U of G Adopts Campus-Wide Learning Outcomes

December 07, 2012 - News Release

The University of Guelph has adopted university-wide learning outcomes aimed at demonstrating and accounting 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.

U of G is believed to be one of the first Canadian universities to have such across-the-board learning benchmarks for all its degree programs and specializations.

“We’re creating a culture of continuous improvement,” said Maureen Mancuso, provost and vice-president (academic). “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.”

Serge Desmarais, associate vice-president (academic), who oversaw the design and development process, said the learning outcomes will be embedded into the curriculum and are intended to complement existing educational programs and offerings.

“The intent is to help our students understand what they have achieved in university and to speak confidently and with evidence of their accomplishments with prospective employers, in applications to graduate or professional schools, or in other endeavours,” he said.

As well, the outcomes will help satisfy calls for increased accountability in the post-secondary system in program quality and demonstrating the value of a university degree, he said.

With Senate approval, departments will now work to determine how to assess and measure the outcomes across programs. A set of rubrics accompany each learning outcome to assist in this process.

“It will provide a framework, a starting point from which to begin a robust discussion about what knowledge and skills we want students to achieve during completion of a major or degree program, and what values we expect they will carry with them,” Mancuso said.

U of G has long been a leader in outcomes-based pedagogy, Mancuso said. In 1987 it 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.

“Guelph is known for our dedication to enhancing the quality of the student learning experience through educational innovation and reform, and this builds on our reputation,” she said.

For media questions, contact Communications and Public Affairs: Lori Bona Hunt, 519-824-4120, Ext. 53338, or lhunt@uoguelph.ca; or Shiona Mackenzie, Ext. 56982, or shiona@uoguelph.ca.

University of Guelph
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Guelph, Ontario, N1G 2W1