Phase I: Specify & Plan

During this first phase, the focus is on identifying:

  • Unit goals and objectives
  • Strategies used to achieve the objectives
  • Measures that serve as targets

I. Goals

Goals should reflect the charge of the unit and align with its mission. Functional areas begin Phase 1 by identifying 2–4 unit goals.

The unit’s goals should be broad statements focused on general components such as efficiency, effectiveness, communication, fiscal health, services, and support systems. These unit goals are operationalized into specific objectives.

Goals

Definition

Goals are the general long-term aims or purposes of a unit that are consistent with its mission. Goals should be broadly stated, meaningful, achievable, and provide a framework for identifying objectives.

Example

Provide an efficient course registration process.

II. Objectives

Effective goals provide a framework for the next step in developing an Assessment and Action Plan, articulating objectives. Each goal will typically have at least two objectives.

Objectives

Definition

Objectives are concrete statements of tangible results the unit intends to achieve. Objectives should be written as statements that are specific, measureable, achievable, results-oriented, and time bound.

Example

During fall and spring registration, students will be able to register on their own, without needing help from the registrar’s office

Objectives should be written using action verbs that describe what the unit will achieve or accomplish in light of comprehensive unit goals. The Appendix at the end of the Guide provides a list of action verbs. Some examples of action verbs include:

apply, choose, demonstrate, describe, examine, identify, interpret, model, modify, provide, schedule, use

III. Strategies

For each objective, specify strategies the unit will use to meet objectives. Implementing the listed strategies should facilitate the accomplishment of the associated objective.

Strategies

Definition

Strategies are the specific processes used and services offered by a unit

Example

Conduct test of the system prior to opening the registration process
Conduct a check of courses in the system to ensure the accuracy of the information
Have a help line and live chat available 7AM to 10PM during peak registration weeks
Have an email address for questions or to report registration issues
Provide online video tutorials that detail the process
Monitor help line and live chat requests/issues
Monitor logins to the system and time to completion

To determine strategic capabilities available to your unit, generate a comprehensive list of services and processes that members of your unit are able to perform. Strategies should not be requests for additional funding, resources, or additional personnel.

IV. Targets

For each objective listed, at least one target should be established. Targets should measure how effectively and efficiently a functional unit is operating.

Targets (formally known as KPIs) are numerical criteria and focus on the impact of objectives and success achieved through strategies. For each objective listed, at least one target should be established.

Target

Definition

A target should include three aspects: a level (e.g., prior year metrics or baseline data), a subject/object (e.g., students, faculty, staff, report, or satisfaction level), and a modifier (e.g., percentage increase, decrease, maintained performance, or timeframe).

Example

Measure: Reduction in live chat and email help requests, as well as a reduction in trouble calls to help line.

Criteria: 10% drop.

Below is a completed Phase 1 using the examples provided, as it would appear in the Functional Area Assessment and Action Plan Template.

Note that for each goal there will typically be more than one objective. For the sample goal, “Provide an efficient course registration process,” examples of two objectives are shown below. Each objective has listed strategies and at least one associated target.

PHASE 1

Goals

Objectives

Strategies

Target

Provide an efficient course registration process.

During registration, students will be able to register on their own, without needing help from the registrar’s office.

Have a help line and live chat available 7AM to 10PM during peak registration weeks.

Provide online video tutorials that detail the process.

10% drop in trouble calls, help requests, and issues reported compared to previous year.

During registration time, the system will be functional 100% of the time.

Conduct test of the system prior to opening the registration process.

Have monitoring system that alerts ITS to issues.

Zero recorded alerts of system downtime.