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    Guide to Basic Practices for Academic Program Analysis and Improvement

Goals FAQs

MTSU Image Q: Why is it necessary for our program to identify goals?

A: Collectively, the goals describe the general purpose of the program. They represent long-term targets of what has to be done in order for the mission to be accomplished.

Q: What are the characteristics of a well written goal?

A: Goals are broad statements of intent and reveal things that must be accomplished to achieve the mission.

Examples of goals for students:

  • Develop sophistication in their abilities and understanding of scientific inquiry.
  • Demonstrate effective communication skills.
  • Demonstrate knowledge of basic chemistry and physics.

Q: How can we make sure our goals are aligned with the mission?

A: Check to see that the goals for each course are designed to contribute to the achievement of the mission when courses are developed or revised.

Q: How can we determine if our goals are sequenced properly?

A: Program goals should be organized from simple to complex and become more sophisticated from entry to exit levels. One way to make sure this happens is to develop a matrix that shows all courses in the program, along with the goals to be achieved in each. Once on paper—and displayed level by level--the goals can be examined to ensure that the sequence is proper.


Freshman Year Sophomore Year Junior Year Senior Year
Course 1 Course 1    
Goal A: Goal A:    
Goal B: Goal B:    
Course 2 Course 2    
Goal A: Goal A:    
Goal B: Goal B:    

Q: How can we make sure that the goals are addressed by faculty and students?

A: (1) Make sure that the goals for each course are included in all course outlines and syllabi. (2) Select a mentor for each course and let that individual discuss the goals with new faculty and adjuncts assigned to teach the same course.

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