Assessment and Outcomes

back to Introduction

Program Goals: Focusing the Mission Statement

The main function of the goals statement is to form a bridge between the lofty language of the Mission Statement and the concrete-specific nuts and bolts of program objectives. In the goals statement, the broad principles of the Mission are narrowed and focused into the specific categories of skills, knowledge, and abilities which will characterize graduates of your program including those that are specific to your discipline as well as those which represent the broader general competencies implied by Western's mission and strategic goals.

The goals statement is essentially becomes a blueprint for implementing the mission by answering the following questions:

  • How do program goals relate to the program mission?
  • How does this program fit into a student's overall development?
  • What general categories of knowledge and abilities will distinguish your graduates?
  • For each principle of the mission, what are the key competency categories
    graduates of the program should know or be able to do?

As discussed above in the "overview" section, general competency goals might include the four integrative abilities being considered as possible statewide required accountability goals (writing, information technology literacy, quantitative reasoning, and critical thinking), as well as the fourteen areas of alumni satisfaction Washington State currently wants assessed in alumni surveys—satisfaction with Western's contribution to the graduate's ability for:

  • writing effectively
  • speaking effectively
  • critical reading
  • quantitative reasoning
  • arts appreciation
  • scientific principles
  • civic rights and responsibilities
  • problem solving
  • working cooperatively
  • learning independently
  • cultural and philosophical diversity
  • interaction of society and environment
  • readiness for career
  • readiness for graduate study
  • developing satisfying meaning for life

Each major department must take responsibility for promoting and assessing student development across the range and level of abilities appropriate to its programs, including both majors and general education students. Therefore the program goals statement should include all of the key competency areas which the program or its courses address, for both majors and non-majors.