Enabling academic engagement with graduate attributes through communities of practice

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Research and Development in Higher Education Vol. 33 : Reshaping Higher Education

July, 2010, 654 pages
Published by
M. Devlin, J. Nagy and A. Lichtenberg
0 908557 80 9

The implementation and integration of graduate attributes into university courses and across degree programs has been a challenge for higher education institutions for over ten years. The importance of building graduate attributes has been endorsed by the federal government, employer stakeholders and professional accrediting bodies providing a strong imperative for ensuring that these attributes or ‘skills for the future’ are integrated into all degree programs. Through the lens of a regional university, this paper will explore the challenges associated with academic staff knowledge, understanding of, and ability to embed graduate attributes into courses and programs. It proposes the use of communities of practice as a strategy that could provide support to academic staff in the integration of graduate attributes within their respective disciplines. We believe that a supportive learning environment provided by a community of practice could assist in developing the understanding, knowledge and empowerment of academic staff.

Keywords: graduate attributes, communities of practice, academic engagement