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Lumina explores ‘degree qualifications profile’ concept in the US

The Lumina Foundation for Education, a leading higher education research and philanthropic organisation in the United States, is continuing to build on some ideas with European origins. ACA has previously reported on Lumina’s ‘Tuning USA’ activities (see ACA-Newsletter – Education Europe, June 2010); now the attention has turned to exploring the idea of ‘degree qualifications profile’.  In recent weeks, Lumina’s policy and strategy leadership has been circulating a concept paper for a degree qualifications profile among a broad range of US higher education stakeholders. The individuals consulted have included leaders in universities and community colleges, higher education policy and advocacy organisations, state higher education systems, and the business community. Faculty, students, and various policymakers have also been approached for comment.

The idea has been to solicit constructive feedback on both the concept and the actual draft instrument. As with Tuning USA, the current effort is designed to complement and strengthen Lumina’s Big Goal initiative, which aims to increase the US share of working-age adults with high-quality degrees to 60% by 2025. The degree qualifications profile fits into this work by seeking to address the perceived need to develop a consistent understanding of what knowledge and skills US degrees really represent.

Despite an obvious interest in various aspects of the Bologna Process in Europe, Lumina is quick to point out that no innovation can be imported wholesale into the US context from abroad, given the unique characteristics of the American higher education context. And, there is no clear agreement among US higher education stakeholders that such a degree qualifications profile can or should be implemented. Still, Lumina is serious about achieving its Big Goal objective, and the degree qualifications profile concept is yet another nod to the Bologna Process as muse from this distinctly American organisation.