We tune a piano so that music sounds the same on each instrument. We know what to expect from each key and can play right away. Can you tune an institution of higher education the same way? Can we define certain reference points that would define a major the same way notes define a scale, or a song? The “Tuning” process, as described by an article in Inside Higher Ed, “involves research and surveys of faculty members, students and employers, and consultation with business and government leaders, to determine exactly what a degree in a given field stands for in terms of students’ learning and competencies.” The goal is to help the major listed on a diploma say more about the abilities and knowledge of the student who holds it. This process is already in use in Europe and now three states in the U.S. (Indiana, Utah, and Minnesota) are testing the process; each institution will produce standards in two disciplines. It’s an interesting process because, in addition to consulting with faculty, it looks outside of the academy and considers the needs of employers in developing criteria for the majors. You can see some of the criteria here. There’s some debate about the value of standardizing Higher Ed; standardization hasn’t always been a boon for education. You can hear some of this debate here. But we’d love to hear your thoughts on the blog. Is “Tuning” the secret to melody, or will it reduce beautiful music to simple scales?