Curriculum expectations and graduate attributes

Grad attributes

Our curriculum expectations are divided into four key themes: inclusivity, digital capability, external engagement, and active learning (I-D-E-A).

These four curriculum expectations feed directly into our four graduate attributes - qualities our students will have the opportunity to develop during their time at Keele, through both the formal curriculum and also through co- and extra-curricular activities (e.g. work experience and engagement with the wider University community). 

Our graduate attributes consist of four themes: academic expertise, professional skills, personal effectiveness, and social and ethical responsibility.

These four graduate attributes have a direct link to our four curriculum expectations - the underlying principles of programme design at Keele.

Our curriculum expectations

The Keele curriculum expectations underpin the design of our degree programmes at Keele. Together they will ensure our students benefit from the highest quality, contemporary educational offer, designed to equip them to be successful graduates of the future with knowledge and skills fit for a changing society.

The four curriculum expectations provide a simple framework applicable to all our undergraduate and postgraduate taught provision, including our apprenticeships, and fully online masters programmes. We will expect programmes to demonstrate at validation, review and revalidation how these curriculum expectations are embedded in design, as appropriate to the nature of the discipline. 

The curriculum is a major vehicle, although not the sole vehicle, through which students develop essential skills and attributes. The four curriculum expectations provide programmes with a structure through which students can develop many, but not necessarily all, of the graduate attributes.

We are committed to equality and equity of opportunity for underrepresented groups to access, succeed in and progress from higher education and achieve their best possible outcomes. Our students will experience a curriculum that promotes:

  • equality and equity of opportunity and embraces difference, to ensure all students reach their potential 
  • inclusive teaching and assessment practices that are deliberately incorporated from the point of curriculum design 
  • student wellbeing and success through a varied balance of well-paced and diverse teaching, learning and assessments activities 
  • active input of students into the curriculum, together with co-design cultures across academic and professional staff 

Our curriculum instils tolerance of diverse perspectives and encourages debate and growth within a community of respect. Inclusive learning also carries a promise to continue to decolonise the curriculum and to adapt our modes of delivery to support an increasingly diverse student body.

Digital technologies will underpin all our educational activities and our curriculum aims to develop students' digital ‘readiness’ to thrive in a continually changing society. Our curriculum will enable students to:

  • engage with and understand the value of digital communication and digital communities, and be conscious of the need for inclusivity and empathy 
  • develop digital capability and creativity through authentic assessment, and be confident in showcasing digital outputs to external audiences 
  • develop ‘digital criticality’: the ability to evaluate online practices such as networking, collaboration, curation, data literacy, and appropriate use of AI  

A digitally enabled curriculum has digital embedded from the point of programme design. Digital tools are deployed in the curriculum to enhance the educational experience, creating exciting opportunities for students to evidence digital confidence, capability and fluency.  

The curriculum facilitates engagement with external partners, employers, industry and diverse audiences to enhance students’ understanding of work-based, civic and international challenges. Our curriculum will empower students to: 

  • understand and help develop solutions to societal global challenges through an interdisciplinary approach  
  • develop skills through experiential, project-based, problem-based and scenario-based learning, respond to briefs from external organisations and receive feedback from external partners and employers 
  • apply their learning and skills to external contexts, and adapt their knowledge to the needs of audiences and users beyond the University 
  • reflect on their own external-facing profile as part of their studies, linking activities and outputs together, drawing on external stakeholders, and the University’s diverse community of staff, students and alumni, for their development 

Students will have opportunities to produce, for example, digital media, reports, exhibitions and portfolios that are portable and adaptable and useful to broader audiences.

Active learning places the student at the centre of their own learning. Active learning encompasses forms of learning that have been demonstrated to boost engagement and successful outcomes. Our curriculum will offer students opportunities to:

  • engage in different types of learning such as such as project-based learning, problem-based learning, and collaborative and team-based learning 
  • work as partners and co-producers in curriculum design and delivery, facilitating a sense of ownership in relation to the curriculum they shape 
  • create and participate in social learning networks, share ideas confidently and take a self-reflective approach to the way in which their study connects to opportunities for development. 

Our graduate attributes

The Keele graduate attributes are qualities (skills, values and mindsets) which our students have the opportunity to develop during their time at Keele through both the formal curriculum and through co- and extra-curricular activities (e.G., work experience, and engagement with the wider university community such as acting as ambassadors, volunteering, peer mentoring, student representation, membership and leadership of clubs and societies). 
Students develop these attributes through a wide range of experiences reflective of their wider university experience.  

The language of the attributes is designed to be accessible, familiar and useful to students. Students will engage actively with the range of attributes throughout their time at Keele:  through their academic studies, through self-assessing their own strengths, weaknesses and development needs, and by setting personal development goals and discussing progress, for example, with academic mentors to prepare for their future career and lives beyond Keele.

Students will have the opportunity to become a subject specialist and to develop a broad and detailed knowledge of their discipline. They will be encouraged to become a critical thinker, to challenge ideas and to question and interpret evidence. They will learn how subject knowledge can be applied in different contexts and across discipline boundaries. Examples of the skills, values and mindsets that students will have opportunity to develop include:

  • Subject knowledge: breadth and depth of knowledge of your discipline, and the ability to translate this beyond your studies. 
  • Interdisciplinary expertise: applying knowledge and ideas in different contexts and across different disciplinary boundaries. 
  • Critical thinking: challenging ideas, interpreting and questioning evidence.
  • Independent and self-directed learning: taking charge of planning, evaluating and reflecting on your own learning, pursuing additional informal opportunities to learn, and demonstrating a commitment to lifelong learning.
  • Creativity and innovation: using imagination to generate new ideas and concepts, applying ideas and knowledge with vision and resourcefulness, applying creative ideas for success. 

Professional skills facilitate successful learning and are essential attributes in the workplace. Through both the formal curriculum, co- and extra-curricular activities, students will have opportunities to develop and enhance a range of professional skills including, problem solving, digital readiness, research skills, reflective practice, effective communication, collaboration, independent working, and career management. Examples of the skills, values and mindsets that students will have opportunity to develop include: 

  • Problem-solving: adopting an evidence-based, solutions-focused mindset, exploring new approaches to solving problems. 
  • Digital readiness: being digitally aware, literate, capable, adaptable, and willing to work with different digital tools, platforms and software in a rapidly changing world.  
  • Numeracy and data literacy: interpreting, evaluating and presenting numerical data, analyzing large and complex data sets in order to better understand a changing world.
  • Research skills: understanding the process and methods of research, presenting data and summarizing findings. 
  • Reflective practice: learning from experiences, reflecting on your actions, acting on learning points, and engaging in the process of continuous learning.
  • Career management: taking responsibility for planning, reflecting and reviewing progress, and seizing opportunities to reach your own career goals, being enterprising and entrepreneurial.

The ability to use a range of resources and skills will enable students to make a positive impact within communities and in the workplace. During their time at Keele they will have a range of opportunities to develop skills in personal effectiveness by working as part of a team, learning from others, adapting to challenging and unexpected circumstances, and influencing others through positive contributions to the University community. Examples of the skills, values and mindsets that students will have opportunity to develop include:

  • Adaptability: being flexible, open-minded, creative, able to deal with risks and challenges. 
  • Collaboration: working as part of a team, learning from others, understanding and respecting different points of views, dealing with conflict.
  • Communication: presenting ideas and arguments confidently in different formats and to different audiences.
  • Leadership and influence: leading by example, influencing and inspiring others through positive contributions.
  • Time management: organizing and planning time effectively, prioritizing tasks and activities, meeting deadlines. 
  • Resilience, awareness and self-efficacy: adapting to challenging and unexpected circumstances, being self-aware, mindful and practicing self-care, making use of formal and informal support networks as appropriate.
  • Empathy and emotional intelligence: being aware of the feelings of others and demonstrating understanding of others’ emotions and behaviours.

Through engagement with the wider community, students will be exposed to different backgrounds, beliefs, and ways of living and working. They will have the opportunity to learn about different global issues and challenges and appreciate different cultures and traditions. They will develop the knowledge and skills to make decisions which promote economic, environmental, and societal sustainability. Examples of the skills, values and mindsets that students will have opportunity to develop include:

  • Sustainability: developing the knowledge and skills to make decisions that promote economic, environmental and societal sustainability.
  • Equality, diversity and inclusion: recognizing and valuing different backgrounds, beliefs, and ways of living and working.
  • Integrity and respect: being honest, acting ethically, upholding personal morals in academic and workplace settings, respecting the views of others.
  • Global awareness: Engaging with global issues and challenges, being aware of different cultures and traditions.