Numerous sources calling for more accountability in higher education are putting increased pressure on many economics departments to develop assessment plans. This paper discusses a set of principles for programmatic assessment gleaned from the assessment literature, while highlighting one US economic department's journey to develop an assessment of student learning outcomes based on Hansen's proficiencies. We explain the curriculum reforms that culminate with independent undergraduate research as suggested by the highest level of Hansen's proficiencies. We describe ePortfolios which showcase student abilities and integrate evidence of student learning across the curriculum. For departments without direct guidance from accreditation boards or other agencies, we put forth a process of forming programmatic assessment in economics.