Min­i­mum learn­ing out­comes in place for eco­nom­ics grad­u­ates

New aca­demic stan­dards for de­grees in eco­nom­ics have been en­dorsed by the Aus­tralian Busi­ness Deans Coun­cil, es­tab­lish­ing min­i­mum learn­ing out­comes for grad­u­ates of eco­nom­ics pro­grams in Aus­tralia.

Business First - - EDUCATION -

It is im­por­tant to en­sure our stu­dents are grad­u­at­ing with a qual­i­fied stan­dard of skills.”

The learn­ing stan­dards pro­vide bench­marks that in­sti­tu­tions can use in eval­u­at­ing ex­ist­ing pro­grams and de­vel­op­ing new pro­grams. They have been de­vel­oped by a work­ing party of aca­demic econ­o­mists, chaired by Grif­fith Univer­sity Pro­fes­sor of Eco­nom­ics Ross Guest, un­der the aus­pices of a Fel­low­ship with the Aus­tralian Govern­ment Of­fice of Learn­ing and Teach­ing.

The work­ing party con­sulted ex­ten­sively and ro­bustly with aca­demics, pro­fes­sion­als and in­dus­try lead­ers. It was ad­vised by an ex­pert ad­vi­sory group chaired by Pro­fes­sor Al­lan Lay­ton, Univer­sity of South­ern Queens­land and Aus­tralian Busi­ness Deans Coun­cil.

The col­lab­o­ra­tive process also had the sup­port of the Eco­nom­ics So­ci­ety of Aus­tralia and the Aus­tralian Govern­ment Of­fice for Learn­ing and Teach­ing which pro­vided the bulk of the fund­ing.

“This is the cul­mi­na­tion of a 12-month pe­riod of con­sul­ta­tion with the eco­nom­ics com­mu­nity,” Pro­fes­sor Guest said. “We now have a very use­ful and very im­por­tant re­source for the pur­poses of bench­mark­ing in­tended learn­ing out­comes in ex­ist­ing eco­nom­ics pro­grams.

“It also sets a stan­dard for aca­demics de­sign­ing any new eco­nom­ics pro­grams.”

Pro­fes­sor Lay­ton said the stan­dards would give em­ploy­ers and in­dus­try groups a clear un­der­stand­ing of the learn­ing out­comes they could ex­pect from grad­u­ates with Aus­tralian eco­nom­ics de­grees.

Pro­fes­sor Michael Pow­ell, ABDC pres­i­dent and Pro Vice Chan­cel­lor (Busi­ness), Grif­fith Univer­sity, high­lighted the key lead­er­ship role taken by the ABDC in the aca­demic stan­dards agenda.

“The ter­tiary com­mu­nity should take note of a sub­stan­tial piece of work which meets the ex­pec­ta­tions of the Ter­tiary Ed­u­ca­tion Qual­ity and Stan­dards Agency (TEQSA).”

TEQSA eval­u­ates the per­for­mance of higher ed­u­ca­tion providers against stan­dards in­clud­ing provider stan­dards, qual­i­fi­ca­tions, teach­ing and learn­ing, in­for­ma­tion and re­search.

The new aca­demic stan­dards will re­quire that de­gree pro­grams demon­strate they meet the spec­i­fi­ca­tions of the Aus­tralian Qual­i­fi­ca­tions Frame­work.

The pub­li­ca­tion of the stan­dards has also been wel­comed by Pro­fes­sor John Slo­man, au­thor of the ac­claimed in­ter­na­tional text­book Eco­nom­ics.

“It will make a ma­jor con­tri­bu­tion to im­prov­ing the qual­ity and con­sis­tency of stu­dent learn­ing in eco­nom­ics through­out Aus­tralian higher ed­u­ca­tion,” he said.

More than a third of Aus­tralia’s higher ed­u­ca­tion stu­dents grad­u­ate with a busi­ness de­gree. Labour mar­ket de­mand for qual­i­fied econ­o­mists is pro­jected to al­most dou­ble in the pe­riod to 2017.

“It is im­por­tant to en­sure our stu­dents are grad­u­at­ing with a qual­i­fied stan­dard of skills,” As­so­ciate Pro­fes­sor Mark Free­man, ABDC scholar, said. “Eco­nom­ics is the third busi­ness dis­ci­pline af­ter ac­count­ing and mar­ket­ing to de­velop learn­ing stan­dards. It is cru­cial that the ABDC pro­vide lead­er­ship in this area at this time.”

Pro­fes­sor John Slo­man, au­thor of the ac­claimed in­ter­na­tional text­book Eco­nom­ics, said the learn­ing stan­dards have drawn on best prac­tice from other coun­tries, as well as from Aus­tralia.

“They can be used to iden­tify the skills and knowl­edge of stu­dents suc­cess­fully com­plet­ing eco­nom­ics pro­grams.”

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