‘Tuning’ College Degrees (Inside Higher Education, April 08, 2009)
Tuning, a project aimed at determining what a degree in a given field represents in terms of learning and competency for students, is now being implemented in Indiana, Minnesota, and Utah with the aim of shifting the focus of a degree on learning objectives and skills rather than on college credits and completed courses. Proponents of tuning, which is borrowed from Europe’s Bologna Process, state that it will explicitly outline the value of a degree that makes it clearly comparable by and among students, employers, and academics; highlight an institution’s contribution to a degree; and serve as a catalyst in defining quality and excellence, while still giving institutions the flexibility and diversity to form curricula that best serve the membersof the institution. State study groups, which consist of faculty members and students, will determine the learning outcomes and competencies that will relate to the employability of graduates. Critics of tuning affirm that it will be difficult to implement this project without compromising the academic freedom that exists in American institutions of higher education, which can lead to a standardization of curricula.