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.

Case studies

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 applicationOne 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.

Graduate Attributes Roadmap Video Transcript [PDF]

Useful Resources

Roadmap-related resources

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).


External resources

Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education Enhancement Themes: Graduates for the 21st Century