Record number of students from SAMK into working life

A significant number of new professionals graduate every year from SAMK to strengthen the vitality of the Satakunta region in particular. Last year witnessed a record number of 1,232 graduates, 226 of whom completed a master’s degree. What has been done to achieve this great result?

The photo shows the Student Union SAMMAKKO activists on the couch.
A record number of 1,232 students graduated from SAMK last year. The photo shows the Student Union SAMMAKKO activists.

Tiina Savola, Dean, Faculty of Health and Welfare, reflects the graduation numbers with SAMK’s recently renewed values – communality, responsibility, and open-mindedness.

– I would look at this whole issue through our values. They are part of our identity and therefore the basis of our whole organisational culture.

Cooperation and communality

According to Savola, there is a strong sense of community and open interaction behind everything we do.

– We operate in a student-centred way. We take into account students’ different needs, skills, learning styles and interests.

Savola stresses the importance of study guidance and counselling. Five student counsellors, a special needs teacher and teacher tutors monitor students’ progress and support them in their studies. Professionals of guidance and counselling bring the right tools for individual support and guidance.

– They do a lot of excellent work in reducing the number of “drop-outs”. This benefits both the students themselves, as well as SAMK and working life.

Savola believes that low-threshold sports and well-being services are essential to students’ coping and consequently to the progress of their studies.

– CampusMowe’s versatile university sport and well-being services support not only students but also staff. In addition to physical activity, well-being is also supported by other social interactions among peers.

The student well-being survey, which has been carried out at SAMK for several years, is used regularly to find out students’ support needs and their experience of their ability to study.

– The importance of caring for students really came out strongly in the latest well-being survey. Students want to be asked how they are doing,” says Savola.

Tiina Savola is leaning against a wall.
Tiina Savola sees the graduation of students as particularly important for the region’s economy.

Moving forward in solidarity

It is important that students not only study but also graduate on time. This will provide society with new competence.

– We want to take good care of the students. Then support starts at the application stage. For example, path studies and application courses prepare students for their future studies. Every act at SAMK is a pedagogical act. Together, we work towards the graduation and employment of our students. It is in everyone’s interest,” says Savola.

SAMK curricula have been praised for being job-oriented and SAMK has received feedback that the graduates entering the workforce are skilled.

– We also have to thank the representatives of working life in the Satakunta region. They cooperate with us in a systematic way,” Savola says.

Students have rights but also responsibilities for their learning and completion. Sometimes the graduation depends on a thesis. Thesis workshops are the places to solve the problems together, share tips and get peer support.

– Often students know what they are doing, they just need to sit down and write. A thesis workshop is a bit like a retreat, where you can concentrate. Even the meal breaks are taken care of,” Savola laughs.

Evolving ways of teaching and learning

From the perspective of open-mindedness, Savola highlights the change in the whole learning culture. At SAMK, we are constantly looking ahead. The development of learning environments is an ongoing activity that also takes sustainability into account.

– We have state-of-the-art facilities for practical learning, such as nursing and maritime simulation rooms and engineering laboratories. And the fine arts – the cradle of creativity – have their own learning environments,” says Savola.

Great facilities alone are not enough; attention must also be paid to the way we teach and learn.

– It has required a lot of joint discussion, thinking and pedagogical outlining on our part. I am happy to say that we are keen to develop new skills, digital pedagogical skills now in particular.

Students have quite diverse needs and life situations. Some people prefer contact studies, others prefer online or blended learning. You can also speed up your studies. For example, non-stop digital courses can be taken flexibly according to your schedule.

Together for Satakunta

The graduation and employment of students are important for the whole Satakunta region.

– The focus is on continuous dialogue with other educational institutions in the region and with working life. This is already strong but will be further strengthened. It is vital that we develop the kind of skills that Satakunta in particular needs,” says Savola.

SAMK’s emphasis on entrepreneurship and multidisciplinarity reflects its ability to respond to the changing needs of working life. SAMK has an Entrepreneurship Accelerator, where they help you to start your own business. Welfare and health students complete part of their studies at the Soteekki Service Centre, in a multidisciplinary work placement.

– It is all based on the idea of a competent and prosperous higher education institution. When we think of the student in everything and enable their active participation, self-direction, and inclusion, we are in fact sowing the seeds for the success of the region,” concludes Savola.

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The article was previously published in SAMK’s stakeholder magazine Agora. Read the full magazine online (in Finnish).

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