1 Introduction and objectives
At Haaga-Helia, the daily promotion of accessibility belongs to each member of our community. With accessibility, we refer to a state in which no one’s personal characteristics or life situation prevents them from realising their potential at work or in their studies.
The purpose of this accessibility plan is to present the objectives and policies used at Haaga-Helia to promote diversity, strengthen the inclusion of minority groups, in particular, and steer towards the prevention and removal of all kinds of harassment and discrimination from the community. The accessibility plan will be incorporated as part of Haaga-Helia’s quality system.
The accessibility plan is divided in eight topics in accordance with the accessibility criteria developed as part of the OHO initiative (2019), funded by the Finnish Ministry of Education and Culture:
- Values, attitudes and operating culture
- Physical environment
- Digital accessibility
- Teaching and learning
- Support and guidance
- Student admissions
The accessibility plan’s objectives and measures for 2023–2024 have also been divided into these eight topics. The description of the current state is based on a self-assessment carried out on the basis of the accessibility criteria. It surveys factors impacting the accessibility, inclusiveness and equality of Haaga-Helia’s operations. Preparatory work has been carried out in collaboration with responsible persons and specialists from various sectors, including students. The accessibility plan is developed and accessibility is promoted by including the university of applied sciences community in a comprehensive manner. Accessibility is connected to every aspect of Haaga-Helia’s operations, strategy, values and equality planning.
Accessibility at Haaga-Helia is assessed every four years in a comprehensive manner in terms of each of the eight topics in the accessibility criteria. The assessment considers factors already on a good level, factors that have experienced development and factors that need development in a particularly active manner. If the assessment identifies criteria that has remained at an insufficient level, a reassessment will be carried out in one year.
2 Values, attitudes and operating culture
Current state at good level
Five important values guide all our operations: courage, responsibility, collaboration, transparency and appreciation. Accessibility is tightly integrated in our values from multiple perspectives, such as: We treat everyone fairly and equally. We help each other succeed. We listen to differing opinions and learn from others. We act in a manner that makes everyone feel like an equal part of our community.
We actively make sure that the diversity of our community members is recognised and seen as a resource. We want to promote the freedom of thought, information and expression while honouring the equality principles. In our community, everyone is responsible for taking care of their own and each other’s safety, promoting a good atmosphere and equality as well as following instructions and shared practices.
The well-being at work of our community is the foundation and enabler of our strategy. Preventive management of the ability to work and ensuring a functioning working environment and working conditions are reflected in our programmes and operating models and as objectives and measures in our annual plans. In 2023, the focus of our operating culture is on well-being and the community.
We continuously monitor the situation in our student well-being working group and occupational health and safety committee to make sure women and men have equal rights. The objectives and measures of the equality plan are a recurring theme of the occupational health and safety committee’s meetings. Student Union Helga’s executive director strengthens the polyphonic dialogue of the occupational health and safety committee. We also monitor equality in our personnel survey which we generally carry out every other year. According to the results in 2021, our personnel thinks that we treat men and women equally. According to the results, we could operate in a more transparent manner.
Our strategy and values are strongly founded on collaboration. We aim for an even more collective and successful operating culture, examples of which are the education reform, inclusive strategy process and development programmes, such as Kohtaamo for the entire personnel, Pedaali for the teaching staff and Uudistamo for supervisors. In order to achieve our goals, we have constant dialogue with the Haaga-Helia community. The possibility to participate in the development of our operations, good interaction, a transparent and constructive feedback and dialogue culture as well as transparent communications form the foundation of our functioning, prosperous and reformative community.
We acknowledge accessibility in all our operations even though we have not used the particular term in every situation. We offer flexible work arrangements and part-time to support accessibility in various life situations. Special arrangements can also be made through mutual dialogue on a case-by-case basis to support the ability to work.
Current state at a good level
The management of the university of applied sciences is committed to promoting accessibility. The managed university of applied sciences community consists of the students and staff. Decision-making and representative bodies include the owners, board of the university of applied sciences, management group, collegiate body, occupational health and safety committee, co-determination board and examination board. These and all other operators guiding and developing Haaga-Helia have a clearly specified role in the operations of the university of applied sciences. Forums and development groups are also responsible for the development. Descriptions of the roles are available on the Intranet.
Our policies and instructions are transparent and openly available to the personnel. Our Intranet, which functions as our operating manual, is published in English and Finnish. Key policies guiding our operations include the rules of procedure and acceptance authorisations for HR matters. Instructions regarding working hours, place of work and working have been processed together, and they are available on the Intranet.
We recruit in a responsible manner by acknowledging equality and appreciating diversity. Recruitments are carried out together with the recruitment team. We openly share our evaluation criteria and recruitment practices. We appreciate each applicant and want to create a good applicant experience. All job advertisements are published openly on the Intranet, and recruitments are based on a pre-formulated staff plan.
New employees are trained in our equality principles and practices. We have organised digital accessibility training for our personnel, and this information, including the training videos, is available on the Intranet.
We acknowledge the diversity and equality of students, one example of which is Turvaamo (safer space).
4 Physical environment
Current state at a good level
The physical environment refers to the buildings, premises, yards and car parks of our university of applied sciences, all of which should be accessible to all users. In general, physical accessibility refers to the fact that a person with limited mobility or who uses mobility aids is able to move around the premises. The premises should be suitable for those with vision or hearing loss, among others.
Our premises are located in five places: Haaga, Malmi and Pasila (in Helsinki), Porvoo and Vierumäki. With the exception of the Porvoo campus, our premises are rental premises.
In accordance with the accessibility criteria for institutes of higher education, the current state of our physical operating environment on all campuses is at a good level. Information about the accessibility of our campuses can be found on Haaga-Helia’s website. The accessibility of the campuses has been assessed in accessibility surveys with a third-party partner. Surveys will also be carried out in the future.
One shared physical space that is important for our students and staff is the library of our university of applied sciences. The accessibility of the physical environment of the libraries varies by campus. For the most part, the library premises are accessible. In some libraries, the doors open automatically. Customers in wheelchairs are also able to access the facilities with the help of wide doors and lifts. The libraries have various spaces in which you can focus on working without distractions. We have aimed to silence sounds by, for example, installing acoustic wall and ceiling panels and selecting appropriate furniture.
The library’s users have access to adjustable height desks for various workstations, and in some of the libraries, the height of the lending desks can also be adjusted. All of the libraries have reading spaces and/or workstations equipped with computers that are suitable for customers in wheelchairs. Customers have the possibility of ordering printed materials for pickup at one of the 14 Haaga-Helia, Laurea or Metropolia campus libraries, which helps persons with disabilities. Assistance dogs are allowed in the library.
5 Digital accessibility
Current state at a good level
Digital services and their accessibility comprise various layered factors: the technology in use, system platforms, the implementation (solutions) of the application layer and their continuous maintenance as well as the actual digital content. In system maintenance, responsibilities are divided between various functions, and almost our entire personnel participate in content production in their various roles. We have founded an accessibility working group to make sure that our digital services and content comply with the accessibility requirements, to draft guidelines and to coordinate orientation.
In general, IT’s system procurements have required accessibility for several years already. The accessibility requirements have also been acknowledged in system version updates and maintenance as well as content production.
The Haaga-Helia.fi website and Intranet were renewed in 2021–2022 with the accessibility requirements in mind. Our online services have been assessed for accessibility per programme, and they have accessibility statements. The accessibility statements list any detected defects and include the possibility of notifying any accessibility defects (feedback).
Our publishing systems support the production of accessible content. In addition, we have acquired tools to comply with the accessibility requirements, such as subtitling videos. We also offer text-to-speech programmes, and the IT helpdesk offers personal support for deploying them.
We have drafted a digital accessibility information package, including instructions, for personnel and students. In addition, we have trained our personnel and acknowledge digital accessibility when training new employees. So-called digipedamentors support the teaching staff in developing the accessibility of materials and electronic exams in the digital study environment.
We have defined digital teaching quality criteria, one of which is accessibility. In addition, the library offers students with thesis-related accessibility help, where necessary.
6 Teaching and learning
Current state at a good level
Teaching has been arranged so that courses can be implemented in various forms, and the student can select the format that suits their study method the best. In addition, students have the possibility to verify competence acquired beforehand or at work through, for example, demonstrations and the work & study model.
Students are offered studies supporting learning skills as part of their personal curriculum. Where necessary, students have the option of individual teaching arrangements both during the courses and when demonstrating their competencies. The services of special needs teachers are available to students throughout their studies.
Our pedagogic vision and steering model contains the idea of a guiding and student-based work method. The specialists at the school of vocational teacher education continuously offer our personnel with versatile support and training to develop new kinds of pedagogic solutions that support learning.
In evaluation, we use various evaluation methods, which are continuously developed and modified through co-teaching, in a flexible manner. Learning objectives are presented in the course description, while evaluation criteria are presented in the course’s implementation plan. We have an accessibility toolkit for planning course materials and pedagogic solutions.
Students’ individual needs are considered when drafting the personal curriculum, and we aim to update the course offering in accordance with the selections students have made in their personal study plan (PSP).
Students’ individual strengths and support needs are also considered when planning and implementing work placement. When evaluating the work placement, we utilise versatile evaluation methods, such as oral reporting, if necessary.
7 Support and guidance
Current state at an excellent level
Students receive support and guidance related to their studies and well-being throughout their studies from various specialists. The services are offered flexibly at different times of the day on campus and virtually on the basis of the students’ wishes. Each degree student has an appointed guidance counsellor as a familiar and safe contact person. In addition, study advisors help those completing vocational studies. The student will get to know their contact person as soon as they start their studies.
Our shared guidance model sets the ground rules for the guidance given to the student. The model acknowledges the teaching staff’s central role in advising students in their studies. We offer students a wide variety of support and guidance services. The actors in question include guidance counsellors, study advisors, competence counselling teachers, special needs teachers, career counselling, international services, a university chaplain, a study psychologist, study coaches, student tutors, library and information services, thesis advisors, a work placement coordinator and an alumni specialist. In addition, students may choose courses supporting their studies and career from the wide selection of the Keys to Studies and Career study module.
Healthcare services are offered to degree students by the Finnish Student Health Service (FSHS). We inform students of FSHS’s services during student orientation and on our website. The university of applied sciences and FSHS have cooperation practices to ensure the accessibility of services to students.
Student Union Helga supports students from all backgrounds and functions as a community throughout their studies. Helga invests in creating an accessible, equal and inclusive student culture and operations. Helga’s activities include specialist help and a harassment contact person. Students can use these channels to contact Helga in case of various problems in the university of applied sciences community, whether it is a case of delayed course grades, inappropriate treatment or issues with the campus premises. Helga also trains its members to participate in the harassment contact person activities and helps Haaga-Helia’s other student associations in making sure their operating culture is free of harassment.
Accessibility is acknowledged in the planning of library and information services and their guidelines. The library always assists all customers in an equal manner, and the library is happy to help you with accessibility-related questions. The library has appointed persons who are responsible for accessibility.
The library’s services consider students’ individual needs (e.g. extension of lending times and lending various reading aids). The library’s services and digital materials are also accessible remotely online regardless of time and place, which reduces the significance of physical hinders in their use. Digital materials can also be used with various applications and devices increasing accessibility, such as screen readers and reading applications.
The library’s website and guidebooks as well as the library’s search service HH Finna are accessible. The library’s video recordings are subtitled and have audio descriptions so that the information is also available to users who cannot hear the audio or see the video. Customers with reading disabilities can utilise
Celia’s free audio book service. The library will assist you with setting up a Celia account. The library’s electronic Diverse learners’ library guide describes the library’s accessibility services.
Our international services have actively promoted the equality, community and inclusion of the university of applied sciences community by training employees in intercultural communication, multicultural customer service, strengthening an anti-racist community and working in diverse teams. We offer intercultural coaching courses to both incoming and outgoing exchange students to support the students before, during and after their exchange studies.
The international services’ instructions regarding student, teacher and employee exchanges can be found on our website and learning platforms in an accessible format. Our students and personnel have access to international specialist services in various channels. We record and publish any necessary orientation and information events online.
In our recruitments, we make sure that the application process enables a diverse group of applicants. We always publish the international services’ job advertisements also in English. In the advertisement, we mention that we are particularly looking for applications from applicants belonging to a minority group or who are still working on their Finnish skills. We believe that a diverse team is more creative and better in, for example, problem solving.
In our Mobility for All (MOB4ALL) initiative, we develop training materials related to special needs students to international service specialists, guidance counsellors, student tutors and other counsellors. The training provides information on four types of disabilities students may have: 1) reduced mobility,
2) hearing and visual impairments, 3) neurological disabilities and 4) learning disabilities. In addition, the initiative is developing instructions to support special needs students in their international pursuits.
Current state at a good level
We communicate to our students, student applicants, staff, partners and the public in multiple channels. Each target group has their own communication channels for various communication situations.
Our communication is goal-oriented and interactive. We communicate in English and Finnish. Our main principles are transparency, timeliness and clarity. The goal of our communications is to be concrete and clear.
The accessibility of our website is at a good level. Our publishing systems support the production of accessible content. Our employees have access to an accessibility programme, and we have also offered training to our employees. We comply with the accessibility directive, and our website contains the statement required by the directive.
In addition to our website, we produce many other kinds of digital materials. We do not have a process to ensure the accessibility of all materials in advance. However, we aim to fix all detected accessibility defects as soon as possible.
We also consider accessibility in Haaga-Helia’s visual look. We consider typography and colour contrasts in the graphic design of our website and print products.
9 Student admissions
Current state at a good level
Applicants can apply for special arrangements at the entrance examination due to a disability, illness, difficulty with reading and writing or some other special reason. This is notified on the national ammattikorkeakouluun.fi (uasinfo.fi) website, on the Haaga-Helia website and on the Studyinfo admission instructions. However, applicants with an adjusted mathematics curriculum in upper secondary education must also take the mathematics exam during the entrance examination. This is due to a national policy of not modifying the contents. The most usual individual arrangements include extra time or a peaceful location for justified reasons.
Some of the messages sent to applicants are sent by the Finnish National Agency for Education and/or Metropolia University of Applied Sciences who coordinates the national electronic entrance examinations. In addition, we also send some messages. In the messages, we consider accessibility by, for example, writing out the text of a potential link in the template, which means we embed the link in the written text. Admission services use Haaga-Helia’s website, Dynasty, E-lomake, Webropol and Liana, the accessibility of which is the responsibility of a Haaga-Helia party other than admission services.
We write the admission information for English programmes in English and Finnish on our website. For Finnish study modules, we only write the information in Finnish so that the applicants may understand that the studies require sufficient Finnish skills. In Studyinfo, the texts are written in the main teaching language. Our Intranet uses both Finnish and English for employee materials regarding admission services and student admissions.