The Roadmap compiles case studies of successful integration of graduate attributes in the curriculum. They are examples of good practice which provide practical advice to any staff interested in incorporating similar activities into their teaching.
How to use these case studies
The case studies below showcase good practice in embedding GAs in the curriculum. They are divided into three categories:
- Raising general awareness through reflection
- Developing employability skills
- Subject-specific work-related learning
Each case study follows the same format featuring a summary of key features, a brief analysis of the rationale, implementation and evaluation of the teaching intervention. Recommendations are provided as to how the activity can be expanded or transferred to other contexts and, if applicable, links to resources, handouts and supporting literature are included.
Raising general awareness through reflection
- Succeeding in Second Year by Dr Maxine Swingler
Second year STEM students reflect on their graduate attributes and their goals for the year ahead.
- Graduate Attributes Reflections by Dr Heather Cleland-Woods
We asked our level 2 psychology students to reflect on their graduate attributes in class.
- Reflective Class Exercises by Dr Matthew Barr
- Personal Development Plan by Dr Lesley Nicolson
- Mapping, Reflection and personal development plans by Dr Amanda Britten
We used a student selected component in Forensic Toxicology to raise awareness of graduate attributes via mapping activities, reflection and PDPs.
- Graduate Attribute Infographics: Embedding graduate attributes in the psychology curriculum by Dr Steven McNair
To increase awareness of GAs, we mapped the School of Psychology and Neuroscience curriculum onto GAs in a series of infographics.
Development of employability skills
- Planning for the Profession by Dr Dickon Copsey
Helping students to develop self-awareness, start to understand the opportunities that are available to them and how to research these, how to make career decisions and how to promote themselves and network effectively.
- Employability Accelerator Programme by Stephen Shilton
- Student-Peer Mock Interviewing by Dr Archie Roy
This intervention sought to enable Psychology students to communicate evidence of their graduate attributes in a real-world scenario. Read more...
- CV Writing in the Language Classroom by Dr Eamon McCarthy
- Employability Skills in a Foreign Language by Katrin Uhlig
- Alumni Speed Networking by Sarah Armour
Subject-specific work-related learning
- Co-assessment of Oral Presentations by Dr Susan Deeley
- European Human Rights Project by Prof Jim Murdoch
Self-taught, group-based and peer-assessed course with focus on specific graduate attributes.
- Writing and Presenting Mathematics by Dr Christian Voigt
This course introduces students to the typesetting software LaTeX and the programme Mathematica, which in turn prepares them for final year projects and future work.
- Embedding Graduate Attributes within Placement Courses by Dr Bethan Wood
Students select some of the graduate attributes from the matrix to create personal learning goals to accomplish while on placement.
- Volunteering and work reflection to facilitate students’ career planning by Dr Maxine Swingler
We supported psychology students’ to reflect on their experiences in part-time and voluntary work and link these to their career goals.
Graduate Attributes Background
Graduate Attributes constitute ‘a set of achievements – skills, understandings and personal attributes – that make graduates more likely to gain employment and be successful in their chosen occupations, which benefits themselves, the workforce, the community and the economy’ (Yorke, 2006, p. 8). They also entail being prepared to engage in a continuous process of professional and personal career development as well as developing the ability to apply critical thinking and evaluation when practising the skills not just within the workplace but ‘throughout and across the lifespan’ (Reddy et al, 2013).
Graduate Attributes at University of Glasgow
The University of Glasgow Graduate Attributes Spotlight & Student Engagement Strategy developed activities which positioned GAs as a central narrative of the student experience. A consultative process produced comprehensive GAs matrix, which provides staff with a framework for teaching and assessing transferable skills, and a model for students to benchmark their own skills against. The skills are outlined into 10 specific ‘attributes’ and further sub-categorised into three ‘dimensions’. The GAs student engagement strategy created localised opportunities for students to engage with GAs through embedding of graduate attributes & employability within the curriculum.
The GAs matrix features on the student-facing webpages, as well as the Careers Service & SRC webpages, and resources have been developed to increase awareness of GAs, signpost co-curricular opportunities, and use the voice of alumni and employers to reinforce the importance of GAs.
GAs Spotlight articles from UoG (by Jamie Wightwick)
About the Roadmap Project
Despite increased opportunities, levels of awareness and engagement with GAs at undergraduatelevel are often low (Morris, Cranney, Jeong & Mellish, 2013), and mapping and measurement of progress in GAS can be problematic (Oliver, 2013). From a staff perspective, it is challenging to strike the balance between the narrow focus on skills and the wider approach that accounts for values, intellectual rigour and engagement (Yorke, 2006; Reddy et al, 2013), and teaching innovations around GAs often localised and discipline specific.
To address the issue of student engagement, an interdisciplinary team designed, implemented and evaluated a number of interventions with pre-honours students, as part of a 2-year LTDF project entitled: Graduate Attributes Project application. One of the aims of the project was to pool the localised examples of good practice in in form of a database of case studies as a source of information, inspiration and practical guidance for staff interested in embedding GAs in their course.
Dr Swingler (project lead) introduces the GAs Roadmap project and teaching interventions.
Swingler, M. (2019) Where am I now and where do I want to be? A roadmap for Graduate Attributes. Learning and Teaching Development Fund - Project Report. University of Glasgow.
Rolinska, A., Swingler, M., Cleland Woods, H. and Barr, M. (2018) Employability Across Disciplines: a Roadmap for Staff. 15th Enhancement Themes Conference: Evaluation, Evidence & Enhancement: Inspiring Staff & Students, Glasgow, UK, 7 Jun 2018.
Swingler, M., Hendry, G., Rolinska, A., Cleland Woods, H. and Bohan, J. (2018) Cookie Cutting or Gaining a Broader Perspective? Embedding Graduate Attributes in the Curriculum. BPS DART-P Conference, Birmingham, UK, 06-07 Jun 2018.
Swingler, M., Roy, A., Rolinska, A., Armour, S., Hendry, G., Kirby, S., Woods, H. and Bohan, J. (2018) Enhancing Employability Through a Multi-disciplinary Approach to Graduate Attributes: Embedding Engagement and Developing Self Efficacy in Pre-honours Undergraduates. 11th Annual University of Glasgow Learning and Teaching Conference, Glasgow, UK, 28-29 Mar 2018.
Swingler, M., Bohan, J., Hendry, G., Curry, G. and Puligundla, R. (2017) Enhancing Employability Through a Multi-Disciplinary Approach to Graduate Attributes: Embedding Engagement and Developing Self-Efficacy in Pre-Honours Undergraduates. Horizons in STEM Higher Education Conference: Making Connections and Sharing Pedagogy, Edinburgh, Scotland, 29-30 Jun 2017.
Swingler, M. V., Armour, S., Bohan, J., Cleland Woods, H., Curry, G. B. and Roy, A. W.N. (2016) Where am I now and where do I want to be? Developing awareness of graduate attributes in pre-honours students. New Directions in the Teaching of Physical Sciences, 11(1).