Understanding Mission and Learning Outcomes

Mission: A mission statement should explain why your organization or program exists and what it hopes to achieve in the future. It articulates the organization’s essential nature, its values and its work.

Learning OutcomesProgram learning outcomes are clear, concise statements that describe how students can demonstrate the knowledge your program seeks to develop. Learning outcomes should be written thoughtfully in consideration of the mission and pre-existing curriculum of the program.

Outcomes need not be limited to learning that can be objectively tested. For example, outcomes can be about spiritual development or valuing individual differences, and can point to the best available indicators about whether students are growing in these areas. For example, students might demonstrate their development or values in reflective writing.

Examples of Mission, Goal and Outcome Statements from LMU

From Psychology

From the Psychology department mission: 

Through a comprehensive education in the science of psychology, the Psychology Department seeks to educate the whole person, pursue academic excellence, advance scholarship, promote service and justice and encourage life-long learning. 

Example learning outcomes from the Psychology program: Demonstrate an ability to apply critical thinking in order to evaluate scientific research, including research presented in the media. 

Demonstrate an increased appreciation and understanding of the importance of a scientific approach to understanding human behavior. 

Demonstrate an ability to apply psychological principles, including the consideration of ethics and social justice, to contemporary problems/issues. 

From Art History

From the College of Communication and Fine Arts mission: The College of Communication and Fine Arts creates an environment conducive to understanding the complex phenomena of art and art making as well as human communication in all its diverse forms. 

Example learning outcomes from the Art History program: Students will analyze works of art and architecture within the appropriate historical, social, religious and cultural contexts. 

Students will think critically and articulate clear ideas about art and its historical and contemporary significance. 

From Recording Arts

From the School of Film and Television mission: Students will develop critical discernment and be equipped with the technical, theoretical, and aesthetic means to communicate their insights effectively to an audience. 

Example learning outcomes from the Recording Arts program: Students will be able to effectively edit and process sound for film and television media. 

Students will be able to create technically competent and aesthetically pleasing mixes for those media. 

Program assessment plans begin with a clear articulation of the mission and desired student learning outcomes of the program. These statements indicate what you would like graduates of your program to know, be able to do, and value by the time they graduate. Assessment of student learning outcomes will help you to determine if you are accomplishing what you set out to, and keep you focused on continual improvement.