This report concludes with fourteen recommendations for improving the Black student experience at Northwestern. These recommendations are not listed in any order of priority.
1. Increase the number of Black students, faculty, and staff.
In conversations with the Office of Undergraduate Admissions, their recruitment efforts have resulted in an increase in Black student applicants; however, the yield of those applicants remains low. It is clear that the students who chose not to come to Northwestern go to other universities because of the financial aid packages they are offered. Many of these students are middle class, and our financial aid structure does not provide them a financial package that is competitive with our peer institutions. Options for aid for middle class Black families is integral in increasing our Black student enrollment.
Northwestern should increase its efforts to increase the pipeline of Black faculty. Investing in programs like Melon Mays and other research opportunities is key in addressing the lack of Black faculty in any given field. Additionally, we should be relentless in our recruitment and development of Black faculty. We should ensure that faculty search committees use the resources provided by the Associate Provost for Faculty, and we should try to create a cohort of faculty of color.
Recruitment and retention of Black staff at all levels of the University is important to Northwestern’s future. A climate study should occur which would give the University more information about specific areas of improvement. Support efforts that encourage this group to build community is key.
2. Provide multiple options for space where students can socialize.
One finding in the data is the sense of diverse Black identities and experiences that cannot all be encompassed in the Black House alone. So it seems like a good moment to call for the creation of new spaces for Black connection and community building, but ones which are open to student definition and creation. Therefore, in addition to the Black House, the task force recommends three space options for making Northwestern accessible to Black students for social purposes. The guidelines for reserving the spaces should be broadly understood and have clearly articulated policies.
Parkes is in need of significant renovation. Parkes is an ideal space for students to be able to host their large social events.
The Great Room
The Great Room is a smaller space and would be ideal for more intimate gatherings.
Norris University Center
The Louis Room in Norris is another space that could be used for on-campus social events.
3. Pre-Orientation Opportunities
Create more pre-orientation opportunities, curricular and co-curricular, for students to build relationships with peers, faculty, and staff early on.
4. Create a Research Institute
Create a research institute that produces, administers, and studies cultural competency/power and privilege trainings for faculty and staff. Incentivize faculty participation in the training. Heavily recommend or require training for staff and teaching assistants.
5. Embed Opportunities
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.
Social Inequalities & Diversities Course Requirement
The undergraduate schools that have not adopted a Social Inequalities and Diversities Course Requirement should prioritize the curricular review of the proposed Social Inequalities and Diversities Course Requirement primarily focused on the United States.
Funding for Student Trainings
Provide funding to expand opportunities for students to engage in identity, power and privilege, and cultural competency trainings through the co-curriculum both within and across communities.
6. Create an Academic Support Hub
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.
7. Cultural Audit of all Northwestern Buildings & Spaces
Conduct a cultural audit of all Northwestern buildings and spaces to ensure they are representative of the diversity that exists within the University community.
8. Providing Data to University Administrators
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.
9. Listen to Black students regularly
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 advisors.
Intentionally plan and implement programs through which African American/Black students can connect with older students.
11. Review Wildcat Welcome
Review Wildcat Welcome and identify ways it can be more inclusive and welcoming for African American/Black students.
12. Challenge Fraternities & Sororities
Challenge the members of 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.
13. Provide support to NPHC & MGC
Provide more support for the National Pan-Hellenic Council and Multicultural Greek Council organizations
14. Create initiatives
Create initiatives to support African American/Black undergraduate women