurance systems are in use and under continuous development
  • A QAS under development for the CBU
    • To complement local university-level QAS systems with CBU-specific aspects (student and teacher mobility & jointly organized curricula and individual courses)
  • An inventory made about current institutional quality in the CBU Partner Universities in autumn 2007
    • Administrative situation (esp. Bologna)
    • International educational activities
    • Current Quality Assurance practices in educational activities
    • Student services
the quality objectives in cbu


The Quality Objectives in CBU


  • The CBU is committed to follow the fulfillment of the goals and values of the CBU by the quality assurance system with indicators and surveys for customers and providers.
  • The objective is to produce and demonstrate such a high quality educational products and services that the CBU programmes attract intelligent young students from all over the world to CBU programmes.
  • CBU is highly eligible partner by international companies and organizations, graduates with CBU degrees have better employment opportunities than students in general in CBU partner universities .
  • The CBU programmes are internationally recognized and audited.
the main principles of the cbu qas
The main principles of the CBU QAS
  • Easy to use, short, simple
  • Mainly used via internet
    • www-links!
  • Offers help and guidance for the partner universities and master’s programmes to maintain and develop the quality of joint education and services
  • Provides common uniform procedures and methods for assuring the quality
  • Guarantees equal opportunities for students
  • Makes the quality of CBU-programmes visible
  • Helps universities and Masters’ programmes to orientate to the audits
  • Help the auditors’ work
the cbu qas step by step draft




  • Defining CBU Quality Actors
  • The Status of Present QA at CBU universities
  • Quality of universities as CBU Partners/ Quality template
  • Student Satisfaction/Feedback
  • Teacher Satisfaction/Feedback
  • Other Stakeholders’ feedback
  • Quality reflection to the objectives, strategies, needs
  • CBU Quality Development Action Plan
  • Documentation
  • Feedback and Availability of Quality Information
  • Internal Quality Audit
  • External Quality Audit
example of annual and other regular operations in cbu quality assurance system




Report, action plan




Report, feedback

  • The feedback survey for other stakeholders’ (working life) is carried out every third year
  • The feedback and satisfaction survey for the CBU teachers is carried out every third year
  • The internal audit by the end of 2009
  • The external audit by the end of 2010
  • The current state of Universities in CBU cooperation in 2007, based on the results of that survey the CBU matrix of quality indicators shall be developed to be used in annual CBU quality follow-up surveys





● Main responsibility of the activity

○ Involved in

cbu partner institutions survey
CBU partner institutions survey

Degree program learning outcomes

  • commonly not defined

QAS in teaching

  • Not always fully described and in use
  • Commonly not audited and certified by national or international bodies

Evaluation of the quality of teaching

  • In Russia regularly evaluated (internal + national)
  • In Finland only occasionally evaluated so far
Feedback about education
  • In most universities regularly collected from employers and other stakeholders
  • Student feedback not always systematically collected
  • Feedback is used as a developing tool and available for the teachers but usually not to the students


  • Students and teachers have an opportunity to participate in work of the universies’ administrative and developing bodies
  • There are regular development discussions with the personnel in all universities
educational processes and resources survey
Educational processes and resources survey

Language skills of the teachers in int. programmes is estimated to be active-proficient

Teachers are in general offered an opportunity to participate in pedagogical, language and subject specific training

In the universities different teaching methods are used:

Including distance-education, team working, small-group instruction

Personal study plans are always obligatory

MSc students / teacher: 2 - 20

study programmes survey
Study programmes survey

MSc-degree not yet in all universities

Magnitude of the thesis work varies, being 30 or 40 ECTS and the thesis is required/expected to be written in English

The universities are commonly offering non-CBU degree or non-degree study programmes in English and participate in international student and teacher exchange programmes

Joint evaluation and supervision (FIN-RUS) of the thesis is commonly aimed at

student support survey
Student support survey

Dormitories are available for students (with one exception)

Health care and library services are not always available in English at the universities

The universities offer local language and academic English courses, which may have a fee

In the universities there are internet possibilities (one univ.: in dormitories with fee) and libraries with course materials in English

student progression survey
Student progression survey

Student selection and assessment criteria not always available in the internet and study guide in English

The universities can award at minimum an official translation of the degree certificate in English (one exception) – Information about a double degree can not always be included

All can award a DS and an additional certificate

Minimum requirement of studies at home university for awarding a double degree: 50-84 ECTS, including thesis

Studies made in other partner universities are recognized, as far as they are from the CBU curricula and follow an approved personal study plan

The students get a DS automatically and free of charge upon graduation at all universities

  • We want to create a very clear system for Quality Assurance in joint cross-border education
    • Who is responsible and of what
    • What shall be done and what time of the academic year
    • Regular feedback surveys, self-evaluation template with common quality indicators
    • How to document and publish
  • Creating any study programme starts by defining the learning outcomes
  • QAS provides a tool for continuous development of relevant curriculas producing competent graduates for working life and/or third cycle studies
  • Co-operation provides clear added-value for each partner (and interest group)
  • The main principles of the co-operation, responsibilities and obligations are officially agreed by signed agreements
  • The fundamental principle of the QA of joint education is to assure and demonstrate students, employees and the society of
    • good quality of education offered and
    • good quality of the institutions offering that education – but also of
    • concern of quality
  • The value-added of the CBU QAS is expected to be realized in better market-value of joint international educational products with highly recognized CBU brand but also as profound mutual trust and respect in the consortium.
  • A high-level QA would also enable the educational choices by students to be aligned with market needs.




qa expected value added for joint programmes
QA expected value-added for joint programmes
  • Commitment to quality by all higher education institutions is essential for internationally successful offerings. Although the global educational markets are enormous, competition for market shares is hard – and the young customers are quality conscious and demanding.
contact information
Contact Information

Finnish-Russian Cross-Border University Institute


Prof. Liisa Tahvanainen


Mr Eero Forss


University of Joensuu

P.O. Box 111

80101 Joensuu




Phone:+358 13 251 2100