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Recommendations and Implementation

Spring 2022 Implementation Update

Northwestern leaders across campus have been involved in implementing the Lifecycle Recommendations since the 2019-2020 academic year.  This implementation effort has been spearheaded by a number of leaders in the undergraduate schools, the Office of the Provost, and Student Affairs, including the original Lifecycle Committee co-leads: the Associate Provost for Undergraduate Education, Vice President for Student Affairs, and Associate Provost for Diversity and Inclusion and Chief Diversity Officer.

The following table provides an overview of key priority areas, recently implemented actions, and continuing work as they relate to the original 9 recommendations (found in the section below). This table is by no means a comprehensive list of the important work that has been done across the institution since 2019 but is meant to serve as examples of implemented changes.

Priority Areas Implemented Work Upcoming/Ongoing Work

Lifecycle Rec(s).

1. Coordinate and expand faculty Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) efforts.  Develop a coordinated structure to disseminate information, design professional development programs, support mentoring, and foster an inclusive academic community.

*NU Principles of Inclusive Teaching established

*Northwestern has launched an Inclusive Teaching practicum

*TGS’ Office of Diversity and Inclusion Social Justice Mini-Grant Program

*IDEA mentoring and leadership program in development stages

*Numerous student mentorship programs and workshops in development

Rec. 1

2. Increase diversity of faculty and staff.  Diversify faculty and staff through careful hiring, promotion, and retention practices.

*Enacted the Diverse Candidate Slates Policy

*Provost developed Faculty Search Guidelines
*Work continues in a number of schools and central units to ensure an equitable and racially just framework for hiring and promotion of faculty and staff. Rec. 3
3. Support students with wraparound services across their four years at Northwestern.  Centralize and coordinate programs/resources that serve this student population so students are better able to access, navigate, and utilize them. Develop a cohort model for students that would support selected students from matriculation through graduation.

*The Student Enrichment Services’ Compass Program

*Knight Community Scholars Program launched in 2019
Rec. 6 and Rec. 7
4. Enhance and coordinate the transition period between admission and enrollment for students and their families to ease the transition into Northwestern.  Streamline and improve communication and operational logistics for students before they arrive on campus or enroll in their first full term of coursework. *Undergraduate Schools continue to enhance and expand pre-enrollment opportunities for students *The Office of FGLI Initiatives will seek opportunities to support and amplify pre-enrollment efforts of schools on behalf of FGLI students in the period before fall quarter begins. Rec. 5
5. Identify and remove systemic institutional barriers that inhibit the student experience. Design and implement systemic solutions that enable students to fully participate in the student experience from Day One.  Evaluate policies and practices that impact students’ sense of well-being, belonging, and ability to navigate the University.

*Incremental solutions have been implemented, such as increased RA compensation and a Student Activities Assistance Fund

*Books for Cats

*Development of a new Office for FGLI Initiatives in 2022

*With input from stakeholders, leadership will continue to identify systemic barriers and partner to create sustained, transformative shifts in identified areas of inequitable systems.

*Office of FGLI Initiatives, SES and CIC will partner in order to identify barriers and create solutions in support of marginalized students in partnership with offices across campus.
Rec. 4
6. Community building space. Dedicate a central, welcoming and accessible space that becomes a hub for opportunities to build community and student support. The space will provide a central community space for students and the opportunity for faculty and staff to come together to support this student population. *Northwestern has approved a plan to renovate and improve the Student Enrichment Services space within Foster-Walker as a mid-term solution. Rec. 8
7. Professional Development.  Create professional development resources for all faculty, staff and students that includes specific opportunities to understand the experiences of students that identify solely or jointly as first-generation, low-income and URM. All faculty and staff should participate in professional development that aligns with University diversity, equity and inclusion goals.

*Senior leaders completed anti-racism and social justice training over the Fall of 2020

*Many other leaders on campus participated in the “next 250” anti-racism and social justice programming in 2021

*Northwestern joined the AAU Racial Equity Leadership Alliance

*TGS’ Office of Diversity and Inclusion (ODI) ODI Professional Development Series explores best practices in graduate school writing and teaching
*The Office of Equity and Education Council for an Inclusive Northwestern (ECIN) are launching a train-the-trainer program to expand anti-racism and social justice training in 2022. Rec. 9

 

Recommendations

Faculty Engagement Workgroup

Recommendation 1: Coordinate & expand faculty Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) efforts: Current efforts are disconnected, leading to redundancies and gaps. The Workgroup recommended a coordinated structure to distribute information, design professional development programs, support mentoring, and provide space to foster an inclusive academic community.

  • Within the context of coordinated DEI efforts, deliver systemic support for mentoring, which in the short term can include a program that allows students to take faculty members to lunch to build mentoring relationships and in the long term can include more robust mentoring programs.
  • Present stories of students who identify solely or jointly across first-generation, low-income, and underrepresented minority (URM) identities in narrative video form.
  • Develop professional development programs for faculty and provide resources to departments for proactive engagement of lifecycle students.
  • Create a mentoring portal to better match students with faculty mentors.

Recommendation 2: Develop faculty incentives: Identify, incentivize, and reward faculty contributions that support this student population at the individual, department, school, and institutional levels.

  • Collect baseline data on current faculty engagement and reward exemplary practice; develop strengthened incentives like designated faculty time.

Recommendation 3: Prioritize hiring and promotion: Diversify the faculty through careful hiring practices; quantify, recognize, and elevate contributions of existing faculty.

  • Create and disseminate DEI guidelines for faculty searches; Designated faculty hiring with emphasis on increasing diversity.

Navigating the University Workgroup

Recommendation 4: Implement institutional changes that streamline infrastructure and increase communication across the institution.

  • Designate a role to lead a coordinated, cross-unit response to data regarding students that identify solely or jointly across first-generation, low-income and URM identities.
  • Identify and evaluate steps to lower costs for students (ideas include examining increasing the student activity fee to create a voucher system for student org. events, standardized housing costs, RA compensation, university refund schedule, and textbook costs); conduct ongoing evaluation of policies and procedures that impact students’ sense of well-being, belonging, and ability to navigate the University.

Recommendation 5: Increase communication with early- and regular-decision students before they matriculate.

  • Build out and focus on new student and family programming and first-year experience programming and the offices that support these areas. Make information for students who identify as first-generation, low-income, and/or URM more easily accessible on Northwestern’s website. Develop materials for guidance counselors specific to the needs of this population of students. Streamline and improve communication with current students and staff; expand outreach between admitted students and current students and/or staff who are knowledgeable about the FGLI/URM experience of Northwestern; and develop more events for students and families.

Recommendation 6: Develop and expand programming that provides four-plus years of support to students that identify solely or jointly as first-generation, low-income, and URM.

  • Centralize, coordinate and expand pre-enrollment and mentoring with the support of a new role within the Office of the Associate Provost for Undergraduate Education; Develop a course or workshop on the hidden curriculum; draft a universal syllabus statement or Canvas module on resources.
  • Expand and extend the range of programs and opportunities to support students later in the Lifecycle; increase visibility and access to these opportunities to include peer mentoring and community-building programs so that they are better able to access, navigate, and utilize resources. Create a mobile app for student navigation that connects students to a customized set of offices and individuals for their support.

Resources: Academic, Co-curricular, and Community Workgroup

Recommendation 7: Community scholars program: Develop a cohort model for students that identify solely or jointly as first-generation, low-income, and URM that would support selected students from matriculation through graduation. The program would provide a sense of community and comprehensive support for selected students, as well as access to an advising system set up to help them navigate resources across campus. Scholars will also receive a range of proactive, targeted support services from existing units across campus.

  • A Community Scholars Liaison model that will support a community scholars program can be implemented before the program’s rollout, providing greater structure across existing units that support this student population; Identification of prospective program participants through partnership with Admissions, Financial Aid and Student Enrichment Services can begin to help connect current students with existing resources. Faculty and staff who will serve as Community Scholar Liaisons must be provided with additional opportunities to specialize in supporting lifecycle students.

Recommendation 8: Community building space: Dedicate a central, welcoming, and accessible space that becomes a hub for opportunities to build community and student support. The space will provide a central community space for students and the opportunity for faculty and staff to come together to support this student population.

  • This space should specifically provide enhanced space for Student Enrichment Services (SES) and hoteling spaces for departments and programs that serve Lifecycle students to hold office hours and collaborate with one another; it is important to engage the student voice in developing the space.
  • It is also important to partner with other initiatives and units with similar goals to build more student-focused space such as Academic Support and Learning Advancement (ASLA) and the future Academic Resource Center (ARC).

Recommendation 9: Professional Development: Create professional development resources for all faculty, staff and students that includes specific opportunities to understand the experiences of students that identify solely or jointly as first-generation, low-income, and URM. All faculty and staff should participate in professional development that aligns with University diversity, equity, and inclusion goals.

  • Student-focused professional development
  • Staff-focused professional development