Universities should adopt the 60-Year Curriculum (60YC) as a goal and a theme. It begins in the freshman year and serves students throughout their lifetime. Whereas “lifelong learning” expresses the need for an individual to continue learning, the 60YC expresses the institutional response to provide lifelong learning opportunities for students and graduates.
Why the 60YC?
Universities are being held accountable for what happens to students after they graduate. And the sharp increase in tuition and student debt has intensified this accountability. To illustrate this, take note of a bipartisan effort in both houses of Congress that introduced bills in mid-2017. For instance, it would have the National Center for Education Statistics include “information to consumers about what kinds of jobs those in a particular major in college land upon graduation, and additional outcome data.”
A college education is now looked upon as an investment that results in a return. In response, most regional accrediting bodies are requiring universities to develop desired learning outcomes for each degree program they offer.
Universities are responding by tracking what happens to their graduates, sometimes in the form of “first destination” jobs or graduate school admissions. This post-graduation metric is not new—many professional schools and MBA programs, have adopted this metric, that factor into school rankings.
The adoption of the 60YC theme fosters learner-centeredness. Surveys indicate that both entering freshmen and their parents overwhelmingly see a college education as a pathway to meaningful careers and employment. A learner-centered institution has to take this motivation into account in its pedagogy and its services to introduce students to real world experiences.
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