ERIC Number: EJ954144
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2012
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 18
A Research-Based Approach to Generic Graduate Attributes Policy
Barrie, Simon C.
Higher Education Research and Development, v31 n1 p79-92 2012
For many years universities around the world have sought to articulate the nature of the education they offer to their students through a description of the generic qualities and skills their graduates possess. Despite the lengthy history of the rhetoric of such policy claims, universities' endeavours to describe generic attributes of graduates continue to lack a clear theoretical or conceptual base and are characterized by a plurality of view-points. Furthermore, despite extensive funding in some quarters, overall, efforts to foster the development of generic attributes appear to have met with limited success. Recent research has shed some light on this apparent variability in policy and practice. It is apparent that Australian university teachers charged with responsibility for developing students' generic graduate attributes do not share a common understanding of either the nature of these outcomes, or the teaching and learning processes that might facilitate the development of these outcomes. Instead academics hold qualitatively different conceptions of the phenomenon of graduate attributes. This paper considers how the qualitatively different conceptions of graduate attributes identified in this research have been applied to the challenge of revising a university's policy statement specifying the generic attributes of its graduates. The paper outlines the key findings of the research and then describes how the university's revision of its policy statement has built upon this research, adopting a research-led approach to academic development. The resultant two-tiered policy is presented and the key academic development processes associated with the disciplinary contextualization of this framework are considered. The discussion explores some of the implications of this novel approach to structuring a university's policy, in particular, the variation in the relationship between discipline knowledge and generic attributes which was a key feature of the qualitative variation in understandings identified in the research. (Contains 1 figure.
Descriptors: Foreign Countries, Role of Education, Higher Education, Graduates, Outcomes of Education, Position Papers, College Faculty, Learning Processes, Program Development, Institutional Mission, Scholarship, Citizenship, Global Approach, Lifelong Learning
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Higher Education
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Australia