“Tuning” is a process through which faculty members create shared understandings of the knowledge and transferable skills students in specific academic disciplines and professional fields must demonstrate upon completion of their degrees. The process helps to clarify to
students, parents, and policymakers what degree holders know, understand, and are able to do. In Tuning, faculty use learning outcomes as critical reference points to encourage diverse teaching methods and delivery models. By creating clear, transparent pathways to degree completion, Tuning facilitates retention, especially among students from underserved groups. Through consultation with students, recent graduates, other faculty, and employers about learning outcomes, Tuning better prepares graduates for citizenship and the workforce.
MHEC was awarded a $415,000, two-year grant from Lumina Foundation to engage college and university faculty in Illinois, Indiana, and Missouri to “tune” the academic disciplines of psychology and marketing. With the assistance of SHEEO agency representatives and other key stakeholders, two 15-person faculty workgroups were formed for the initiative—one for each of the disciplines. The “Tuning” workgroups were comprised of faculty from two-year public and four-year public and private non-profit institutions.
The MHEC Cross-State Tuning Project launched in early November 2011 with a convening of all project participants in Indianapolis. Faculty participants met monthly during the academic year and collaborated electronically between meetings. Another Lumina Foundation grantee—the Institute for Evidence-Based Change (IEBC)—provided technical and evaluation assistance to MHEC throughout the project. Outcomes from the Tuning workgroups were presented as part of a Tuning conference in late spring of 2013. For further information on Tuning projects throughout the United States, see http://www.tuningusa.org/About.aspx.