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Goals and Objectives

What are the critical changes that must be made to realize your unit’s vision? Your committee should identify those in the form of goals and objectives.

Goals are broad in scope and tend to span a longer period of time. Think in terms of outcomes and clearly describe the finished state your unit will be in once this goal is achieved. Wherever possible, specify the target group(s)—under-grad students, faculty, staff, research teams etc.

            Sample GOAL:

We will have a diverse faculty that more fully reflects our student body.”

Objectives, by contrast, are the incremental steps that must be achieved in order to accomplish your unit’s goals. Think in terms of actions that must be taken (verbs!). As you identify your objectives, a good acronym to remember is SMART:

            Specific - use concrete, unambiguous language
            Measurable - start to consider how you’ll determine success
            Attainable - do you have the requisite time/resources/people?
            Realistic - is success likely, given the above?
            Time-bound - indicate time frames so that end points are clear

The details upon which you define your goals must also include clear determinants of success. For example, will a new student working group developed within a DEI committee be successful as a result of new initiatives created OR student participation?  Those determinants must not only be measurable but also attainable, realistic and time-bound. Without considering whether the organization has the time or resources to achieve an objective the likelihood of success becomes less realistic and time frames are unclear.

Corresponding to the Sample GOAL provided above, here as some Sample OBJECTIVES:

1) “Reform search committees to more fully represent the diverse stakeholder needs of the unit” - 1 month

2) “Collect feedback from the students on what they need and want from future faculty” - 2 weeks

3) “Revise hiring process to emphasize skills over job titles” - 1 month

Share your Vision & Goals with everyone--faculty, students, staff, post docs, etc.--and gauge their buy-in.

Download the Goal Development Worksheet


Anticipating skepticism/pushback on your Vision or Goals? Wishing you had more people on board with your Goals?

Learn how to build a coalition