Graduate Qualities and Graduate Attributes have been identified by most Australian Universities to characterise their graduates. Flinders University has adopted seven Graduate Qualities. Flinders University aims to produce graduates of bachelor degrees who:

  • are knowledgeable
  • can apply their knowledge
  • communicate effectively
  • can work independently
  • are collaborative
  • value ethical behaviour and
  • connect across boundaries.

A series of case studies which address how the Graduate Qualities have been embedded into programs across the faculties at Flinders University provide examples of various possibilities staff may wish to consider for their programs.

If you have a case study you would like to contribute please contact the Centre for Innovation in Learning and Teaching.

Graduate qualities are important for a number of reasons.

  • They are linked to learning and pedagogy in a number of ways. Graduate Qualities:
    • relate to lifelong learning
    • provide opportunities to develop specific skills (team work, problem solving, critical thinking) and
    • support experiential and authentic learning (e.g. Work-Integrated Learning).
  • They may also influence how the University is perceived and marketed. Students rate the University in relation to their acquisition of generic skills and graduate qualities via Course Experience Questionnaire (CEQ) data. Graduate Qualities can therefore be linked to both accountability and to employment outcomes.

Supporting the implementation of introducing and embedding Graduate Qualities as an integral component of a student's experience ensures:

  • consistency of interpretation across faculties;
  • complementary which avoids duplication of effort and confusion for staff & students; and
  • connection to other University policies (e.g. WIL, assessment etc.).

Developing a process where implementation across faculties is supported will also

  • help to avoid confusion, particularly where students are studying across faculties as it ensures that they are receiving a consistent message from all staff.
  • enable examples of good practice to be identified and shared which will help support those areas that need support in developing direction or in seeing what is possible.
  • ensure that all staff are not "reinventing the wheel".

Supporting implementation across faculties is also useful as a way of keeping track of developments, successes and problems as they occur.

Recommended processes

The Academic Development Team has conducted research into the way that Graduate Qualities have been implemented at other universities and is aware of national projects that relate to their implementation. As a result of this research they have identified the following processes that they recommend when implementing Graduate Qualities.

  1. Identify how Graduate Qualities fit into the discipline specific context 
  2. Identify where inclusion of Graduate Qualities is appropriate across a course
  3. Write Graduate Qualities into topic documentation
  4. Ensure Graduate Qualities are included as part of assessment
  5. Ensure teaching of Graduate Qualities is explicit so students are aware which Graduate Qualities they are being taught and assessed on
  6. Monitor CEQ and Student Evaluation of Teaching (SET) data to determine the effectiveness of your approach.

A series of Case Studies have been developed by staff at Flinders University to help exemplify how Graduate Qualities may be implemented into the curriculum.

There are two Australian Learning and Teaching Council projects linked to developing Graduate Attributes (or Graduate Qualities). The B Factor Project and The GAP project.