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Graduate Attributes – Are they driving learning? And who knows about them?. Rachel Spronken-Smith , Carol Bond & Martine Darrou (UO) Martin Jenkins and M argaret Leonard (CPIT) Stanley Frielick (AUT) Stephen Marshall (VUW) Simon Barrie (Sydney) – Advisor .

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graduate attributes are they driving learning and who knows about them

Graduate Attributes – Are they driving learning? And who knows about them?

Rachel Spronken-Smith, Carol Bond

& Martine Darrou (UO)

Martin Jenkins and Margaret Leonard (CPIT)

Stanley Frielick (AUT)

Stephen Marshall (VUW)

Simon Barrie (Sydney) – Advisor

slide2
Generic graduate attributes are the qualities, skills and understandings a university community agrees its students should develop during their time with the institution (Bowden et al. 2000)

“The extent to which the rhetoric of such [graduate attributes] statements actually represents a shared understanding of the outcomes of a university education is a matter of conjecture” (Barrie 2006: 216)

“The extent to which present day university teaching and learning processes actually develop such outcomes in graduates is even more contestable” (Barrie 2006: 216)

brief background
Brief background
  • Early 1990s – beginning of momentum around GA agenda
  • 1999 Bologna Declaration  Bologna process
    • “Dublin descriptors” – key qualities/ competencies
    • The Tuning Project in Europe and later in the USA (Lumina Foundation)
  • Australia
    • Series of reports and research

 Australian Qualifications Framework specifying minimum outcomes for qualifications to be adopted in 2011 (pending approval)

overall aims
Overall aims

To explore the current policies and practices regarding graduate attributes (GAs) in higher education institutions in NZ

To instigate change by encouraging higher education institutions to engage more deeply with the GA agenda

specific objectives
Specific objectives
  • Provide a synthesis of current research
  • Identify current policy and practice regarding GAs in New Zealand universities and polytechnics
  • Document and analyse examples of good practice
  • Identify indicators of the impact (benefit) on students and staff of good practices relating to GAs
  • Determine the necessary conditions and possible strategies for the effective development of policies and practices regarding GAs
  • Contribute to the international literature
research approach
Research Approach
  • Situated practice
  • Action-oriented – we hope to bring about change

Phase 1 Synthesis of the literature

Phase 2 Stock-take of GA policy and practices in NZ universities and polytechnics

Phase 3 Generating case studies of good practice

Phase 4 Meta-analysis and synthesis of results

Underpinned by collaboration, consultation and dissemination

general outcomes of this research
General outcomes of this research
  • Engagement by higher education institutions with the GA agenda  curriculum renewal
    •  benefits students (and staff)
  • Database of NZ policies and practices regarding GAs
  • Web-based case studies of good practice
  • Institutional packages (research summary, case studies, guidelines, teaching resource materials etc)
  • Publications – reports, journal articles, conference proceedings etc
progress to date since march 1
Progress to date (since March 1)
  • Confirmation of project team and first team meeting
  • Creation of collaborative research spaces online (wiki and Zotero)
  • Collation and evaluation of literature underway
  • Survey tool for stock-take being developed
  • Ethics applications underway
  • Possible case studies are being identified
current challenges
Current Challenges
  • Identifying the historical roots that have influenced current thinking
  • Establishing clear definitions and boundaries for the project
  • Defining what constitutes ‘good’ practice relating to GAs
  • Identifying case studies of good practice in arts and sciences