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In Spring 2015, Vice President for Student Affairs, Dr. Patricia Telles-Irvin, submitted her 2015-2016 goals. They included convening a Black Student Experience Task Force to explore and address the satisfaction of today’s African American/Black undergraduates at Northwestern University. Members of the task force were appointed in November 2015.

The charge was two-fold:

  1. Conduct a thorough review of the existing Black student satisfaction data and reach an understanding of its contributing factors; and
  2. Generate recommended strategies and systems Northwestern can employ to improve the satisfaction of the Black undergraduate student community.

More specifically, the following questions and expectations guided this inquiry. These questions and expectations consider the past and anticipate the future.

General Research Findings

What are the major research findings related to the satisfaction of Black students in predominantly White colleges and universities?

The Historical Perspective

How can the history of Black students at Northwestern inform our understanding of the current campus climate?

The Black Student Experience at Northwestern

How can the data we have from the last 5 years inform the questions we need to ask to better understand the dissatisfaction of Black students at Northwestern?

Supplemental Data Collection

What questions arise from the data that currently exists about Black student dissatisfaction? What methodology can be employed to answer these questions?

Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, & Threats (SWOT) Analysis

Based on the information gathered and generated above, please summarize the overall current status of the Black student experience at Northwestern in terms of four dimensions: strengths, weaknesses, threats (internal and external), and opportunities to improve.

Critical Issues & Program Priorities

Based on the above analysis, please identify and define the critical issues confronting the Black student experience at Northwestern and the program priorities that should be addressed.


Please recommend specific objectives to address the critical issues and program priorities defined by the Task Force, including a suggested implementation plan that identifies responsible parties and a reasonable implementation schedule.