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Graduate Attributes

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Section 1 - Purpose and Context

(1) Western Sydney University Graduate Attributes recognise that all university graduates, from any discipline or profession, require a broad set of generic skills for employment, life-long learning and making constructive contributions to society. The national Higher Education Standards require all providers of higher education to ensure that students who complete a course of study have attained key graduate attributes, and these attributes are reflected in University's curricula, the Academic Standards and Assessment Framework, and the Learning and Teaching Plan 2012-2014, which recognises the role of graduate attributes in "a curriculum characterised by innovation, engagement and excellence."

(2) As well as addressing a range of skills, literacies and the capacity to apply knowledge through intellectual inquiry in professional or applied contexts, the University Graduate Attributes recognise the importance of graduates being able to demonstrate knowledge of Indigenous Australia through cultural competency and professional capacity, and "bringing knowledge to life" through responsible engagement and appreciation of diversity in an evolving world.

(3) The continued development of the list of University Graduate Attributes is based on a number of guiding principles:

  1. The University is committed to ensuring that University students learn to learn and graduate with the capacity to participate actively and responsibly in a diverse and changing world.
  2. The University Graduate Attributes provide a broad framework, and are intended to be interpreted and defined more precisely in the context of each academic discipline or program and its course learning outcomes.
  3. The University Graduate Attributes emphasize attributes which can be taught and assessed, so that their gradual development can be measured and documented.
  4. The University Graduate Attributes include a set of "foundational literacies" which are essential for effective learning at University, and whose continuing development within academic programs and the broader University experience will equip graduates to be adaptable learners throughout their personal and professional lives.
  5. The University Graduate Attributes are a key component of the Course Design Standards domain of the University Academic Standards and Assessment Framework and will be aligned with the national Higher Education Standards Framework, including the Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF).
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Section 2 - Definitions

(4) Nil.

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Section 3 - Policy Statement

(5) The University will maintain a set of Graduate Attributes comprising a broad set of generic skills that are consistent with the national Higher Education Standards Framework and Western Sydney University's Mission, and that incorporate an Indigenous Graduate Attribute.

(6) University award courses and assessment tasks will ensure that graduates achieve a set of course learning outcomes that address the University Graduate Attributes, in addition to the requirements for the relevant academic discipline or profession, and any professional accreditation requirements. Refer to the University Graduate Attributes.

(7) The University Graduate Attributes will be woven into all academic programs, and course-specific (or discipline-specific) attributes of graduates will be aligned with them. The University's Course and Unit Approval Processes require curriculum documentation to show how this is done, both in mapping where particular attributes are reflected in course and unit design, and in relating how teaching and assessment processes make these explicit.

(8) Course learning outcomes will be developed progressively throughout a program of study, and will contribute to Graduate Attributes and AQF criteria at or above the appropriate AQF level.

(9) Graduate Attributes will apply for undergraduate and postgraduate coursework awards, and the balance between the levels of achievement in each Attribute will be guided by the AQF descriptors for the course type.

(10) The University's academic program review and assessment processes will be informed by Graduate Attributes outcomes, and the processes of gathering student feedback on their experience will invite them to consider how much their capabilities for lifelong learning have been developed.

(11) Academic support units in the Office of the Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Vice-President, Academic are available to provide expert advice and services to assist Schools in their development of Graduate Attributes initiatives in academic programs and support mechanisms for students.

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Section 4 - Procedures

(12) Nil.

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Section 5 - Guidelines

(13) Nil.