Skip to content
  • Print

3. Strategic Goals, Outcomes, Assessment, and Change

Goal statements are the yardstick by which units gauge progress and success. Units must target a desired level of regional, national, or international reputation and excellence. Outcome definition and assessment allow units to consider their effects, influences, products, and services. Program Planning & Self-Study should be a process that is driven by data and attainment of outcomes. Data and outcomes reveal the degree to which change should be sought in future planning. In general, Program Planning & Self-Study uses the following approach:

  • IDEAL - This is the aspiration of the unit.  What are the optimal programs, services, and outcomes? How does the unit pursue these? What environmental conditions affect unit strategy?
  • REAL - Using assessment, data collection, and subjective considerations, determine what is really happening now. What outcomes are being achieved? What are the areas of strength and excellence?
  • GAP -- How far is the actual from the intended? In what specific areas are these gaps most significant? What gaps may be created by future vision?
  • MAP -- Which gaps are most critical to close? How will this be accomplished? What specific actions and resources are required? What aspects of the ideal must be implemented? How?

The Annual Report tracks progress toward strategic goals. It considers the effectiveness of planned change and may suggest alterations in course. It assesses the alignment of resources with needs. It links unit planning with University priorities. The Periodic Self-Study, which is conducted every five to ten years, lays a framework for the Annual Report and is where major changes should be explored, planned, and articulated. High performing units, those with strong alignment between the Ideal and Real, will always identify new ways for improvement. Those with large Gaps need to put strategic plans in place to close the Gaps, assessing progress in the Annual Report on the Map laid out in the Periodic Self-Study.