There are two kinds of outcomes: student learning outcomes, which focus on what students will be able to know, think or do as a result of participating in a program, and operational outcomes, which are changes in the unit that faculty or staff want to occur as a result of their efforts.
Student learning outcomes typically start with the phrase, "Students will (insert specific action verb such as explain, apply, describe, create, etc.) . . ."
Operational outcomes for academic programs often focus on faculty (related to teaching, research, or service), student or alumni satisfaction, recruitment, retention and graduation rates, fundraising, or facilities. Basically, if the outcome is not specifically focused on student learning, then this assessment should be addressed as an operational outcome for the academic department. See FAQs for administrative and educational support units for more information about operational outcomes.