|Vu, Tori (Author), Rigby, Brendon (Author), Mather, Glyn (Author), Wood, Leigh (Author), Thomas, Theda (Author), Dixon, Peter (Author), Daly, Ann (Author), Clark-Murphy, Marilyn (Author), Kavanagh, Marie (Author), Petocz, Peter (Author) and Levenson, Lynne (Author)
Universities are grappling with the most effective way to embed and assess graduate skills within business programs. Business graduates are expected to have the capacity to adapt to the shifting knowledge, changed circumstances, and sudden upheavals of the business environment. This project, initiated by the Australian Business Deans Council Teaching & Learning Network (ABDC T&L), is a practical response to these challenges and makes a valuable contribution to the graduate skills agenda.
We have developed accessible and practical teaching and learning resources focused on a subset of graduate skills, namely teamwork, critical thinking, ethical practice and sustainability. These materials were tested and refined with students and academics through multiple iterations, and can be used, adapted and embedded in an undergraduate business program in order to develop these graduate skills.
Our project has delivered concrete outcomes, including:
• Two comprehensive literature reviews identifying best practice in teaching, learning and assessing graduate skills in business education.
• A range of accessible and real world case studies, lesson plans, suggested teaching methods, and supplementary reading material.
• Standards of Achievement, providing a framework to measure attainment of the four chosen graduate skills, in addition to a rubric of generic standards that can be adapted for other skills and disciplines.
• Practical guides on how to use the Standards of Achievement to create learning outcomes and assessment rubrics.
• Development of the Graduate Skills website <www.graduateskills.edu.au> which houses all project resources.
• An effective workshop model which can be delivered to groups of students and/or academics to promote an understanding of how the case studies and Standards of Achievement may be used to embed, develop and assess graduate skills.
Through our multi-faceted dissemination activities, we have generated stronger and broader engagement with the benefits, challenges and methods of teaching and learning graduate skills in business education. In particular, by running state-wide workshops for students and academics and embedding learning modules and standards into existing units and programs, the project has stimulated relevant policy change and curriculum development activities at a unit level and, at some team institutions, at a program level. In particular, the use of the jigsaw method for stakeholder analysis in ethical practice and sustainability in business contexts will be implemented in business departments across Australia.
This project has identified and disseminated several current models of embedding graduate skills in business programs around Australia. We trialled and disseminated a new model – that of an intensive workshop – with positive outcomes for students and the professional development of academics around Australia. The workshop was also used to highlight the project’s key findings on effective embedding strategies and outlined the resources available on the Graduate Skills website.
Graduate Skills 2
Our team members benefited from the collaborative and peer learning aspects of the project, through completing tasks and reviewing each other's work in pairs as well as being exposed to a range of policy and practice specific to each partner institution. The project has international relevance through the Graduate Skills website and will continue to have impact as the team disseminates outcomes through further scholarly papers, presentations and production of materials. Ongoing collaboration with the ABDC T&L Network and enrichment of the Graduate Skills website will extend the learning and other outcomes of the project into the future.
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