“Tuning” college courses will help students set a course for graduation and transfer credits from community colleges to four-year institutions, writes Michelle Kalina, director of the Institute for Evidence-Based Change‘s Tuning USA initiative.
Faculty at colleges in Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Minnesota, Missouri, Texas, and Utah are working to clarify what students should “know, understand, and accomplish” in specific courses.
Through tuning . . . students know what it takes to stay on track toward graduation and how to make choices that will make them more employable-an increasingly important concern given the rising cost of college. Students and their families have a better sense of what can be done with a degree, and employers understand what they can expect from new graduates they hire.
Texas’ higher education system has tuned four engineering disciplines and will add two additional engineering fields, two science majors, mathematics, business and computer and information science.
Because two-thirds of high school graduates in Texas who pursue higher education start at one of the state’s community colleges, Texas also convened representatives from more than 50 institutions to improve the transfer process. Community-college students who want to pursue a baccalaureate degree in civil engineering receive detailed guidance on choosing courses and applying to transfer. Students are informed about the knowledge and skills they will acquire in each course and are provided information about career opportunities ranging from construction and aerospace to manufacturing and public works projects.
In Kentucky, two- and four-year public and private colleges are tuning programs in biology, business, elementary education, nursing and social work.
History is next. The Lumina Foundation will work with the American Historical Association to determine what students should learn in history courses and be able to do when they complete a degree.