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Example of a Mission Statement

“The mission of the College of Agriculture is to provide students with the educational experiences and environment that promote discipline competence; the capacity to attain career success in agriculture, food, or related professions; and a sense of civic responsibility.” (University of Minnesota, from Diamond, Designing & Assessing Courses & Curricula, p. 72).

Program goals are broad statements concerning knowledge, skills, or values that faculty expect graduating students to achieve.  They describe general expectations for students, and they should be linked to the program mission.

Examples of Program Goals


Students know basic biological principles and concepts.

Students understand the major theoretical approaches for explaining economic phenomena.


Students can use appropriate technology tools.

Students have effective interpersonal and leadership skills.


Students respect the professional code of ethics for pharmacy practice.

Students value the scientific approach to understanding natural phenomena.

Goals are too general to guide assessment and planning, so faculty develop learning outcomes to make the goals explicit.  Learning outcomes describe, in concrete terms, what program goals mean.  They describe observable behaviors that allow faculty to know if students have mastered the goals.

Program Learning Outcomes:

Focus on what students will learn, rather than on what faculty will “cover.”

Describe how students can demonstrate that they have developed the knowledge, skills, and values that faculty want them to learn.

Should be widely distributed – in the catalog, on the Web, in department newsletters, and on syllabi.

Should be known by all major stakeholders, including regular and adjunct faculty, fieldwork supervisors, student support personnel, and students.

Guide course and curriculum planning so that students experience a cohesive curriculum.

Encourage students to be intentional learners who direct and monitor their own learning.

Focus assessment efforts and faculty and staff conversations on student learning.

Examples of Learning Outcomes

Students can analyze experimental results and draw reasonable conclusions from them.

Students can provide counseling services to people who are different from themselves in gender, age, ethnicity, culture, sexual orientation, or other significant characteristics.

Students can locate appropriate sources by searching electronic and traditional databases.

Students follow professional ethical standards when they provide nursing care to patients.

Students can analyze the quality of the argumentation provided in support of a position.

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