What is the value and purpose?
The DQP and Tuning are intended to help faculty and others systematically take stock of the means and ends of their students’ learning experiences, as students acquire what are considered to be necessary proficiencies throughout their studies. Their flexibility makes them suitable for use in any number of ways and for the variety of needs that particular institutional and organizational contexts might demand. Moreover, applying the DQP and Tuning to particular campus needs and questions can induce synergy that advances work underway and ameliorate the so-called “initiative fatigue” that can discourage faculty and impede progress (Kuh & Hutchings, forthcoming).
How the DQP and Tuning are introduced and framed depends on the particular needs of the institution and goals for the work within a given organizational context. Often, the DQP and Tuning are used to address ongoing concerns or as tools for advancing existing projects. For example, the University System of Georgia had already begun work on developing a core curriculum and strengthening completion through transfer. The DQP and Tuning were helpful in addressing those priorities and provided the campuses with resources and strategies for advancing those goals. Georgia State University (GSU) and Georgia Perimeter College (GPC) collaborated to test the extent to which the DQP and Tuning could help strengthen degree outcomes, assess students attainment of the learning outcomes in various majors, and facilitate transfer from GPC to GSU as part of a system-wide effort to construct a revised core curriculum and improve completion rates by focusing on transfer students (Kinzie, 2014).
In other cases, the DQP and Tuning can prompt new work or next-step activities to follow up previous efforts. For example, Point Loma Nazarene University (PLNU) took up the DQP to strengthen assessment of general education (Hutchings, 2014a). Having already developed strong student learning assessment systems, PLNU found that the DQP could help in reducing the segregation of general education and majors and developing an integrative experience for students. The result was the development of senior capstone courses that provided an integrative component to PLNU’s already strong assessment efforts.
At Kansas City Kansas Community College (KCKCC), Dean of Institutional Services Sangki Min noted in the case study on the work at KCKCC (Hutchings, 2014b), assessment activities on the campus were “dragging.” The campus used the DQP to refine learning outcomes and assess them in ways drawing directly on classroom work. In this case, the DQP stimulated discussion and exploration of how learning outcomes assessment might be reinvigorated. Those efforts attended to reaccreditation while yielding a home-grown data management system to support authentic assessment of learning.
While campus context matters, it is important that DQP and Tuning efforts focus on strengthening student learning and success, whether they be driven by improving assessment of learning, defining outcomes, improving transfer, or integrating general education and majors. Within that framework, members of the campus community or organization will likely benefit from having an opportunity to review or discuss the DQP and Tuning, the assumptions that undergird them, and their potential impact on the particular needs identified by campus leaders for their use. Institutions have used various strategies for doing this. For instance, KCKCC oriented faculty to the DQP by asking them to bring course syllabi, the outcomes on which they mapped to general education outcomes that drew on the DQP.