Creating a degree-focused pedagogical framework to guide Indigenous graduate attribute curriculum development

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Higher Education, 2019, 78 (1)
Issue Date:
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© 2018, Springer Nature B.V. Globally, rapid technological advancement is creating widespread concern about workforces of the future, and universities are expected to produce highly skilled graduates to meet the unremitting demands of knowledge economies. In this context, graduate attributes are a means for developing employability skills and an avenue for institutions to demonstrate to employers and potential graduates that the requisite skills will be developed during a degree. To meet these needs, graduate attributes tend to emphasise a range of generic abilities such as team work, communicating effectively, or critical thinking. While these soft skills are common in suites of graduate attributes, more recently, a next generation of attributes is emerging. The curriculum has now become a site for critical global issues such as sustainability. Also, globalisation is driving universities to foster graduates’ intercultural and international skills, reflecting a diversifying and internationalised workforce. In Australian universities, and those in other colonised nations such as Canada and New Zealand, there is a growing emphasis on ensuring that graduates engage with Indigenous content and develop the capacity to work effectively with and for Indigenous peoples to address inequities and promote social justice. Using a case example from an Australian university curriculum project, we describe a degree framework developed to guide the institution wide implementation of Indigenous graduate attributes. Although the case context is quite specific, the guiding principles have widespread relevance for embedding graduate attributes into university curricula.
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