The Global Tuning Project: Reframing Historical Study in the European Union, Latin America, and the Scholarship on Teaching and Learning
From the start of its “Tuning” project in February 2012, the American Historical Association has engaged in a nationwide, faculty-led initiative to articulate the disciplinary core of historical study and to define what a student should know, understand, and be able to do at the completion of a history degree program. The origins of the project, however, trace back earlier in time (to the year 2000) and across the Atlantic (to academic institutions in the European Union). This panel will examine how historians in the European Union and Latin America have approached and responded to Tuning, how they have developed distinctive “reference points” for the discipline in their regions, and how the Tuning process ties in with the scholarship on teaching and learning in history around the world.
The European Union launched its “Bologna Process” in 1999 as an intergovernmental project to streamline and harmonize degrees across the EU, refine the evaluation of credits, facilitate student transfer and mobility, improve quality assurance in higher education, and serve workforce needs. “Tuning Educational Structures in Europe” began the following year as a university response to the Bologna Process, focused on achieving these structural and political goals in meaningful, substantive academic terms. Through Tuning, faculty discipline experts in a wide range of subject areas assumed leadership in clarifying – and demystifying – the core competencies of their field of study, the knowledge and proficiencies students develop in different degree programs, and the essential learning outcomes that both distinguish and connect disciplines.
Tuning ties in with broader pedagogical initiatives that have shifted attention from teaching to learning, from educational “inputs” to learning “outcomes,” from credits earned to competencies developed, and from a teacher-centered system of higher education to one that is far more student-centered. In addition, Tuning emphasizes the importance of developing programs of study that are not standardized but, instead, reflect the diverse needs, missions, strengths, and student profiles of different institutions and communities. The reports from colleagues in Europe and Latin America will help the largely U.S. audience understand more clearly how a global discussion of our discipline has illuminated both widely-shared and distinctively-framed qualities of historical study.