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Graduate Statement and Graduate Attributes Guideline

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Section 1 - Purpose and Scope

(1) This Guideline supports the implementation and adoption of the Graduate Statement and Graduate Attributes Policy in guiding development and design of UQ Programs and related curricular, co-curricular, and extra-curricular experiences.

(2) This Guideline aims to provide connection between the Graduate Statement and Graduate Attributes Policy and the Program Design Policy; this Guideline should be read in conjunction with both of these policies and related procedures.

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Section 2 - Overview

Who is this Guideline for?

(3) This Guideline is to assist staff with the translation of the UQ Graduate Statement and Graduate Attributes into meaningful curriculum experiences for students. This Guideline is primarily for:

  1. Faculty and school leaders of teaching and learning, including, but not exclusively Associate Deans (Academic) and Directors of Teaching and Learning;
  2. Members of the teaching and learning committees and the program approval committees at school, faculty, and university level;
  3. Program Convenors and Course Coordinators who are involved in the interpretation and translation of the UQ Graduate Statement and Graduate Attributes into Program Graduate Statements and Learning Outcomes.

(4) The UQ Graduate Statement and Graduate Attributes should also inform the design and development of co-curricular and extra-curricular learning experiences. This Guideline may provide some guidance for these uses.

What are “Graduate Attributes”?

(5) Graduate attributes are high-level qualities, skills, and understanding that students should gain as a result of the learning and experiences they engage with while at UQ (Oliver & Jorre de St Jorre, 2018). These attributes distinguish the graduate from those without a degree. The attributes represent the added value a qualification from UQ provides that a graduate can share with future employers, professional and scholar communities, and the wider society.

Why does UQ have a “Graduate Statement” and “Graduate Attributes”?

(6) UQ has a Graduate Statement and Graduate Attributes to:

  1. Provide an orienting framework for curriculum and student experience, ensuring all UQ students are able to make an important contribution to society and their chosen field;
  2. Guide students, as agentic learners, in shaping their complex identities progressively across their learning;
  3. Enable graduates to articulate their capabilities, employability, and career readiness more easily to future employers and the wider community;
  4. Connect curricular, co-curricular and extra-curricular spaces of learning to guide a whole-of- student learning experience across the University;
  5. Support the University’s quality assurance and accreditation processes.

(7) The UQ Graduate Statement and Graduate Attributes are not achieved in a single course. Instead, the UQ Graduate is developed in an ongoing process across the entirety of a UQ student’s experience with the University.

What is the difference between the UQ Graduate Statement and the UQ Graduate Attributes?

(8) The UQ Graduate Statement is an overarching expression of who the UQ graduate is and what they will be able to do in the world. The UQ Graduate Statement provides a focal point for the desired learning and outcomes for all UQ students and should inform the development of context specific Program Graduate Statements. It can be used by itself as a short representation of the UQ graduate.

(9) The UQ Graduate Attributes are a more granular and comprehensive description of the UQ Graduate. The Attributes unpack key qualities and capabilities of the gradate, highlighting the ways in which each attribute will benefit the graduate and society.

How can we claim that all our students will achieve the UQ Graduate Statement and Attributes?

(10) Across the student lifecycle the University offers students a range of opportunities to develop Graduate Attributes, both within and beyond the classroom curriculum. Many of the elements of the Graduate Attributes are easily translated into courses and can be readily taught to an agreed level and assessed. Other elements, for example those which are more abstract and attitudinal, are not as straightforward to measure. They are, however, considered to be important outcomes of higher education and what differentiates university education.

(11) By offering students the opportunity to develop Graduate Attributes, the University is extending an invitation to students to fully engage with university life and learning. Well-understood graduate attributes that are lived through the student experience allow graduates to more easily articulate their capabilities to future employers and the wider community. Likewise, employers and the community are better able to understand the aims and intents of university education. Therefore, the university is not just providing opportunities for students to develop the identified attributes but also for graduates to be able to explain, evidence, and articulate their attainment.

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Section 3 - Understanding the Model

What is the model for?

(12) The UQ Graduate Statement and Graduate Attributes connect the values and wider strategic vision of the University to learning and the student experience. Operating in parallel with internal and external accreditation processes and requirements, such as the Australian Qualifications Framework and/or professional accrediting bodies, the UQ Graduate Statement and Attributes inform the design and development of a Program Graduate Statement and Program Learning Outcomes. By mapping and translating the UQ Graduate Statement and Attributes to the program-level, more meaningful and connected learning within a disciplinary context can evolve.

How does the model work?

(13) UQ Graduate Statement and Attributes:
These high-level sets of skills, abilities, and attitudes encapsulate the essential and distinctive qualities of a UQ graduate. They also reflect the UQ Values and Mission.

(14) Program Graduate Statement:
This statement interprets the UQ Graduate Statement in particular program and disciplinary contexts; it connects the broad qualities of the UQ graduate to discipline-specific expectations, skills and experiences. All elements of the UQ Graduate Statement should be included in some form within the Program Graduate Statement. Additional elements may be added which reflect the specific program context and requirements.

(15) Program Learning Outcomes:
These outcomes align to the UQ Graduate Attributes and are informed by the Program Graduate Statement. Program Learning Outcomes articulate the specific and contextually relevant learning that graduates of the program will achieve. Program Learning Outcomes should, wherever possible, incorporate all UQ Graduate Attributes alongside any discipline-specific learning requirements.

(16) Program and Course design:
Learning outcomes in courses within programs will reflect and contribute to the realisation of the Program Learning Outcomes. Most courses will only respond to one or two Program Learning Outcomes. The suite of core courses across a program, alongside intended co-curricular and extra-curricular learning experiences, will contribute to the full realisation of the Program Learning Outcomes and therefore the Program Graduate Statement.

Why have a Program Graduate Statement as well as a UQ Graduate Statement?

(17) While University-wide Graduate Attributes are an important statement of the UQ goals for students, University-wide attributes can appear to be removed from the experience of the student within a disciplinary context. Faculties expressed a strong desire for a tool that would help them align the language of the UQ Graduate Statement and Graduate Attributes with the approaches of their own disciplines. For example, a well-founded knowledge of their field of study is demonstrated differently by graduates from a Bachelor of Science and a Bachelor of Business Management. Likewise, professional codes of conduct, methods of communication, and research approaches vary from one discipline to another.

(18) Keeping these necessary differences in mind, the Graduate Statement and Graduate Attributes Policy empowers Faculty, School, and Program leaders, to interpret and translate the UQ Graduate Statement and Graduate Attributes to the particular context of a program. Program leadership teams may also elect to simply adopt the attributes as their program outcomes if they wish to do so.

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Section 4 - Using the UQ Graduate Statement and Graduate Attributes

Connecting UQ Values, Attributes and Learning Outcomes

(19) The Graduate Statement and Graduate Attributes Policy creates a model of design whereby the university-level graduate statement and graduate attributes will be translated into program-level graduate statements and learning outcomes, with course learning outcomes and assessment mapped appropriately within the program design. The Policy removes the requirement for Course Learning Outcomes to be mapped to UQ Graduate Attributes directly; instead, learning within courses will be mapped to Program Learning Outcomes.

(20) The following provides an example of how a UQ Value is represented in the UQ Graduate Statement and Graduate Attributes and translated to program and course level design. Asterisks identify the translated elements across the different levels of design.

UQ Value • Integrity
• Respect & Inclusivity
UQ Graduate Statement ‘...acting with *integrity, empathy,* creativity, and courage...’
UQ Graduate Attribute Respectful leaders:

Graduates will act with *knowledge and respect for ethics and ethical standards* within their professional and disciplinary fields as emerging leaders. They will have the *capability to be relational decision-makers* who work towards building a more sustainable society, economy, and environment.
Program Graduate Statement ...Graduates of the Bachelor of Science will develop high levels of personal initiative … Practical experiences will provide foundations for graduates *to develop ethical practices* across a range of diverse careers including climate change, biosecurity, feeding the global population, sustainable energy, disease eradication and the management of diminishing natural resources...
Program Learning Outcome Bachelor of Science graduates:
• Demonstrate understanding of *ethical challenges and practices in the conduct of scientific inquiry* and its connection to shaping our society.
Course Learning Outcome After successfully completing this course you should be able to:
• Describe and discuss some of the current key issues in science, including *relevant social and ethical issues.*
Evidence of achievement Assessment may include completion of a group-based presentation or philosophical essay *exploring current key ethical and social issues in science.*

A Stepped Approach to Implementation

Step One – Understanding the application of the UQ Graduate Statement 

(21) Faculty, School and Program leaders of teaching and learning leaders decide on how the UQ Graduate Statement can be reflected in student experiences and learning across their disciplines and programs. Consideration should be given to how programs differ from one another, whether there is a common language or approach across a School or Faculty, and the types of experiences, skills and attributes expected of graduates within these programs.

Step Two – Faculty, School and/or Program team interprets the UQ Graduate Statement and UQ Graduate Attributes to create a Program Graduate Statement

(22) To interpret, and translate, the UQ Graduate Statement and UQ Graduate Attributes into a Program Graduate Statement, Program Convenors may need to be supported with time, expertise, resources, and connection across teaching teams. Discussions around the Program Graduate Statement should form part of the process of program design (for new programs) and review (for existing programs), with the statement to be included in approval documentation.

(23) Useful considerations may include:

  1. A Program Graduate Statement should be aspirational and inclusive of all students. It would be beneficial to reflect on the principles that underpin the UQ Graduate Statement and consider how these apply in a discipline’s context.
  2. Whilst the Program Graduate Statement should prioritise the learning experience of students, it may also present as a useful statement for external audiences (e.g. future students, employers); as such it may be valuable to include marketing and communication teams in shaping language.
  3. Student learning occurs within and beyond classroom curriculum, therefore there is value in incorporating the total student experience in shaping the Program Graduate Statement.

Step Three – Creating Program Learning Outcomes

(24) Historically, UQ Graduate Attributes have been mapped to course learning objectives. The revised Policy requires integration of the UQ Graduate Attributes into the Program Graduate Statement, from which Program Learning Outcomes are created. Some background on writing program learning outcomes can be found at:

  1. ITaLI (The University of Queensland): Learning Outcomes resource
  2. Centre for Studies in Higher Education (University of Melbourne): Writing Learning Outcomes
  3. Office of the Provost (Boston University): Writing Learning Outcomes

(25) The following table provides some guidance for the type of learning and experiences associated with the listed UQ Graduate Attributes, which may inform the development of program learning outcomes and experiences within programs; noting that these are indicative and not exhaustive.

Graduate Attribute Supporting graduates who: Experiences through curriculum that supports and enables:
Accomplished scholars • Are knowledgeable in their field
• Can engage in different traditions of thought
• Apply their knowledge in multidisciplinary and global settings
• Advancing knowledge through scholarship and research
• Using knowledge responsibly and critically to reach informed and sound conclusions
• Interprofessional and multidisciplinary dialogue and engagement
Courageous thinkers • Are able to question, analyse, interpret and evaluate
• Can test new and innovative ideas, understandings, approaches, and opinions
• Identification of problems
• Healthy consideration and debate of meaningful issues
• Creative thinking to find novel solutions and measure the impact
• Resilience and flexibility through real world engagement
Connected citizens • Are responsible, independent, outward-looking
• Understand their communities
• Are active, constructive, participants in society
• Learning to recognise and capitalise on the strengths and talents of self and others
• Development of emotional intelligence and respect for diversity
• Opportunities for responsible participation in civic life and appropriate advocacy
• Opportunities to engage in self-reflection about an individual’s impact within wider groups
Culturally capable • Have understanding of, and respect for, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples
• Demonstrate appreciation of cultural and societal diversity
• Promotion of knowledge of history, people, language, stories, traditions, and diversity of Indigenous communities
• Application of strengths-based and critical approaches to Indigenous matters
• Use of relevant community protocols in professional and workplace contexts
• Acting in culturally sensitive ways when working with diverse communities and groups
Influential communicators • Can communicate effectively with a variety of audiences
• Can skilfully use information to engage in discussions
• Can work collaboratively, making positive and meaningful contributions
• Communication of knowledge, skills, and ideas respectfully and effectively to a range of audiences, in different professional contexts, by written, oral, and digital means
• Development of information skills with an ability to search, locate, interpret, and synthesise a range of scholarly literature and research
• Effective engagement in diverse groups and teams working towards shared goals
Respectful leaders • Demonstrate knowledge and respect for ethics and ethical standards
• Lead self and others
• Are relational decision-makers
• Practice of academic honesty and integrity through academic work
• Applications of the ethical standards of their disciplines, fields, and professions
• Engagement with relationality that acknowledges situational ontologies through exploring interests, expectations, and preferences
• Leading self and others through reflective and critical practices

Step Four – Mapping of courses to Program Learning Outcomes

(26) Students’ experiences across the full suite of courses offered in a program should enable them to demonstrate and experience all or most elements of the UQ Graduate Attributes, as expressed through the Program Learning Outcomes. The collection of courses across a program (usually focused on core courses) will contribute to the realisation of Program Learning Outcomes. Single courses may focus on one or two Program Learning Outcomes, enabling meaningful engagement with how these outcomes are taught, experienced, and enacted through learning in the course.

(27) The experience of students extends beyond the classroom; it may incorporate work- and community-related activities, co-curricular, and extra-curricular learning. Mapping of learning across a program does not include these experiences and there is no expectation that Schools and programs will monitor student participation in these activities. These experiences are, however, available to students as they work towards developing the larger UQ Graduate Attributes. Course and Program Coordinators may wish to encourage students to engage with particular activities as a way to enhance their learning and development.

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Section 5 - Resources and Support

(28) Program Convenors are encouraged to connect with the Institute for Teaching and Learning Innovation (ITaLI) and their Faculty and/or School-based Learning Managers and Learning Designers for assistance with program design, related professional learning activities, and evaluation.

(29) The following websites and resources provide further guidance for staff in the planning and design of curriculum, co-curricular and extra-curricular learning experiences.

  1. Higher Education Learning Framework 
    The framework has been developed through a Science of Learning lens that threads together the often-disparate thinking in education, neuroscience and psychology to offer a convergent framework on effective learning in higher education that can broadly guide the sector.
  2. Curriculum Design and Review 
    This site connects to the Curriculum Making and Transforming Curriculum sections of the ITaLI website, and provides access to processes involved in designing curriculum and developing generic abilities across the curriculum.
  3. Employability Framework 
    This site provides guidance on UQ’s approach to student employability development based on experiential learning, co-curricular, and extra-curricular experiences.
  4. Program Design Policy 
    This Policy sets out the principles and requirements that inform the structure and design of all undergraduate and postgraduate coursework programs leading to the conferral of a UQ higher education award.
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Section 6 - Key References and Research

(30) The following are a few identified research publications which may guide the planning and decision-making of leaders in translating and applying the Graduate Statement and Graduate Attributes Policy.

  1. Barrie, S. C. (2012). A research-based approach to generic graduate attributes policy. Higher Education Research & Development, 31(1), 79-92.
  2. Daniels, J., & Brooker, J. (2014). Student identity development in higher education: implications for graduate attributes and work-readiness. Educational Research, 56(1), 65-76.
  3. Mahon, D. (2022). The role of graduate attributes in higher education. A review of the issues associated with graduate attributes and the case for their measurement. Interchange.
  4. Maxwell, R., & Armellini, A. (2019). Identity, employability and entrepreneurship: the CHANGE framework of graduate attributes. Higher Education, Skills and Work-Based Learning, 9(1), 76-91.
  5. Normand, C., & Anderson, L. (2017). Graduate attributes in higher education: attitudes on attributes from across the disciplines. Routledge.
  6. Oliver, B., & Jorre de St Jorre, T. (2018). Graduate attributes for 2020 and beyond: recommendations for Australian higher education providers. Higher Education Research & Development, 37(4), 821-836.
  7. Wong, B., Chiu, Y.-L. T., Copsey-Blake, M., & Nikolopoulou, M. (2022). A mapping of graduate attributes: what can we expect from UK university students? Higher Education Research & Development, 41(4), 1340-1355.