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Black Student Satisfaction

A Summary of Recommendations and a Prioritized Action Plan

Northwestern University remains committed to creating a positive Black Student experience on our campus. Over the past four years, beginning with the program review for Multicultural Student Affairs, and incorporating information and recommendations from community dialogues, listening sessions, the Black Student Experience Task Force report, and the Black House Facility Review Committee, we continue to make progress.

The groups of individuals who contributed their time and energy were convened to address continued concern regarding the Black and African-American student experience at Northwestern. They explored a number of issues, including:

This document summarizes the initiatives that were identified, where we are with each initiative, and discusses next steps. Note that the report from which the item came is listed on the left side of the table, using the following key:

The intent of this action plan is to implement a multipronged approach that combines a number of these recommendations to better serve our Black and African-American students. We appreciate the involvement of students, faculty, staff and alumni that contributed to these objectives.

Download the Black Student Satisfaction Summary Report here.(DOC)


The following table summarizes the initiatives that have already been completed, or that have been completed but remain ongoing items on which the university will continue to focus efforts.


Facility Create a keycard/Wildcard entry system Completed Summer 2016
Facility Update technology software and hardware in the study room Completed Spring 2015
Facility Upgrade the resource center Completed Spring 2015
MSA Build faculty/staff relationships in the ethnic studies department Completed and Ongoing
MSA Recognize student organizations through Campus Life Completed Fall 2015
MSA Communicate frequently and intentionally to the university community Completed and Ongoing
Facility Develop a mechanism for iPad rental Completed (Libraries)
Facility Have Graduate Students in Residence Completed and Ongoing
Facility Develop programs that promote community engagement Ongoing
BSETF Provide more support for the National Pan-Hellenic Council and Multicultural Greek Council organizations Completed and Ongoing
BSETF Review Wildcat Welcome and identify ways it can be more inclusive and welcoming for African American and Black students Completed Fall 2017
Facility Create an Academic Support Hub, a physical location, where students can easily access tutoring and other academic support services. These services may currently exist at Northwestern, but they are spread across campus and are not well known by students Completed and Ongoing
Facility Add charging stations and outlets to Black House Completed and ongoing (pending Black House renovations)
Facility Install way-finding signage that offers historical perspectives and purposes of rooms Completed and ongoing (pending Black House renovations)
Facility Update printing station Completed Fall 2017

In Progress

The following items are currently being addressed by the university. As these items are completed, they will move to the “Completed” section above.


BSETF Challenge the members of [predominantly white] fraternities and sororities at Northwestern and the designated leaders of these organizations to examine the culture of their community and explore ways to ensure they are more welcoming and inclusive In Progress
MSA Help students develop skills in understanding intersecting/multiple identities, interpersonal relationships, and collaborations within and across groups In Progress
MSA Build inclusive communities across the University under which all identities can be welcomed and served In Progress
MSA Build intercultural competencies and leadership skills In Progress
MSA Retain space for under-represented students to gather study, socialize, and find comfort In Progress
Facility [In the Black House] overhaul HVAC, upgrade the electrical panel, install an elevator, soundproof a portion of the basement, soundproof a performance space and add a piano and lighting In Progress
BSETF Regularly provide University administrators with analyzed student persistence and success data from a centralized office so that informed strategic and proactive early intervention efforts can be implemented to serve our students throughout their undergraduate careers In Progress
Facility Identify space for proper receipt and temporary storage of memorabilia In Progress
BSETF Create more pre-orientation opportunities, curricular and co-curricular, for students to build relationships early on with peers, faculty and staff In Progress
Facility Develop programs that promote community engagement In Progress
BSETF Get to know and listen to Black students regularly, not just in times of crisis. This includes increasing faculty/student interaction, student interaction with those in administrative and staff positions and interaction with academic advisers In Progress
Facility Install way-finding signage that offers historical perspectives and purposes of rooms In Progress
MSA Make NU more welcoming In Progress
MSA Develop metrics which assess the effectiveness of MSA's programs and activities In Progress
Facility Feature the Black House prominently on campus tours, and use it as a recruitment tool for students and faculty In Progress
BSETF Conduct a cultural audit of all Northwestern buildings and spaces to ensure they are representative of the diversity that exists within the University community In Progress
MSA Partner with other departments under Student Engagement to assist them in incorporating cultural competency training in their programs In Progress
BSETF Create initiatives to support African American and Black undergraduate women In Progress
MSA Be proactive rather than reactive to advocate for students In Progress
MSA Locate CIC staff in one place, or in close proximity In Progress
BSETF Embed opportunities into the fabric of Northwestern where students learn about and are challenged to wrestle with issues of diversity, social inequalities, social justice and inclusion In Progress for Student Affairs
Facility Establish NUBAA archives In Progress
BSETF Increase the number of Black students, faculty and staff In Progress
Facility Intentionally plan and implement programs through which African American/Black students can connect with older students In Progress

Under Review

The following items are currently under review, or no action has been taken on the item at this time. Items in this section will continue to be reviewed in order to determine how best to address the concern at a future date.


MSA Re-establish an advisory council consisting of current students, alumni, faculty and administrators whose participation will help shape new programs No Action Taken
Facility Create a Black House advisory board No Action Taken
Facility Add flat screen monitors to the Black House for announcements and NUBBAA archival information Under Review
MSA Provide academic advising by school or major as a resource in the Black House Under Review
BSETF Require a course in diversity and inclusion Under Review
Facility Create a research institute that produces, administers and studies cultural competency/power and privilege training for faculty and staff. Incentivize faculty participation in the training. Heavily recommend or require training for staff and teaching assistants Under Review
BSETF Create a center of leadership training in the Black House No Action Taken
BSETF Provide multiple options for space where students can socialize (Norris, Parkes and the Great Room) Under Review
MSA Transform the Black House into a cultural and intellectual center No Action Taken
Facility Involve faculty in advising and programming Under Review
BSETF Create a Scholars-in-Residence Program Under Review
Facility Collaborate with NUBAA to host a campaign to solicit memorabilia and stories Under Review
MSA Have the Director of African American Student Affairs reside on the third floor No Action Taken
Facility Coordinate services and programs with The International Office and The Graduate School to better meet the needs of students Under Review
Facility Re-institute an associate dean-level position for African American Student Affairs No Action Taken
Facility Make space for a NUBAA Archives display in the northwest corner of the second floor Under Review

Next Steps

The university will continue to make progress on these initiatives over the coming year. Quarterly updates about progress will be shared and posted to this website. Three subcommittees, as recently announced by the Provost, Vice President for Student Affairs, and the Associate Provost and Chief Diversity Officer, have been formed and will begin their work over the next year on the following three areas:


It is our goal to make progress on behalf of our students and Northwestern University. As Northwestern is committed to creating and maintaining an inclusive and dynamic environment, we look forward to the positive impacts these actions will have on our community.