Define the mission and goals of the department - The mission of the department is the starting point for developing assessment plans. Presumably the department mission will dovetail with the missions of the vice presidential area and the University as well as the goals of the 2005-09 Strategic Plan. Mission statements often take the following form: "the mission of the (department) is to (primary purpose) by providing (primary functions and activities) to/for (stakeholders / customers)." For example, "The Office of Institutional Research and Assessment (IRA) serves as the analytical arm of Old Dominion University's central administration. As a part of its function, the office assists in systematically planning the University's future, managing its resources, and assessing its performance….The Assessment Program focuses on assessing … (3) learning outcomes of each academic program and other outcomes of each administrative unit with an Assessment Planning and Reporting Process …. Results are consistently used for program improvement." Goals are broad and abstract statements that flow out of the mission.