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TUNING USA: Utahs Experience William Evenson, Ph.D. Utah System of Higher Education.

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Presentation on theme: "TUNING USA: Utahs Experience William Evenson, Ph.D. Utah System of Higher Education."— Presentation transcript:

1 TUNING USA: Utahs Experience William Evenson, Ph.D. Utah System of Higher Education

2 Bologna Process and U.S. HE What parts of the Bologna Process could help U.S. HE? Structural changes –Degrees- ECTS- Diploma Supplement Quality changes within accepted (new or old) structures –Qualifications/Degrees frameworks –Tuning by disciplines 5/29/2011NAFSA2

3 U.S. Higher Education Faculty autonomy Institutional autonomy General Education Transfer articulation Accountability Transparency 5/29/2011NAFSA3

4 Needs of U.S. HE Improved quality, participation, degree attainment Greater attention to needs of stakeholders outside the academy Better communication about student learning with students, alumni, faculty, advisors, librarians, employers, legislatures, parents 5/29/2011NAFSA4

5 U.S. Higher Education (2) Tuning and Degree Qualifications Profiles are elements of Bologna that can help U.S. HE move forward Utahs experience with Tuning, while still underway, has resulted in great benefits 5/29/2011NAFSA5

6 Lumina Foundations Tuning USA Pilot Project Tuning –What does a student need to know, understand, and be able to do to qualify for a degree in X? Focused on the quality, accountability, and transparency questions Faculty driven; set aside for now any structural changes 5/29/2011NAFSA6

7 The Quality Question Quality = Student Learning Tuning focuses on student learning rather than on seat time in classes, number of classes, etc. Student outcomes rather than faculty inputs. 5/29/2011NAFSA7

8 Tuning USA Pilot Project Three states – MN, IN, UT Seven disciplines – history (2), biology, chemistry, graphic design, physics, elementary education Started April 2009; first phase concluded December 2009 Teams produced competencies, surveys, reflection on feasibility and process, suggestions for next steps 5/29/2011NAFSA8

9 Utahs Experience More than a decade of activities prepared Utah for Bologna-type initiatives 5/29/2011NAFSA9

10 Utahs Experience (2) Majors Meetings – all eight institutions in the Utah System of Higher Education, 37+ disciplines, annually Annual Conference on What Is An Educated Person? – faculty from all USHE institutions 5/29/2011NAFSA10

11 Utahs Experience (3) Essential Learning Outcomes for general education Tuning 5/29/2011NAFSA11

12 Utahs Experience (4) 8 state institutions –2 research universities –4 comprehensive or regional universities –2 community colleges 2 disciplines: history, physics –AS/AA, BS, (MS, Doctoral) 5/29/2011NAFSA12

13 Utahs Experience (5) Faculty representatives from each institution on each discipline team Student representatives on each team – reality check! & student focus groups Team members nominated by their departments and institutions 5/29/2011NAFSA13

14 Define the Discipline Our work began with in-depth discussion of our joint discipline –How do we define it? –What are the essential competencies? –What competencies are taught in other departments? In ours? –The central discipline, not specializations at this point 5/29/2011NAFSA14

15 Utahs Experience (6) Several sessions of discussion (3-4) were required before teams took ownership –Understanding the process and how the elements fit together –Understanding that Tuning is NOT standardization! Faculty teams then agreed fairly quickly on common sets of discipline competencies – via faculty judgments! 5/29/2011NAFSA15

16 General Competencies Examples of highly ranked general competencies: Oral and written communication Abstract thinking, analysis and synthesis Essential knowledge and understanding of academic subjects and profession Reasoned decision-making Capacity to learn and update learning 5/29/2011NAFSA16

17 General Competencies (2) Some lower ranked examples: Able to work in an international context Able to motivate people and move toward common goals Commitment to environmental conservation Initiative, spirit of enterprise Commitment to workplace safety 5/29/2011NAFSA17

18 Discipline Competencies: History Example Historical Thinking –recognizes the "pastness" of the past (awareness of continuity and change over extended time spans) –recognizes the complex nature of past experience (a command of comparative perspectives, which may include the ability to compare the histories of different countries, societies, or cultures) –recognizes the complex and problematic nature of the historical record (appreciation of the complexity of reconstructing the past, the problematic and varied nature of historical evidence) 5/29/2011NAFSA18

19 Discipline Competencies: Physics 7 Categories of Competencies Understanding the Nature of Science and Nature of Physics Mathematical Skills, Modeling Skills, and Problem Solving Skills Understanding Physics Concepts Laboratory Skills Scientific Communication Ability (written, oral, and visual communication) Computational and Information Skills Physics Research 5/29/2011NAFSA19

20 Competencies to LOs With competencies, the teams set about defining learning outcomes (LOs) at the associates, bachelors, and masters levels Common sets of competencies and agreed LOs do NOT prescribe how different institutions bring students to achieve the LOs – no prescription of curriculum or pedagogy, but exchange ideas 5/29/2011NAFSA20

21 The Ratchet Principle Ratchet up levels at which competencies are achieved from Associates to Bachelors to Masters to Doctoral level 5/29/2011NAFSA21

22 Concrete Examples Physicists used examples to concretize the ratcheting of expectations 5/29/2011NAFSA22

23 Levels of Sophistication At each of the levels of sophistication described below, students will be able to demonstrate the following: 1. Ability to identify physical laws by name and to provide definitions of important terms related to the physical laws 2. Understanding of the meaning of physical laws and knowledge of their general formulas 3. Ability to apply the general formulas or concepts to specific limited situations 5/29/2011NAFSA23

24 Levels of Sophistication (2) 4. Ability to design or describe experiments that could test a specific formula 5. Understanding of the limits of validity of general formulas and the domains of validity of physical theories 6. Understanding how empirical science functions, i.e. the supremacy of experiment and observation in establishing physical theory 5/29/2011NAFSA24

25 Levels of Sophistication (3) 7. Ability to apply physical laws across different subdisciplines of physics and appreciation of common threads 8. Ability to construct specific formulas for specific situations from established general formulas 9. Understanding of general physical principles outside the context of their mathematical expression 5/29/2011NAFSA25

26 Levels of Sophistication (4) 10. Ability to construct mathematical models from general principles without reference to other specific, limited-use formulas 11. Ability to teach effectively and see where common pitfalls in understanding occur 5/29/2011NAFSA26

27 Ratcheting Organizing a Physical Problem The AS-level student should demonstrate the ability to Identify the physical principles that underlie a problem from the introductory physics curriculum –Identify the relevant physical laws and know their names, e.g. Coulombs law or Gausss law –Know the definitions of important terms or symbols in the relevant physical laws –.... Express the meaning of the relevant physical laws or principles in words Draw appropriate schematic diagrams showing relationships among the elements of the problem etc. 5/29/2011NAFSA27

28 Ratcheting Organizing a Physical Problem (2) The BS-level student should demonstrate the ability to Do everything on the AS list, but for the more sophis- ticated problems in the BS curriculum. In addition, the BS-level student should be able to: Suggest experimental tests of the validity of the model embodied in the problem as the student has set it up Specialize general formulas for specific problems Set up problems in more complicated geometries, e.g. two- and three-dimensional problems or curvilinear coordinates Estimate the order of magnitude of expected results for problems involving multiple physical concepts etc. 5/29/2011NAFSA28

29 Ratcheting Organizing a Physical Problem (3) The MS-level student should demonstrate the ability to Do everything on the BS-level student list, but for the still more sophisticated problems in the MS curriculum. In addition, the MS-level student should be able to: Set up problems combining several subfields of physics, e.g. mechanics and electricity & magnetism Teach problem organization and solving effectively to AS- and BS-level students Incorporate advanced mathematics (e.g., complex analysis, group theory) into problem solving etc. 5/29/2011NAFSA29

30 Learning Outcome Example Students shall demonstrate Ability to organize problems by identifying physical principles, identifying relevant vs. irrelevant quantities, and making appropriate diagrams 5/29/2011NAFSA30

31 Consultations Faculty consult stakeholders, which builds credibility with policymakers and the public and informs the faculty about concerns of employers, alumni, etc. Ultimately, faculty define the discipline; consultations do not dictate our programs but keep us grounded in the realities of our context 5/29/2011NAFSA31

32 Consultations (2) Teams surveyed stakeholders about general competencies –students –recent alumni –faculty –employers Surveyed other faculty in the disciplines about discipline competencies 5/29/2011NAFSA32

33 Consultations (3) Focus groups are superior to surveys Consultations are an important part of the process but present challenges of survey or focus group design, administration and analysis 5/29/2011NAFSA33

34 Example Survey Results General Competencies: Technical Employers Top Five Priorities (in descending order) –Able to work in a team –Oral and written communication –Able to identify, pose and resolve problems –Determination and perseverance in tasks and responsibilities –Able to plan and manage time Bottom Four Priorities –Shows awareness of equal opportunities and gender issues –Appreciation of and respect for ethnic, cultural and other diversity –Social responsibility and civic awareness –Commitment to environmental conservation 5/29/2011NAFSA34

35 Example Focus Group Results Top Skills Desired by History/Archives/Museums Employers Ability to research Good communication (written and oral) Critical thinking Ability to organize Passion for the subject Knowledge of the subject area 5/29/2011NAFSA35

36 Example from Focus Groups Traits Desired of New Employees Personality Qualifications Experience Training in specific areas Customer service skills Ability to manage a project 5/29/2011NAFSA36

37 Other Elements of Tuning Map employability –Alumni surveys –Professional organizations Draft degree profiles –Institution by institution – what are your particular strengths in bringing students to achieve the LOs 5/29/2011NAFSA37

38 Evaluation of Tuning Process Utah Tuners were generally enthusiastic about –How Tuning shifts the focus from inputs (lengths of a learning experience, type of institution, etc.) to what a person with a degree in the discipline actually understands and is able to do 5/29/2011NAFSA38

39 Evaluation of Tuning Process (2) Utah Tuners were also enthusiastic about –Added transparency –Clear system of accountability with assessment of LOs –Better match between educational programs and needs of labor market for knowledge, skills and other competencies 5/29/2011NAFSA39

40 What Does Tuning Add? Discussions about student learning across different institutions and sectors (to achieve appropriate consistency) Meaningful relationships among faculty members from various institutions and sectors, sharing experience and ideas 5/29/2011NAFSA40

41 What Does Tuning Add? (2) Makes implicit expectations explicit Increased attention to general competencies – in addition to the discipline-specific competencies that most professional organizations focus on 5/29/2011NAFSA41

42 What Does Tuning Add? (3) Led by faculty and a defense against accountability from above Involves employers/alumni/advisors as well as faculty/students in thinking about what degrees represent 5/29/2011NAFSA42

43 What Does Tuning Add? (4) Facilitates the transfer of credit and degrees Aligns expectations across sectors and institutions Allows validation of non-traditional learning 5/29/2011NAFSA43


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