Graduate attributes are about to be policed by the Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency (TEQSA) in Australia. All universities proclaim them on their public web sites. The aim of this paper is to determine whether distinct patterns or clusters are apparent in the declared graduate attributes declared by Australian universities on their web sites.
Work by scholars in the field of graduate attribute building is discussed, with particular reference to the tension between disciplinarity and attribute building and the relative failure of techniques so far espoused to demonstrate student attainment of graduate attributes. Some promising approaches to the serious problems of building and demonstrating graduate attributes are captured, and some recommendations for addressing the urgent and serious issues confronting the sector are put forward.
Graduate attributes of each university are publicly available and these can be related to discussions of employer satisfaction and university value systems. An inspection of the top five attributes for each cluster of universities reveals significant cross cluster variation.
Content analysis of web sites is a crude instrument for gauging the real importance universities attach to their graduate attributes, even at the level of their discourse. Further research is needed on the isomorphism and decoupling going on with graduate attributes and employer expectations of universities.
There are grounds for hope that universities have not completely forgotten their role in society in favour of their competitive market gameplays.
This is the first paper to display graduate attributes as ranked by clusters of Australian universities and by the whole sector; it is the first paper to link the accreditation risk from TEQSA with the relative vacuity of GA embedding processes to date.
Donleavy, G. (2012), "Proclaimed graduate attributes of Australian universities: patterns, problems and prospects", Quality Assurance in Education, Vol. 20 No. 4, pp. 341-356. https://doi.org/10.1108/09684881211263984Download as .RIS
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