Each program or unit participating in the assessment process uses an outcome based approach. Academic programs use student learning outcomes as the basis for their assessment program while non-academic units may use a combination of non-student learning outcomes and student learning outcomes.
Student learning outcomes should describe what the students will know or be able to do and should be stated using action verbs as described in Bloom's taxonomy. Clearly written student learning outcomes articulate faculty or staff expectations about what knowledge is to be learned and what skills, attitudes, and behaviors are to be developed by students involved in the program or unit. Student learning outcomes should be meaningful, measurable, and aligned with the mission of the unit, the mission of the university, the core values of the university, and possibly the current strategic plan and the core components of the Higher Learning Commission's (HLC) criteria for accreditation. Some student learning outcomes may be aligned with general education student learning outcomes.
Non-academic units may have outcomes relating to student/client satisfaction, student engagement, and unit performance. Outcomes should not be phrased in terms of what activities the unit is engaged in, but rather in terms of the desired outcomes of the unit. As with student learning outcomes, outcomes from non-academic units should be meaningful, measurable, and aligned, when appropriate, to the mission of the unit, the mission of the university, the core values of the university, the current strategic plan, and the components of the HLC's criteria for accreditation.