Overview of Program Educational Goals and Assessment

The by-laws of the Board of Trustees of the University of Delaware charge faculty with the authority to “formulate and administer the academic and educational policies of the University.” This includes creating and assessing the goals of each educational program at the university. CTAL assists UD faculty in doing this by providing advice, examples, workshops, and foundational research.

In the writing of our 2021 Middle States Self-Study, we realized that these goals and assessments are not being systematically documented across the university. The Task Force on Learning Goals & Assessment formed in the fall of 2019 made several recommendations to the university’s faculty and administrators to address these shortcomings. Specifically, the task force recommended that (a) program educational goals be collected by the Faculty Senate and published in the academic catalog and (b) assessment plans and results be collected from programs each year and provided to deans as information used in evaluating and providing feedback to chairs and directors.

These recommendations are being carried out in two phases which are described below. To learn more about these processes, either view the section FAQs or click on the “learn more” links. 

Additionally, we have a substantial collection of examples of how different disciplines have defined program educational goals and how they assess them. Faculty at UD who would like assistance in locating similar materials for their discipline are encouraged to contact us!

Phase One: Developing or Revising Program Educational Goals

Each degree-granting academic program has a unique set of program educational goals. These goals are defined and assessed by the faculty in that program. Degree-granting programs are being required to submit these goals to the appropriate Faculty Senate committee for publication in the academic catalog. This initial collection began in the fall of 2021 and continued for two years; beginning in the 2023-2024 academic year, changes to these goals and submissions of goals for new programs will be handled through the normal program revision and proposal processes. CTAL has developed resources, programs, and guidance in support of developing or revising program educational goals. Learn More.


Frequently asked questions about the collection and publication of program educational goals

Phase Two: Assessing Program Educational Goals

Degree-granting programs will be required to submit brief descriptions of their assessment plans and results each fall beginning in 2023 after program educational goals have been collected from each program. As recommended by the task force, this report will be relatively brief; it will describe at least one program educational goal, how it was assessed, the assessment results, a brief discussion of any program or course modifications to be made in response to the results, and an outline of any support/resources needed to make necessary alignments. The report will be provided to chairs/directors and their deans in the spring with the intent that they will form part of the basis for the collegial discussions that occur during the appraisal of each chair/director.

Just as faculty at the university have the authority to determine the educational goals of each degree program, faculty also have the responsibility to determine the effectiveness of their program(s). For this assessment to be effective, it must be done systematically and all faculty in the program must be involved in evaluating the results. CTAL has developed resources, programs, and guidance in support of assessing program educational goals. Learn more.


Frequently asked questions about the collection process of program learning assessment information

Request a Consultation

CTAL provides a range of free and confidential instructional services to help all members of UD’s teaching community to enhance the teaching, learning, and assessment processes. To speak with a CTAL staff member about program educational goals and assessment, please complete our consultation request form.