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Task Force Meeting Notes

Subcommittee A

May 31, 2019

  1. Attendees introduce themselves.
  2. John Dunkle provides a brief overview of the reach of the focus groups – eight sessions were held in May, 2019, with 36 total participants (all undergraduates by design).
  3. Co-facilitators share their experiences with the structure and process of the focus groups. Overall, students were engaged and appreciated the opportunity to share their experiences.
    1. The structure of the focus groups provides students an opportunity to articulate the complexity of their concerns.
    2. The student composition of each focus group shaped the dynamic or depth of the conversations.
  4. A conversation ensues around a seven-page themes/findings document drafted by OSC using the data collected in the eight focus groups. Attendees confirm that they feel good about the identified themes. The themes in the document include:
    1. Current campus culture.
    2. Acknowledgement of the existence of many useful and effectively delivered resources.
    3. Difficulty navigating resources.
    4. Tension between individual responsibility and wanting staff to help.
    5. Emphasis on relationships (e.g., with advisors, faculty, staff, peers, etc.) on campus.
    6. Exacerbated needs of low-income students.
    7. De-stigmatization of help-seeking behaviors.
    8. Inconsistency in support and accommodations students receive and perceive.
    9. Desire for greater training and engagement of faculty and staff.
    10. University policies that may affect student well-being.
  5. The subcommittee discusses the approach to the upcoming June 3 full Task Force meeting and the Task Force’s future engagement.

April 30, 2019

  1. Attendees introduce themselves.
  2. Task Force co-chairs explain that the Task Force now has a written charge and has been structured in a way that positions it to make substantial and efficient progress.
  3. The Task Force website is introduced and the co-chairs provide a preview.
  4. There is a comment form that will allow for additional feedback and data collection. After submission, it is decided that there will be an automatic response to inform students of existing resources at Northwestern. Members of the Task Force Steering Committee will receive and review all comment submissions.
  5. It is established that meeting notes from the all-Task Force and subcommittee meetings will be published on the website.
  6. The data collection methodology is discussed.
  7. After the Task Force co-chairs share their availability for the next two weeks, it is decided that eight focus groups with 6-8 participants will be scheduled between May 6th and May 17th, 2019, and each one will be led by a subcommittee co-chair and a subcommittee member. The co-chairs are eager to start with a few smaller sessions with select students and then use a random selection method to invite more students (from different campuses and years) to share their experiences. Undergraduate students will be the focus for May’s focus groups.
  8. Conversations are held around the length, size, location, and time of the focus groups, all keeping into consideration student comfort, location, and existing commitments both during and after school hours. Incentives for participation are deliberated.
  9. Each focus group will be facilitated by a subcommittee A co-chair; an additional subcommittee A member will co-facilitate.
  10. The focus group protocol is discussed, and a conversation ensues around the questions that will be asked. Themes include overall well-being, barriers to existing resources, and awareness of and accessibility to resources.
  11. Invitations to students are discussed, and a path forward is determined. Invitation emails will be sent out with a link a form that students will fill out to select the focus group they would like to attend.
  12. Thank you emails and a potential feedback survey after the focus groups are completed are discussed.

Subcommittee B

May 28, 2019

  • Mona distributed list of student demands from undergraduate students
  • Starting to see themes emerge from data collection
  • Feedback on final report to be presented to entire Taskforce
  • Excel table (on Box) - “Concerns, Current data, What questions does this raise, Opportunities”
    • Want to go through list and ask ourselves a few questions
      • Are there concerns not represented on this list?
      • What do we need to know more about?
      • What recommendations can we make now?
      • Graduate and professional students?
  • Graduate student feel more isolated because none of these services in place (like Wildcat Welcome)
  • We need to know more about graduate schools and professional schools
  • HPAW developing overall wellness website
    • ASG members expressed interest
  • Language use – “students” should mean all students- Undergrad, Grad, and Professional. If not all encompassing, needs to be denoted
  • Where are students being advised to go? To resources within school or university resources?
  • Opportunity to streamline communication?
  • Navigating insurance is hard – messaging can change
  • Difference between navigating health system which NU does not control,  and navigating NU, which we do control
  • Faculty Engagement very important
  • Some faculty want to implement Mental Health First Aid
  • Faculty and Staff very accommodating to students who have physical illness, but the majority of our cases are mental illness
  • Burning question for me is what is the acceptable amount of class time missed before cannot return?
  • Will consolidate info for June 3 meeting.

May 17, 2019

All of the Data

  • Presented by: Amy Huntington from student data

Data Around Wellness and Well-being

1. Psychological/Emotional
  1. Resilience
  2. Belonging
  3. Stress
  4. Mental Health
2.  Physical / Health
  • Sleep
  • Alcohol/drugs
  • Physical safety
  • Sexual health
3.  External/Climate
  • Discrimination
  • Diversity
Metrics can be Examined by Standard Demographics
  • Sex
  • Race / ethnicity
  • Sexual orientation
  • Class Year – Matriculation year
  • Residence (sometimes)
Philosophies of Comparisons
  • Benchmarking vs what’s appeal/ideal
  • Benchmarking tell you what’s happening nationally, not whether or not we’re in health levels
  • NU might want to hold itself at a higher level than “not worse than our peers”
Psychological/Emotional Resilience
  • MSL 2018
  • COFHE Enrolled Student Survey
  • Healthy Minds 2018
  • Prescription Drugs 2018

May 1, 2019

  1. Attendees introduce themselves
  2. Co-chairs explain that it took some time to reorganize and tackle this large amount of work
  3. Committee reviews task force charge and subcommittee task
    1. Task includes reviewing existing data on student mental and physical wellness, looking for trends, and identifying areas of high need
  4. Look at this work in 3 buckets, perhaps look add policies to the third category outlined in the framework
    1. Previous reports from Task Forces
      1. Reports from Black Student Experience Task Force, Undergraduate Residential Experience Committee, Faculty Task Force on the Undergraduate Academic Experience, Faculty Wellness Initiative, preliminary reports/results from Undergraduate Lifecycle Initiative and GQNBT Task force
      2. Are there documented gaps in student mental/physical health needs?
    2. Data
      1. Amy Huntington, Student Affairs Assessment will be helpful
      2. Review surveys, internal departmental data, etc.
    3. Current programs, resources- maybe include policies in here
      1. What programs and resources already exists?
      2. Medical leave of absence policy, concussion policy, etc.
  5. Committee discusses what a final report will look like from this subcommittee? Don’t want it to be repetitive and want it to be digestible.
  6. Committee discusses scope and meaning of mental and physical health
    1. Mental health includes social and emotional health dimensions of wellness
    2. Academic aspects/curriculum are in scope for this initiative—impacts mental wellbeing
  7. Discussion of existing and potential gaps
    1. Unequal access to health insurance
    2. Gaps for students with particular identities
  8. Want to develop a positive model to help students flourish
    1. “surviving” vs. thriving/flourishing
The Subcommittee then divided into groups to address the three different categories of the framework:
Task Force Reports
  • Fabiola Montiel
  • Cindy Conlon
  • Lauren-Ashley Buchanan
  • Marianna Kepka 
  • Kim Seipel Carrow
  • Jonathan  Yates
  • Angela Mitchell
  • Amy Huntington
  • Emma Leavens
  • Emily Ash
  • Candy Lee
  • Mona Dugo