Identifying Student Learning Goals

Program-level learning goals enable the implicit to be made explicit. That is, most departments/programs function as though there were agreed-upon learning goals—goals that speak to the content, skills, and values you as faculty want students in the major to learn and develop. The existence of a curriculum in the major and/or of capstone courses, senior seminars, and final projects that ask students to demonstrate understanding of the concepts, methods, and skills in the discipline suggest that learning goals for majors not only exist in the minds of individual departmental faculty but that there is some agreement on them as well. In actuality, it takes an intentional act for faculty to convene to agree upon the goals and where they will be addressed in the curriculum. It is this collective activity that looks across courses when answering the questions What do I want my students to know? and What do I want my students to be able to do upon graduation? that differentiates program-level from course-level learning goals.

As a collective activity, good practice indicates that most, if not all, faculty in a department/program should be involved in approving the goals.

Click here to view examples of program-level goals at Georgetown.

For more specific information on the process and benefits of developing student learning goals, please see Identifying Course-Level Goals.

3 Responses to Identifying Student Learning Goals

  1. Mindy McWilliams says:

    The familiarity with which this page is written is out of synch with the tone of the other pages, so it feels odd and slightly over-congratulatory for something we already should have been doing! My suggestion is to make it more parallel to the other pages in terms of being more factual about the process. These paragraphs might be good at the top of the Program-level goals examples page, however.

  2. Mindy McWilliams says:

    I know that my suggestion leaves you in a place where you totally have to write content for this page from scratch, but maybe I can help with that after I’ve gone through the rest of the site.

Leave a Reply