Graduate-Level Learning Outcomes Adopted

May 28, 2013 - News Release

The University of Guelph has adopted University-wide learning outcomes for its graduate programs intended to demonstrate and account for student knowledge and achievement beyond traditional grades.

The five learning outcomes – critical and creative thinking, literacy, global understanding, communication, and professional and ethical behaviour – were approved by the University's Senate Monday night.

They mirror learning outcomes approved by the University Senate in December for the undergraduate curriculum. At the graduate level, outcomes will emphasize “intellectual independence” and “independence of thought” under critical and creative thinking and professional and ethical behaviour.

U of G is believed to be the first Canadian university with across-the-board learning benchmarks for all its degree programs and specializations at both the undergraduate and graduate levels.

“This places us at the forefront,” said president Alastair Summerlee. “It will have enormous impact.”

Maureen Mancuso, provost and vice-president (academic), said the learning outcomes will create a “culture of continuous improvement” at U of G.

“Our students will be able to demonstrate not just the acquisition of knowledge while at the University but also the critical thinking and comprehension skills and values that will help position them for continued success, including in a competitive labour market.”

The learning outcomes will be embedded into the curriculum and are intended to complement existing educational programs and offerings.

Departments will now work to determine how to assess and measure the outcomes across programs. They may adapt the outcomes to their particular discipline or may decide to elaborate on a specific outcome. Rubrics with each learning outcome will help in this process.

U of G has long been a leader in outcomes-based pedagogy, Mancuso said. In 1987, Guelph was one of the first universities to establish formal learning objectives. Numerous initiatives since then, including the 21st Century Curriculum Report and Integrated Plan, have expanded on that commitment to students.

For media questions, contact Communications and Public Affairs: Lori Bona Hunt, 519-824-4120, Ext. 53338, or; or Kevin Gonsalves, Ext. 56982, or

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