Higher Education is changing at an unprecedented pace. Online education, Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs), intensive and hybrid courses, and for-profit universities are a few of the rapid innovations in the higher education landscape. In addition, students are attending multiple universities in pursuit of their higher education objectives and the transferability of credits among institutions has created concerns about comparability of courses and degrees. Around these changes have emerged conversations about the quality of the American college degree. To inform some of these national debates, the Lumina Foundation published the Degree Qualification Profile (DQP) assessment framework and invited universities to engage in the analysis and trial of the DQP student learning outcomes. PLNU was selected by the Council of Independent Colleges (CIC) and the WASC Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC) to be among the select few private faith-based universities to pilot the DQP. In addition to the regional and private universities, the Association of American Colleges and Universities (AAC&U) is working with states and public universities in piloting the DQP.
The DQP Framework identifies five general areas of learning: Specialized Knowledge, Broad, Integrative Knowledge, Intellectual Skills, Applied Learning, Civic Learning and Institution-specific areas. These learning areas are further divided along degree levels: Associate, Bachelor’s and Master’s. The DQP assessment framework identifies specific student learning outcomes, what students know and can do, at the culmination of their degree in each learning area at the three degree levels. In the spring of 2013, PLNU ran a pilot program testing the DQP in a limited number of academic departments. What was learned in that pilot has informed how the university uses the DPQ and it also provided needed feedback for the Lumina Foundation. Information about our pilot program as well as our current DQP data can be found below.