Institute of Teaching and Learning

Professional Development for Teaching and Learning

Developing graduate attributes

Interpreting Deakin's graduate attributes

Prior to the current formulation of Deakin's graduate attributes, there existed a set of guidelines for developing the attributes of a Deakin graduate (Deakin University, 2000). While these guidelines no longer hold any official status, the information that they contained has not been diminished by the re-formulation of Deakin's graduate attributes. The guidelines presented a range of 'exemplary characteristics' that elaborated the meaning of each attribute and provided some examples of qualities that are likely to constitute 'evidence' of a graduate attribute. In the absence of easy access to these guidelines, the essential information is reproduced here (with due acknowledgement to the original authors), structured around the attribute categories used in the current presentation of Deakin's graduate attributes.

Understanding of, and the ability to work with, a systematic body of knowledge, appropriate to the focus and level of the qualification based on the highest standards of scholarship and research

  • Demonstrate up-to-date, systematic and coherent knowledge of a field of study.
  • Understand how knowledge is dynamically produced in the field of study and have a working knowledge of its characteristic methods of inquiry.
  • Be aware of the central debates within the field of study and recognise the historical contingency and transient nature of the knowledge base.
  • Demonstrate applications of theory to practice in real or simulated situations.

Understanding of the professional, social, economic and cultural contexts of the discipline and related fields

  • Demonstrate an active interest in the field and a critical understanding of the questions, problems and issues facing practitioners in its current and emerging professional and social contexts.
  • Be able to work within specific constraints (policy constraints, government guidelines, and organisational realities), as well as being able to critique them.
  • Demonstrate knowledge of relevant policies, systems and processes and the capacity to think strategically about the field.
  • Understand the importance, use and application of personal, social, professional and commercial skills required to practice effectively in the field.
  • Begin to participate in and, if appropriate, use personal and professional networks and associations.
  • Recognise the social justice issues, ethical practices and legal considerations pertinent to the field of study.

Awareness of ethical issues, social responsibility and cultural diversity

  • Demonstrate awareness and understanding of their own personal value systems.
  • Appreciate aspects of their own culture's forms of expression, and be responsive to the differences manifest in other forms of cultural expression.
  • Understand the concept of ethics and ethical practices and apply the ethical requirements of their professional field.
  • Appreciate the ethical and legal imperatives of citizenship, ethical practice and social responsibility.
  • Appreciate and value difference (physical, gender, class, cultural, etc.).
  • Demonstrate awareness of and commitment to ethical practice and social responsibility in student life (eg equity, cultural sensitivity, copyright and plagiarism).

Awareness of environmental sustainability issues and the contribution of the field of study to address such issues

  • Understand the interdependence of humans and environments, and the significance of the social, cultural, economic and ecological determinants of sustainable development.
  • Articulate personal and collective responsibilities for sustaining environments and communities.
  • Recognise the relevance of sustainability to their field of study.
  • Understand the need for interdisciplinary approaches to the resolution of complex problems of sustainability.

Understanding and appreciation of international perspectives in a global environment.

  • Understand the processes of internationalisation and globalisation and the distinctions that can be made between these processes.
  • Demonstrate an understanding of cultural difference and intercultural communication and of the values and attitudes that foster positive interculturalism and internationalisation.
  • Demonstrate awareness and understanding of international and intercultural perspectives as they relate to the field of study.
  • Communicate and work effectively with people from different cultures within Australia and the world.

Critical analysis, problem solving, and creative thinking

  • Be open to new ideas and changing contexts, and be willing and able to update approaches.
  • Demonstrate problem solving capabilities and skills and a working knowledge of a variety of problem-solving techniques (including lateral thinking, analysis, synthesis).
  • Have the ability and confidence to bring a variety of skills to an issue or situation, and to consider alternative ways of working with individual people and situations.
  • Demonstrate the capacity for critical and reflective thinking in intellectual and practical activity, and draw upon a range of frameworks.

Identifying, gathering, evaluating and using information

  • Demonstrate information literacy skills including the ability to: identify the types and sources of information required to address a problem; find and retrieve information; use the information effectively and appropriately; and critically evaluate information resources.
  • Interpret and solve problems appropriate for a beginning professional within the discipline.
  • Demonstrate knowledge of typical problems met at initial levels of practice.
  • Read, interpret, synthesise, evaluate and communicate using the vocabularies, modes, genres, symbols and terms used within the field of study.
  • Use current technologies appropriate to entry level work in the field.

Communicating effectively and appropriately in a range of contexts

  • Communicate effectively in all domains (reading, writing, speaking, listening).
  • Demonstrate a breadth of vocabulary skills and genres suitable for a variety of audiences and occasions.
  • Read, analyse, synthesise and apply relevant literature in developing their ideas, and communicate these in an appropriate and professional manner.
  • Show confidence and competence in using a variety of appropriate communication technologies in various presentation contexts.
  • Be able to construct an argument, supported by appropriate evidence and reasoning, and to present it coherently.
  • Be able to speak confidently and effectively in a group situation.

Developing, planning and managing independent work

  • Demonstrate awareness of the realities of contemporary career paths and the skills to develop personal opportunities.
  • Demonstrate the ability to inspire, guide and encourage self-reliance in individuals and groups.
  • Use effective management skills including management of time, human resources, physical assets, information and relevant financial systems.
  • Demonstrate the capacity for self-directed activity.
  • Demonstrate the ability to function effectively in changing environments.
  • Demonstrate skills in negotiation and liaison.
  • Show initiative in recognising and applying personal skills in the workplace to establish a niche of expertise.

Working effectively as part of a team

  • Understand and have experience with cooperative group processes.
  • Be able to acknowledge more than one perspective and value varied contributions.
  • Be able to participate in networks and work in teams on a local, national and international basis where appropriate.
  • Be sensitive to the subtleties of interpersonal communication (eg verbal and non-verbal communication in various cultural and multicultural contexts).
  • Recognise, value and capitalise on the strengths of other people in interactive situations.
  • Manage conflict sensitively and effectively.

Effectively using information and communication technologies

  • Demonstrate the knowledge, operational skills and attitudes that underpin the efficient and appropriate use of communication and information technology in a variety of everyday and professional contexts.
  • Be willing and able to use appropriate online tools and techniques for communication and to find, manage and disseminate information.

Applying knowledge learned in the program to new situations

  • Have the confidence to keep growing as experts in the field and to explore it further.
  • Recognise that learning is dynamic and that one needs to maintain professional reading, to keep developing knowledge and to update approaches.
  • Take personal responsibility for improving skills and developing new skills.
  • Recognise the need to continually develop and expand personal and professional knowledge bases to create new opportunities.
  • Demonstrate an awareness of their personal learning style, recognition of what constitutes good learning and the ability to develop a learning agenda.
  • Actively seek new learning opportunities.

Activity icon Activity

Using the list provided above, and/or your own experience, develop a list of 'exemplary characteristics' that could demonstrate attainment of each of Deakin's graduate attributes in the context of the program(s) that you contribute to.

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6th December 2010