Objectives can be operational and strategic. Operational objectives assess the effectiveness of the unit at meeting its mission and goals. They are usually written in the present tense and reflect the overall purpose of the unit. Example: “The Business and Financial Service Office maintains an accurate, secure payment system. . .”

Strategic Objectives assess the results of strategic initiatives to ensure proper planning and positive impact. These are written in a future tense and are usually based on a planned activity of the unit. Example: “Over the next year, the Business and Financial Services Office will expand hours of operation to improve service to staff. . .”

Types of Objectives

Process based objectives describe the processes and procedures of the unit.

  • Example: “The Business Services Office will promptly process invoices.”

Satisfaction based objectives describe the customer experience.

  • Example: “Students will express satisfaction with the registration experience.”

Outcomes based objectives describe the learning that will take place because of an activity.

  • Example: “Students will learn how to use library resources.”

When writing an outcome objective, think about how the process should function and what the optimal process outputs are.

Writing Objective Statements

  • Step One: Determine the target/subject/audience
    Ex. “For first generation students”
  • Step Two: Choose an action verb
    Ex. “To provide”
  • Step Three: Object: What is it you are providing? Office/service to change
    Ex. “Four professional leadership and volunteer service opportunities”
  • Step Four: Modifier: What is the impact? When will you accomplish it? Reason?
    Ex. “By the end of the academic year, impact retention rates”


“Provide four professional leadership and volunteer service opportunities for first-generation students to increase retention rates by the end of the academic year.”

“Improve student awareness and participation by creating a marketing plan for all Student Involvement events by July XXXX.”

“Decrease the time to respond to customer queries by 3 minutes by the end of this quarter.”

“Reduce the cost of the SMART conference by 20 percent by benefiting from process improvement and procurement management.”


  • Objectives should relate back to the goals and provide more details.
  • The statements should be quantitative and provide a target.
  • Be sure that statements are concise and consistent with the goal.
  • Using Administrative Taxonomies can assist with choosing the most appropriate action verb for your objective statement.

Use the Administrative Taxonomy below to find the right verb(s) for your objective statement.

graph displaying a circle diagram of verbs and appropriate synonyms