Transparent Pathways, Clear Outcomes: Using Disciplinary Tuning to Improve Teaching, Learning, and Student Success
Attention to the value of higher education degrees—including their connection to workforce demands—has increased over the last decade (Association of American Colleges and Universities, 2010; Gaston, 2010). In response to the call by government leaders to increase the number of US citizens completing college degrees, many foundations, non-profits, and institutions are promoting new initiatives to ensure that the increased productivity of colleges and universities is linked to quality. One of the most innovative and promising initiatives in this regard is Tuning. This report explains how tuning is a faculty-driven process intended to articulate what a student should know and be able to do in a given discipline at the point of degree completion. The process involves consultation with various higher education stakeholders in creating a framework that establishes clear learning expectations for students at each degree level. A key goal of Tuning is to improve the alignment of students’ mastery of agreed-upon learning objectives for specific degrees and the relevance of said learning objectives to the workplace—that is, how outcomes match entrance needs in the field.