Policy 5001
Annual Planning Policy

Date of Current Revision: December 2015
Primary Responsible Officer: Senior Vice President for Student Affairs and University Planning


The purpose of this policy is to outline the university’s planning process in support of its mission, vision, core qualities and goals.


The Board of Visitors has been authorized by the Commonwealth of Virginia to govern James Madison University. See Code of Virginia section 23-164.6; 23-9.2:3. The Board has delegated the authority to manage the university to the president.


Core Quality
One of 11 primary aspirational descriptors that make-up the primary structure for achieving the university’s mission and vision. A core quality is a broad aspirational description and each is supported by 3-7 university goals. Descriptions of the university’s core qualities, as well as other important strategic plan-related content can be found at: http://www.jmu.edu/jmuplans/corequalities/index.shtml.

Departmental Objective
A significant and measurable action in support of the university’s mission, the respective department’s mission and/or one or more university goals. Some objectives evolve from previous evaluation/assessment efforts. The JMU STAR Tool contains instructions for writing good objectives.

The web-based application used for entering, tracking and reporting on objectives at JMU. It is available at the following link to those designated to enter and track objectives: https://jmu.xitracs.net/survey/portallogon.jsp.

The enduring purpose of the university: We are a community committed to preparing students to be educated and enlightened citizens who lead productive and meaningful lives. For the purposes of this policy, it may also refer to the particular department’s mission.

University Goal
One of 43 specific targets that were developed by the Madison Future Commission and approved by the president and senior leadership team in 2014 in support of the 11 core qualities.

The broadest, highest priority aspiration of the university: To be the national model of the engaged university; engaged with ideas and the world. For the purposes of this policy, it may also refer to the particular department’s vision. Information concerning the university’s vision can be found here: http://www.jmu.edu/jmuplans/engagement.shtml.


This policy is applicable to all university divisions.


Perhaps the most important method for the achievement of the university’s mission and vision is the implementation of The Madison Plan, the university’s 2014 – 2020 strategic plan. In support of that plan, as well as to meet the requirements of accreditation, all university departments will participate in a continual process of setting objectives, evaluating performance as those objectives are being carried out and making improvements in the setting and executing of future objectives based on that evaluation/learning.


6.1 An effective planning process contributes to the identification, achievement and assessment/evaluation, and use of results of the objectives of administrative units. 

  • The process should be accountable, clearly communicated to constituents, comprehensive, dynamic and inclusive (providing for broad constituent participation).
  • The process must be continual.
  • The JMU STAR Tool shall be used by directors and others designated by members of the president’s senior leadership team. The JMU STAR Tool is the means for completing, reporting, sharing and retaining all aspects of the planning process.

6.2 Mission Statement 

  • All departments/offices must have a mission statement that, along with other accompanying documents, identifies what the unit’s purpose is, what it strives to accomplish, the constituencies that the unit serves, and the ways in which it relates to the mission of the university.
  • Mission statements should be concise, periodically updated and developed with input from constituencies.
  • The mission statement will be modified or endorsed on the occasion of each unit's program review.

 6.3 Objectives 

  • Objectives may span one or more years; however, progress toward objectives must be reported and evaluation/learning applied annually.
  • Objectives should state the change or intended outcome when the objective has been attained.
  • Objectives should be clear, concise, measurable and collaborative, where possible. They may evolve from the needs and interests of faculty and staff members in the departments/offices or from students and other constituents.
  • Objectives may be responses to societal changes, recent program reviews and objectives from previous years. 

6.4 Steps To Reach Objective: 

  • These steps are the ways in which a department/office seeks to attain an objective. They should be focused, specific and achievable within a year's time. 

6.5 Assessment/Evaluation Methods 

  • All objectives must be assessed and evaluated annually to determine whether the desired change or intended outcome has been attained.
  • Assessment is the determination of the extent to which learning has occurred.
  • Evaluation is the determination of the extent to which any other change or intended outcome has occurred.
  • Assessment/evaluation efforts should utilize valid, reliable and multiple methods. 

6.6 Objective Accomplishments (Year-end) 

  • A summary must be provided about the extent to which the objective has been accomplished. The summary should include the activities and the changes that occurred. 

6.7 Use of Assessment/Evaluation Results for Program Improvement 

  • Assessment/evaluation results should influence subsequent years’ objectives and future resource allocations. 


Senior vice presidents and vice presidents are responsible for implementing this policy within their respective divisions.

Directors, department heads, and academic unit heads are among those responsible for the day-to-day management of the respective unit’s objectives.


Employees who violate this policy are subject to discipline commensurate with the severity and/or frequency of the offense and may include termination of employment.




The authority to interpret this policy is given to the president, who normally delegates it to the Senior Vice President for Student Affairs and University Planning.

Previous version: February 2012
Approved by the President: April 2002

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