Tuning the Master’s: Applying the Principles and Practices of the Tuning Project to Graduate Education
Michael Lang, University of Maine
Penelope Adams Moon, Arizona State University
In its 2010 report, the Commission of the Future of Graduate Education reminded readers that “[l]ike all valuable assets…[graduate education] must be attended to and nurtured in order to remain viable and strong.”
The AHA’s Tuning Project is one approach history departments can take to keep their programs healthy and responsive to a changing educational environment. “Tuning” provides faculty with opportunities to define and articulate core discipline-based competencies, rationalize curricula, and connect student achievement to a world beyond college. As such, it has gained considerable traction among faculty interested in recruiting and retaining history learners and, ultimately, shaping the wider world. For obvious reasons, Tuning has focused primarily on better articulating the historical understandings and skills developed at the undergraduate level. However, as a disciplinary document, the Tuning Project’s “History Disciplinary Core” aspires to inform our work at all levels of post-secondary history education, from the BA to the PhD.
Our panelists share their experiences “tuning” their MA programs. Building on our past and ongoing experiences with the Tuning Project, we address a range of questions, including: What relevance does the “History Disciplinary Core” have to today’s MA students? Does the process of tuning at the MA level differ from the process at the undergraduate level? How do we think about tuning in a graduate education environment undergoing significant change at the institutional and conceptual level?
 Council of Graduate Schools and Educational Testing Service, The Path Forward: The Future of Graduate Education in the United States. Report from the Commission on the Future of Graduate Education in the United States, (Princeton, NJ: Educational Testing Service, 2010), accessed February 9, 2015, http://www.fgereport.org/rsc/pdf/CFGE_report.pdf.