For both the DQP and Tuning, the primary reference point is the student, not the institution. According to its authors, the DQP focuses on the degree—with faculty from different fields determining the disciplinary picture with field-based expectations of every student (Schneider, Gaston, Adelman, & Ewell, 2014). Thus, the DQP’s expected proficiencies align with the associate, baccalaureate, or master’s degree, regardless of field of specialization. Tuning allows faculty to set forth the disciplinary expectations for students pursuing a degree in a specific field. Within institutions and across institutions, faculty customize both approaches by focusing on action verbs, specifying at different educational attainment levels what students are expected to know and do. Yet, in each approach, what is developed is an outline, or a profile—as neither the DQP nor Tuning specifies what to teach or how to deliver the content within a given course or program. Instead, each requires more than completion of a course as a proxy for learning by asking for demonstrations of students’ progress toward agreed-upon knowledge and skills over the course of their educational journey (Ewell, 2013). Neither is about standardization but, rather, about establishing the quality and relevance of degrees as a whole and within various academic disciplines.
DQP and Tuning are both grounded in five broad principles consistent with their core assumption—that every student must attain faculty-vetted levels of proficiencies. We open this roadmap with a discussion of the principles that tie these initiatives together because, while they have different histories of involvement and introduction in higher education, they are necessarily coupled. Colleges and universities involved in DQP efforts have not necessarily been involved in a statewide or national Tuning effort, and yet in their DQP work these institutions necessarily have undertaken an approach like Tuning. While initially separate from DQP activities, Tuning necessarily has engaged faculty in broader conversations of degrees and where learning occurs beyond the discipline—outlining what is supportive and what different departments provide. Thus, institutions and faculty involved in either effort have worked through similar processes, engaging similar considerations and conversations. One cannot use the DQP without tuning and one cannot engage in Tuning without considering degrees. The shared principles of the DQP and Tuning provide this roadmap’s lens through which to view the connections between these approaches Their related processes and elements are outlined in the remainder of the roadmap. The principles shared by the DQP and Tuning are