University Messages

Since the announcement of President Aoun’s Action Plan, we continue to work toward our collective goals around diversity, equity, and inclusion. Check here for the latest universitywide communications outlining our plans and progress.

Dear Northeastern Community:

I write to share the results of the 2021 Diversity and Equity Campus Climate survey which was administered to all faculty, staff, and students last spring. The purpose of the survey is to understand the university’s climate regarding diversity, equity and inclusion, to surface gaps in belonging within and across communities, and to advance our commitment to create a more inclusive university. The Climate Survey is a critical component of President Aoun’s June 2020 Action Plan to improve university-wide accountability and to “advance our commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion.” The full report is available here.

In early April, we held dialogues with university leadership to discuss the results of the survey and their implications. In response to the Climate Survey, university leaders are preparing Action Plans for their units to address identified areas for improvement raised in the survey. The Action Plans will contribute to increasing our accountability and progress toward fostering a more diverse, equitable, and inclusive climate.

There is more to be done, and it bears repeating that creating a more inclusive university is a continuous journey, not a specific destination. We look forward to our collective work ahead in building a welcoming and inclusive community where individuals of all identities, backgrounds, and experiences can thrive, have a strong sense of belonging, and achieve academic and professional success.

Kind regards,

Karl W. Reid, Ed.D., CDP
Pronouns (He/His/Him)
Chief Inclusion Officer

To all members of the Northeastern community:

Northeastern University condemns the recent act of violence in Buffalo, New York, in which 10 people were killed and three wounded. This mass shooting was carried out in a predominantly Black neighborhood, reportedly targeted by the gunman for that reason according to statements made by law enforcement. We mourn the loss of innocent lives and stand with the affected families and the people of Buffalo as they grieve and seek answers and healing.

This incident underscores Northeastern’s commitment to cultivating safe, inclusive spaces for all our students, faculty, and staff where individuals of all identities, backgrounds, and experiences can thrive, have a strong sense of belonging, and achieve academic and professional success.

In the coming days, there will be opportunities and spaces available for members of our community to mourn, pray and reflect together. There are many resources available for you should you need them, including the following:

Confidential counseling is available for students and staff. Students can contact University Health and Counseling Services located on Forsyth Street or by calling 617-373-2772. Additionally, UHCS has a 24/7 mental health support service called Find@Northeastern that offers students access to a licensed mental health clinician at any time from any location in the world by calling 877-233-9477 or +1-781-457-7777 (Intl.). Student support is also available from the Center for Spirituality Dialogue and Service at 617-373-2728, the John D. O’Bryant African American Institute at 617-373-3143 and from WeCare at wecare@northeastern.edu or 617-373-7591.

Faculty and staff can contact the Employee Assistance Program at 800-625-5544 or at eap.ndbh.com and use company code: Northeastern University.

As always, the Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion is available for support at diversity@northeastern.edu.

In mourning,

Karl W. Reid, Ed.D.
Chief Inclusion Officer

Madeleine Estabrook
Senior Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs

Dear Students, Faculty, and Staff,

Northeastern has one of the largest, most diverse global interfaith communities in higher education, with over 50 groups and thousands observing holidays annually across the global campus network. We write now to draw your attention to a season that has special significance to many community members and requires accommodation around schedules and assignments.

Ramadan, the holy month of fasting for Muslims, will begin this year on Saturday, April 2nd and continue until Sunday, May 1st. The end of Ramadan is marked by the holiday of Eid-ul-Fitr, which will likely take place on Monday, May 2nd. Sometimes there is variation in the exact start and end dates of Ramadan, depending on how Muslims interpret the lunar calendar each year. Ramadan is a time for introspection, devotion, and service, as well as time for communal worship and cooperation. Those observing Ramadan abstain from food and drink from dawn until sunset each day. After sunset, the fast is traditionally broken with dates and a drink, after which the evening prayer is performed. In the late evening, Muslims often gather for congregational night prayers at the mosque or in homes, sometimes offering prayers deep into the night. The pre-dawn meal is then eaten before starting a new fast the following day.

Please be aware that fasting takes a physical toll on students and they may experience fatigue especially in the latter half of the day. Students may need to request academic accommodations while observing Ramadan, particularly when classes, exams, or labs fall during the evening hours and coincide with the time of the breaking of the fast. Students may also request additional time to complete assignments due to the rigorous schedule of fasting and prayer during Ramadan. Please work with students to ensure that they are able to meet their religious obligations without compromising their academic success.

The university also respects the religious observances of faculty and staff.

If you have any questions about Ramadan and the accommodations process, you can reach out to Alexander Levering Kern, Executive Director and Lead Spiritual Advisor at the Center for Spirituality, Dialogue and Service, or Muslim Spiritual Advisors Najiba Akbar or Fayez Khwaja. You may also consult Northeastern’s policies for students found here.

Thank you for your attention and care for our learners’ needs, and “Ramadan Mubarak” to all who are observing.

Sincerely,

Alexander Levering Kern (he/him/his), M.Div.
Executive Director and Lead Spiritual Advisor
Center for Spirituality, Dialogue and Service

Najiba Akbar (she/her/hers) and Fayez Khwaja (he/him/his)
Muslim Spiritual Advisors

Karl W. Reid (he/him/his), Ed.D.
Chief Inclusion Officer

Deb Franko (she/her/hers), Ph.D.
Senior Vice Provost for Academic Affairs

To all members of the Northeastern Community:

Last year, President Aoun announced a series of action steps that Northeastern would take to combat individual, institutional, and systemic racism. To embark on this work as an institution, Northeastern is launching online anti-racism and cultural literacy training that will be required of the entire university community—students, faculty, and staff—across our global network. The spirit of requiring everyone in our community to participate in this training is to promote our collective support for all things that improve our pursuit of shared values and communal efficacy.

Please be on the lookout tomorrow for an email containing the link from Academic Impressions, our partner who created the customized training in consultation with community members representing a broad cross section of the university.

The purpose of the training is to better equip our community to combat racism and other systemic inequities. The training comprises four interactive modules that introduce basic concepts, raise awareness, and inspire us to think about how we can apply these learnings in our everyday lives. The first three modules should be completed by December 15; the fourth module must be completed by March 31, 2022, though we encourage you to complete it sooner. The email you receive from Academic Impressions tomorrow contains all the necessary details; additional internal and external resources about racial literacy, diversity, and inclusion can be found here: https://provost.northeastern.edu/odei/resources/anti-racism-resources/.

Thank you in advance for committing to learn about and reflect on these important topics. Your active participation is a critical step toward creating a more welcoming, inclusive university in which everyone can thrive.

Regards,

David Madigan
Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs

To all members of the Northeastern Community:

Yesterday I learned that a sacred religious symbol, known as a mezuzah, was desecrated at Northeastern’s Hillel House near the Boston campus. The Northeastern University Police Department is investigating this incident; at this time they do not believe the suspect is affiliated with the university.

No matter its origin, this despicable act has left members of our Jewish community justifiably upset, saddened, and even fearful. They are experiencing firsthand an instance of senseless hate, coming at a time when the ancient scourge of anti-Semitism is on the rise across the U.S. and around the world.

We must respond first with compassion and empathy. We must offer an endless well of support, standing in unity with our Jewish classmates, colleagues, and friends.

This incident will not shake our shared commitment to the values that are fundamental to our community: fairness, respect, diversity, inclusion, and resilience. I ask each person within our community to do at least one thing today to embrace and exemplify those values, no matter how small the act. By living our core values, we affirm our shared humanity.

So let us move forward together, advancing our mission of knowledge and discovery by acting as members of one indivisible human family.

Sincerely,
Joseph E. Aoun
President

Dear Colleagues,

I am writing today to remind you about a key component in our diversity, equity, and inclusion strategy, namely our faculty and staff affinity groups. I hope that you would consider joining one or more of these important communities.

Northeastern’s affinity groups, supported by the Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (formerly the Office of Institutional Diversity and Inclusion), provide our employees with a supportive environment where they can find community among those who share their identities, engage in professional and personal development activities, and give back to proximal communities through charitable efforts. In addition, they provide leadership opportunities for members and foster engagement with senior leadership.

The diverse experiences, skills, and backgrounds our faculty and staff bring to work every day are what make Northeastern successful. The affinity groups help ensure that our campuses are more welcoming and inclusive for all who work at Northeastern.

I encourage you to consider joining an affinity group listed below and to support your colleagues’ participation as well. To find out more or to join a group, go to the following link. If you would like to learn more about how to create a new affinity group, please contact Karl Reid, Senior Vice Provost and Chief Inclusion Officer.

Regards,

David Madigan
Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs

Our current faculty and staff affinity groups include:
NU DREAM
NU Future Leaders
NU Native and Indigenous
NU Parents
NU LGBTQA+
NU Asian Faculty and Staff
NU Black Faculty and Staff Association

The recent upsurge in anti-Asian violence and bigotry throughout the COVID-19 pandemic has attracted renewed attention on a long-standing problem. The event series Asia America and the World invites the Northeastern community to interact with a diverse slate of scholars who are addressing critical issues confronting Asian American communities from a global or transnational perspective.

Get details and register for events here.

Presented by the Asian Studies Program, the College of Social Sciences and Humanities, and the Office of the Provost, and co-sponsored by the Humanities Center, this event series is open to the entire community across the Northeastern Global Network. All events will be supported by ASL interpreters. Registration is required.

Monday, Sept. 27, 2021 (Hybrid)
4:00 PM ET
Anti-Asian American Pacific Islander Hate in the Time of COVID-19
Russell Jeung, San Francisco State University; Founder, Stop AAPI Hate
_____________________________________________

Thursday, Oct. 7, 2021 (Hybrid)
4:00 PM ET
Amidst Pandemic and Racial Upheaval: Where Asian Americans Fit

Jane Junn, University of Southern California
______________________________________________

Thursday, Oct. 28, 2021 (Virtual)
6:00 PM ET
Extraordinary Precarities: Overseas Filipino Workers During Pandemic Times
Dada Docot, Purdue University
______________________________________________

Wednesday, Dec. 1, 2021 (Virtual)
4:00 PM ET
The Chinese Question: The Gold Rushes and Global Politics
Mae Ngai, Columbia University
______________________________________________

Thursday, Feb. 10, 2022 (Hybrid)
4:00 PM ET
Race, Religion, and Belonging of South Asian Americans: 20 Years After 9/11
Sangay Mishra, Drew University
______________________________________________

Thursday, Mar. 24, 2022 (Hybrid)
4:00 PM ET
Menace to Empire: Anticolonial Solidarities and the Transpacific Origins of the US Security State
Moon-Ho Jung, University of Washington

To All Members of the Northeastern Community:

One year ago, President Aoun announced a series of critical action steps Northeastern would take to combat individual, institutional, and systemic racism. As senior vice presidents with direct oversight over much of this work, the president charged us with executing the strategy and providing updates to the Northeastern community. We would like to emphasize, however, that all members of our community must work together in making this work a top priority across every dimension of university life.

A great deal of work remains to be done, but we are pleased to provide an update on our progress:

Representation: As a result of aggressive student recruitment efforts, partnerships, and other enrollment initiatives, the Fall 2021 undergraduate class will be one of the most diverse in our history. The admitted class includes a 147 percent increase in Black students and a 107 percent increase in Latinx students. At the graduate level, admissions to our master’s programs from underrepresented minorities are up 40 percent over the previous year, while our next cohort of PhDs will be close to ten percent Black, Latinx, and Indigenous students compared to four percent in 2020.

Though the faculty recruitment cycle is still in process, we have also made considerable strides in increasing the number of Black, Indigenous, and people of color (BIPOC) faculty who will be joining us for the fall semester. Specifically, of the 67 tenure-stream faculty hired thus far, 21 are underrepresented minority faculty members. This is a significant increase over any previous year.

To further diversify our faculty and staff, hiring managers have ramped up outreach efforts, and we’ve hosted three diversity recruitment forums as well as extensive faculty training on recruitment strategies. We have also created two new employee affinity groups to provide support and community for faculty and staff, including the Black Faculty and Staff Association.

NUPD Community Advisory Board: We successfully assembled and launched the NUPD Community Advisory Board, which met throughout the academic year and developed a series of recommendations to the NUPD. As one example, the NUPD instituted a university-wide distributed feedback system that allows anyone in our community—including residents of our surrounding neighborhoods—to file a complaint, offer a commendation, or request information about NUPD policies and practices. By Fall 2021, we will implement a new approach to managing mental health interventions, roommate conflict calls, and wellness checks on students. The NUPD is also increasing data transparency, beginning with a data dashboard that includes complaints and the use of force by officers.

New Leaders: This spring, Karl Reid joined Northeastern as Senior Vice Provost and Chief Inclusion Officer, a new cabinet-level position. Under this purview, we are implementing proactive diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives to create a truly inclusive university culture. Also, Robert Jose has joined the President’s cabinet as Dean for Cultural and Spiritual Life. He is working closely with Vice Chancellor and Dean of Students Chong Kim-Wong to amplify student voices, reimagine the work of the university’s cultural centers, and promote intercultural engagement across our global network.

New Centers: Last December, Carla Brodley, who has served as the Dean of the Khoury College of Computer Sciences, was appointed as the first Executive Director of the Center for Inclusive Computing. She is leading the Center’s work to increase the representation of women and underrepresented minorities in the computer science field through grantmaking, technical assistance, and data analysis.

Northeastern is also launching the Burnes Family Center for Social Change and Innovation. Established through a $20 million commitment from emerita trustee Nonnie Burnes, L’78, and her husband Rick Burnes, the Center will integrate education, research, experiential engagement, and employment to complement Northeastern’s diversity, equity, and inclusion ecosystem and create cognitive and structural change.

Support for Black Students: Assistant Dean Richard Harris, who has led the Summer Bridge Scholars program designed to successfully introduce first generation and BIPOC students to the College of Engineering, was promoted to lead the expansion of the program throughout all of the colleges. Several colleges have also added DEI staffing and launched new initiatives including support programs for students underrepresented in their disciplines—for example, the new Bouvé Underrepresented in Health Care Student Leadership Council.

Cultural Competency and Anti-Racism Training: In preparation for a mandatory institution-wide training this fall, we are currently developing customized training modules in anti-racism and cultural literacy. This will be followed by more extensive programs and activities, including funding for a comprehensive anti-racism and cultural literacy initiative, and embedding a cultural literacy module in all student, faculty, and staff orientations. As the first step toward new cross-college learning opportunities, we will launch a badge in global and cultural literacy, with an expected start in the fall. We are also updating faculty and staff evaluation processes to include demonstration of support for diversity, inclusion, and equity.

Intercultural Programing: To expand intercultural literacy and learning, the Center for Intercultural Engagement is extending its coordination of programming across Northeastern’s global network. Our cultural centers are also developing new programs and collaborating with our schools and colleges on academic opportunities. As a first step in investing greater resources in our cultural centers, we are renovating the Asian American Center and creating a new shared space in Ell Hall. We have also appointed Associate Professor of History Philip Thai as Northeastern’s new director of Asian Studies, and are relaunching the Asian Studies Speaker series.

Elevate the President’s Council on Diversity and Inclusion: Throughout the pandemic, the Council hosted multiple educational events, including sessions on anti-Asian racism and on white supremacy and democracy. It has also expanded its membership to be more representative of our global community. It has invited university leaders to provide progress updates, and has worked closely with University Decision Support on creating external and internal dashboards. Other activities included leading a working group that led to the Spring 2021 campus climate survey, several campus-wide events and racial literacy pop-ups, and working closely with every group in the university-wide Beyond 2025 strategic planning process.

Council members also led the working group on Northeastern’s Race, Technology and Social Justice Institute, to be launched in the coming academic year. This institute will advance racial equity by fostering collaborative research, teaching, and practice at the intersections of studies of race, ethnicity, culture, ethics, and technology. Its work will include seed funding for multidisciplinary research teams and partnerships with community colleges and high schools to promote technological and civic literacy.

Improve University-wide Accountability: As noted above, in Spring 2021 we administered a diversity and equity campus climate survey, the results of which will be available later this summer. As we further incorporate diversity, equity, and inclusion goals in faculty and staff searches, promotions, and annual assessments, we launched public diversity dashboards that display current statistics for students, faculty, and staff, along with progress toward our goals.

Deepen Community Engagement: With partners in the Boston community, we are helping launch the Underground Café and Lounge, a local and minority-owned business. This is a pilot for local small businesses that includes affordable rents, support for fit-out, marketing, and other technical and business supports. We’re also working with partners to bring other Black-owned businesses to the new project at 840 Columbus Avenue. To foster broader economic development, we invested $258,000 in new co-ops to support community organizations. Among numerous other community donations, we launched the Neighbors Uplifting Neighbors Award to support local resident-led initiatives. In addition, Northeastern donated more than $280,000 worth of pandemic supplies to the Whittier Street Health Center.

Amplify our Impact through our Employer Partners: We launched the NU PLACE (Northeastern University Professional Career Engagement Program) initiative to engage employer partners recognized for recruiting and developing talent from underrepresented minorities. This will centralize information and services supporting the professional development needs of diverse students. To assist student job searches, we “tagged” employers recognized for their diversity efforts, and we are offering employers a diversity recruitment seminar as well as a best-practices and support guide.

These are important steps forward. But rather than a destination to be reached, a more diverse and inclusive Northeastern should be viewed as an ongoing journey and commitment. Together, let us continue this crucial work, advance our mission of societal impact, and create a future of justice and equity for all.

Sincerely,

Ken Henderson, Chancellor and Senior Vice President for Learning
David Madigan, Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs
Ralph Martin, Senior Vice President and General Counsel
Tom Nedell, Senior Vice President for Finance and Treasurer

To all members of the Northeastern University community:

On June 1, Provost David Madigan announced that Northeastern University will begin formally recognizing Juneteenth as a university holiday, this year on Friday, June 18, 2021. In that notice, he also promised to provide more information about the university events that will take place leading up to the holiday.

I am writing today with details about several opportunities for members of our global network to learn, reflect, and celebrate the historical significance of this holiday. Because the events will be both virtual and in person, we invite members of our global network and proximate communities to participate.

Pensive BLM Poetry Reading in Honor of Juneteenth (Hybrid)
When: Wednesday, June 16, 2021, 6:30-7:30pm EDT
Location: Northeastern University Sacred Space, 200 Ell Hall, and virtually via Zoom

A hybrid event featuring student artists and nationally-acclaimed contributors to Northeastern’s Pensive: A Global Journal of Spirituality & the Arts (www.pensivejournal.com)

The History and Contemporary Significance of Juneteenth (Virtual)
When: Thursday, June 17, 2021, 11:30am-1:30pm EDT
Location: Virtual Webinar and Panel Discussion

A virtual keynote presentation featuring Pulitzer Prize-winning author and historian Annette Gordon-Reed, author of On Juneteenth, followed by a panel discussion to discuss the social, educational, and spiritual legacy of slavery and our efforts to eradicate systemic and institutional barriers to full equity and inclusion.

• Keynote Address: Professor Annette Gordon-Reed, author of On Juneteenth
• Special Presentation: Dr. J. Keith Motley, President and Consultant, Urban League of Massachusetts, Northeastern Alumnus Class of ’78
• Panel Discussion: Dr. Patricia Davis, Associate Professor; Rev. Karlene Griffiths Sekou, Black Lives Matter, Boston; and Rev. Dr. Jay Williams, Union Methodist Church

Juneteenth Celebration Festival (In Person)
When: Thursday, June 17, 2021, 2:00pm-4:00pm EDT
Location: Centennial Common and the John D. O’Bryant African American Institute

An outdoor festival featuring music, food, African dance, and exhibits from local businesses and Northeastern’s Cultural Centers. The John D. O’Bryant African American Institute will host opportunities to learn more about this historical moment in the Institute’s Cabral Center.

The first 250 arrivals will receive a free copy of Annette Gordon-Reed’s book, On Juneteenth.

Juneteenth University Holiday
When: Friday, June 18, 2021

As Provost Madigan noted earlier, by celebrating Juneteenth and other opportunities to interrogate our history and work together for a better future, we are deepening our commitment to becoming a more diverse, equitable, and inclusive community.

Sincerely,

Karl W. Reid
Senior Vice Provost and Chief Inclusion Officer

Dear Northeastern University community,

In the weeks since President Aoun led a community discussion on the rise in hostility and violence toward Asian Pacific Islander Desi American communities, we have engaged with Northeastern students, faculty, and staff from across the university to discuss these issues.

We are writing today to update you on our progress toward developing an action plan for Northeastern. We have grouped our work into two priority areas: enhancing our infrastructure for learning and creating a more inclusive student experience.

Enhancing our Infrastructure for Learning

Learning is foundational to inclusive communities and societies. Toward that end, we are expanding opportunities for our students, faculty, and staff to acquire a deeper understanding of our Asian and Asian American communities through cultural studies, staff training, and professional development.

To help facilitate these efforts, Associate Professor of History Philip Thai has been appointed as Northeastern’s new director of Asian Studies. Professor Thai is a leading scholar of modern China’s legal, economic, and diplomatic history.

We see an immediate opportunity to expand our academic offerings in Asian and Asian American studies, and to improve our existing programs and courses in regional, cultural, racial, and ethnic studies. As part of this effort, the university will relaunch the Asian Studies Speaker series, enabling Asian and Asian American scholars and leaders to share their knowledge and experiences with the Northeastern community. In addition, to kick off an innovative, cross-college approach to broadening learning opportunities, we will offer a badge in global and cultural literacy, with an expected launch this fall.

We will initiate university-wide mandatory training in cultural literacy and anti-racism in the fall 2021 term. Plans are also under way to embed cultural literacy training in student orientations and in new faculty and staff orientations. To ensure shared accountability, university leadership will require offices to incorporate diversity, equity, and inclusion goals in faculty and staff searches, promotions, and annual assessments.

Creating an Inclusive Student Experience

Northeastern aspires to create a student experience that celebrates and supports identity, increases intercultural literacy and learning, promotes academic success, and equips students to forge a more just, equitable, and inclusive world.

The Center for Intercultural Engagement will extend its coordination of intercultural programming across Northeastern’s global network, complementing the essential work of our existing cultural centers. Alongside this work, we will assist our cultural centers in developing and scaling new and existing programs, while facilitating collaboration with our schools and colleges to offer cultural center-based academic opportunities.

We will invest greater resources in our cultural centers, providing more professional development options for our cultural center staff and improving their spaces. As a first step, the university has authorized plans to renovate the Asian American Center and create new shared space in Ell Hall.

Finally, the university’s newly appointed dean of students and vice chancellor, Chong Kim-Wong, will team up with Dean of Cultural and Spiritual Life Robert José to strengthen students’ voices across all dimensions of university life.

In closing, we want to offer our acknowledgement and thanks to all of the students, faculty, and staff who worked with us to co-create these initiatives. Their role is, and will continue to be, vital to our shared success. Our new Senior Vice Provost and Chief Inclusion Officer Karl Reid led much of this work and will continue to play a leadership role in integrating, advancing, and monitoring this critical work.

As President Aoun charged our university community on May 25—at the event marking the one-year anniversary of the murder of George Floyd—this is a time for learning and a time for action. Each of us has a role in this work, whether in expanding our cultural literacy, creating or attending programs that expand our intercultural awareness, or joining our academic work with the lived experiences of our community members.

We look forward to engaging with each of you in this mission to eradicate the scourge of systemic racism and build an inclusive community for all. We will continue to update you regularly on our progress: on these specific plans as well as on the other priorities identified in the President’s Action Plan.

Sincerely,

David Madigan
Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs

Ken Henderson
Chancellor and Senior Vice President for Learning

To all members of the Northeastern University community:

Last year, on June 19, 2020, we suspended operations on all of our campuses and engaged in what President Aoun called an important “day of reflection.” As an institution dedicated to learning, we held a faculty panel discussion on the historical significance of June 19, also known as Juneteenth or Freedom Day. Juneteenth honors the end of slavery in the United States and is considered the longest-running African-American holiday. It dates back to 1865, when federal troops were deployed to Galveston, Texas to enforce the Emancipation Proclamation, which had ended slavery over two and a half years earlier.

This year, Northeastern will begin formally recognizing Juneteenth as a university holiday. Because June 19, 2021, falls on a Saturday, we will recognize Juneteenth on Friday, June 18, 2021. As with any holiday, faculty and staff must ensure continuity of teaching, research, and business operations.

As part of this recognition, all members of the Northeastern community will be encouraged to participate in planned events happening virtually and on campus in June. More information about these events will be announced soon.

By celebrating Juneteenth, we seek to deepen our commitment to becoming a more diverse, equitable, and inclusive community. This work is not accomplished in a single day or a single year; it requires continuous effort and shared purpose.

Sincerely,

David Madigan
Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs

9:29

Moments of Reflection

To all members of the Northeastern community:

May 25, 2021 marks the one-year anniversary of the murder of George Floyd, a devastating tragedy that unleashed a global reckoning about racial injustice and systemic inequalities. Last summer, in the wake of this horrific event, and the protests that followed, Northeastern University committed “to do more to confront anti-Black discrimination, and to achieve our ambitions for diversity, inclusion, and equality on our campuses.”

Informed by listening sessions, town halls, and working groups, President Aoun renewed the university’s commitment to “eradicate the scourge of systemic racism” through an Action Plan that would achieve two goals:

1. Create a purposeful approach that will improve the presence and experiences of all under-represented populations, with particular emphasis on Black Americans, and
2. To make this the work of everyone at Northeastern who is in a position of influence and leadership.

Over the past year, we have made significant progress, though more work must be done to produce a truly inclusive university as our recent work on Anti-Asian Hate attests.

As we look to the future, we know that purposeful reflection is the key to learning. Thus, we are asking that all members of the Northeastern community take a moment – 9 minutes and 29 seconds – the amount of time George Floyd was pressed to the ground by former Officer Derek Chauvin – to pause and reflect on the past, the present, and the future work necessary to construct a roadmap toward inclusive excellence.

Please join President Aoun, members of the Senior Leadership Team, and me, on Centennial Common on the Boston campus in a quiet moment of reflection at 12 noon EDT this Tuesday, May 25. We will gather physically distanced as a community to reflect on this moment, to mourn the unnecessary loss of life due to racial violence, and to renew our commitment to work toward creating inclusive campuses and communities. For those who are unable to join us in person across the global network, whether in a classroom, in an office or lab, or online, please take this opportunity wherever you are to participate in this reflection.

We ask that the whole Northeastern community—faculty, students, staff, and alumni—use this opportunity to pause and reflect.

Let us use this waypoint in time, not to forget the past, but to work toward a better future . . . together.

For more information about this Moment of Reflection, please reach out to me. I look forward to seeing and hearing from you on Tuesday.

Sincerely,
Karl Reid
Senior Vice Provost and Chief Inclusion Officer

To all members of the Northeastern University community:

As we reflect upon the guilty verdicts in George Floyd’s killing, it is clear that we have reached a rare and historical moment on the road to justice and accountability.

Yet, this is not a moment for celebration. Like all milestones, this one also serves as a reminder of how much further we have to travel. With this in mind, we should never stop asking ourselves what we can do—as individuals, as a university community, as a society—to elevate standards of fairness, decency, and human rights.

Northeastern is, first and foremost, an educational institution. Let us use this watershed moment as an opportunity for learning, engagement, and open dialogue. Our new Chief Inclusion Officer, Karl Reid, will join with the leaders of our cultural centers and announce a series of events that will illuminate this milestone—and chart a better path forward.

At the same time, the strategy we outlined in the fall to increase minority representation across the board, further support our students of color, add new cultural trainings for all, and address other urgent priorities, will continue and must now be amplified. I hope each of you will see yourselves as active participants in these important efforts. Building a better university—and indeed a better world—will require every member of this community working together and supporting one another.

Sincerely,

Joseph E. Aoun
President

Dear faculty, students, and staff,

Over the course of the past several months, our university community has been deeply engaged in putting the President’s Action Plan on diversity and inclusion into motion. Our collective charge is clear: Change cannot wait, and we need everyone’s input, best thinking, and steadfast commitment.

I want to inform you of another critical component of our path toward an inclusive community: The Diversity and Equity Campus Climate Survey, which will be sent to the entire campus network this week by Northeastern’s independent survey partner, the nonprofit Higher Education Data Sharing Consortium. You will receive an email from Northeastern@hedsconsortium.org; please be on the lookout for it.

Results from this brief survey will allow us to more fully understand the extent to which you—students, faculty, and staff—feel safe, respected, and included at Northeastern. I recognize that data never provides the full story. But the information from this survey will translate into critical initiatives to improve inclusive culture, support, policies, and practices at Northeastern, as well as help measure progress toward our goals and pinpoint where Northeastern has more work to do.

Widespread participation in this survey is essential to inform meaningful change. I encourage every member of the Northeastern community to take it and make their voices heard so that together we can build a better institution. Thank you in advance for providing your perspective.

Regards,

David Madigan
Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs

To all members of the Northeastern community,

Anti-Asian violence and harassment have been on the rise throughout the pandemic. These shocking incidents against Asian-Americans, Asians, and Pacific Islanders are antithetical to our core values. Yesterday’s senseless killings in Atlanta are only the latest tragic example.

I join with all members of the Northeastern community in condemning these racist acts. As a global community, we welcome and celebrate people from all backgrounds and ethnicities. Doing so makes us stronger as a community and elevates the impact of our teaching and research.

Words of support, healing, and prayer are not enough. Northeastern is a community of action. Anti-Asian bigotry—and all other forms of racism—are corrosive to our shared humanity and must be actively opposed. As I have said in the past, we believe that Northeastern must be more than a microcosm of society—we must be a model of what society can be.

Repairing these deep divisions will require ongoing connection, learning, and discovery. In this troubling and tragic moment, let us join together in advancing the values that unite us as a community of reason and justice.

Sincerely,

Joseph E. Aoun
President

To the Northeastern Community,

We are pleased to announce that Dr. Karl Reid will be joining Northeastern University as Senior Vice Provost and Chief Inclusion Officer on April 19, 2021. As Senior Vice Provost and Chief Inclusion Officer, Karl will lead the development of the vision for and implementation of proactive diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives in support of Northeastern’s strategic plan. He will serve as a catalyst towards promoting a culture of inclusion and creating a learning and working environment where all members of the university community have an opportunity to succeed. This is a cabinet-level position and will join the university leadership in its regular discussions.

In addition to his cabinet-level appointment, Karl will also hold the title of Professor of the Practice in the Graduate School of Education in the College of Professional Studies.

Karl comes to Northeastern from the National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE), where he has held the position of Executive Director since 2014. In this capacity, he leads the operations of the NSBE World Headquarters team and oversees relations with 22,000 members from around the world and more than 60 global strategic partners. He was responsible for the development and execution of NSBE’s 2025 strategic plan and co-founded the 50k Coalition, a national effort to produce 50,000 diverse engineering graduates annually.

Prior to his work at NSBE, Karl served as the Senior Vice President for Research, Innovation, and Member College Engagement at the United Negro College Fund where he managed new program development, research, and capacity building for the organization’s 37 historically black colleges and universities and established a $25 million grant program. He also spent 10 years at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in roles of progressive responsibility, leaving as Associate Dean of Undergraduate Education, Director of the Office of Minority Education and Assistant to the Chancellor for Diversity. He also taught “Race, Identity, and Academic Achievement,” a freshman seminar at MIT and he is a long-time advocate for increasing college access for low-income and minority students. He has authored and co-authored several peer-reviewed articles and his book, Working Smarter, Not Just Harder: Three Sensible Strategies for Succeeding in College…and Life, has become a staple for first-year students at many colleges and universities.

Karl holds an Ed.D. from Harvard University, and earned both his Masters and Bachelors in Materials Science and Engineering from MIT. He is a certified Diversity Professional and a certified workshop trainer for Emotional Intelligence and Diversity. He serves on the Advisory Council for the Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences and the Committee on Addressing the Underrepresentation of Women of Color in Tech for the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. He is a member of the American Society for Engineering Education, the Council of Engineering and Scientific Society Executives, and the American Society of Civil Engineers Industry Leaders Council.

Please join us in welcoming Karl to Northeastern University.

Sincerely,

Joseph E. Aoun
President

David Madigan
Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs

Dear Northeastern University Community,

In 2015 we embarked on the strategic planning process that led us to “Northeastern 2025.” This plan heralded the arrival of the age of artificial intelligence and the profound global changes that are now unfolding. It called for Northeastern to lead a “revolution in higher education that ensures the era of intelligent machines is one of expanding opportunity.” On every dimension much progress ensued.

But the world has changed. Nationalism has reemerged, inequality has dramatically accelerated, and a pandemic has wreaked global havoc. Like never before, society should be looking to the great universities to lead solutions to the central problems of our age and Northeastern must rise to this challenge. Working together this year, we will develop a new strategic plan. We will double down on our core values—experiential just-for-you learning, agile global networks powered by diversity, and world-leading translational research—to become the world’s leading problem-solving university. Our “university clusters”—problem-inspired world-leading mini-universities—will provide an organizational structure to drive us forward. Tackling systemic racism and inequality will infuse the work of creating our strategic plan.

The strategic planning process has begun with the appointment of six working groups, each led by two co-chairs. Members of each group include faculty, staff, and students and the working groups are underway toward shaping the plan in their topic area. The strategic planning website, which can be found at https://strategicplan.northeastern.edu/, details the group leaders and members, their charges, town hall information, and also provides a forum for input from our university community.

A key element of our strategic planning process is the involvement of the entire Northeastern community. To that end, several of the groups will be holding town halls soon. You can find the schedule and Teams links for the town halls at the end of this message. Your participation and input are critical to the strategic planning process, so please plan to attend and contribute.

Our goal is to finalize our strategic planning document by late spring. Our strategic plan will serve as the blueprint to lead us through the next decade. Please join us on our journey.

Regards,

David Madigan
Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs

Upcoming Town Halls:

University Clusters: Mission, makeup, and organizational structure
Co-chairs:
Ron Sandler, Professor, Philosophy, and Chair, Philosophy and Religion; Director of the Ethics Institute, College of Social Sciences and Humanities
Marilyn Minus, Professor and Chair, Mechanical and Industrial Engineering, College of Engineering

Friday, January 29, 2021 (12-1p EST)

Global University: Mobility, networks, partnership strategy, and branding
Co-chairs:
Rick Davis, Vice President for Alumni Relations
Steve Eccles, Regional Dean and CEO, Vancouver Campus

Thursday, January 28, 2021 (12-1p EST)

Experiential and Lifelong Learning: Learning science and educational technology
Co-chairs:
Connie Yowell, Senior Vice Chancellor for Educational Innovation
Benjamin Hescott, Associate Dean of Undergraduate Education and Experience, Khoury College of Computer Sciences

Monday, February 8, 2021 (1-2p EST)
Tuesday, March 16, 2021 (1-2p EST)

Our Communities: Learners, innovators, alumni, industry partners
Co-chairs:
Rod Brunson, Thomas P. O’Neill Jr. Chair of Public Life; Professor of Criminology and Criminal Justice and Political Science; Director of Graduate Mentoring and Diversity Initiatives, College of Social Sciences and Humanities
Carmen Sceppa, Dean, Bouvé College of Health Sciences

Monday, January 25, 2021 (12-1p EST)

To all members of the Northeastern Community,

On June 15th, I announced a call to action for our university to address the scourge of systemic racism—especially anti-Black discrimination—and advance our commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion. Since then, you have shared further ideas and insights through discussions, gatherings, and other forms of feedback. At the same time, a multi-faceted team of university leaders has been meeting regularly and developing concrete plans to turn aspirations into reality.

I am pleased to provide you with updates in the areas we identified in June. The initiatives listed below are the result of many people’s work, including the university’s six senior vice presidents, Dean for Cultural and Spiritual Life Robert José, and the co-chairs of the President’s Council on Diversity and Inclusion, Deans James Hackney and Uta Poiger. The Dean of the Library, Dan Cohen, also played an instrumental role.

Representation: It is vital for every member of our global community to find in Northeastern a welcoming home. Achieving this goal will demand a collective effort to meet our objectives for increasing student, faculty, and staff diversity across all our campuses. As a general principle, we seek to reflect the diversity of the societies in which Northeastern maintains its campuses—the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom.

With respect to our student body, we will increase the diversity of our entering classes at both our domestic and global campuses. We commit that across our campuses, incoming undergraduate students, master’s students, and doctoral students will fully reflect the relevant national racial diversity within five years. For example, the percentage of Black students in the United States will more than double at the undergraduate level over this time period. To achieve these goals, we will establish new financial aid streams and devote significant resources to targeted recruiting and retention efforts.

With respect to faculty, our long-term goal is that the faculty should reflect the diversity of the societies we serve. Our specific intermediate goal is to double the percentage of new faculty hires from underrepresented groups across all our campuses within five years. A specific focus will be to double the percentage of Black faculty hires in the United States over this period. We will initiate targeted efforts to create an inclusive and welcoming environment that attracts and retains a diverse faculty.

Our community has a long tradition of research, scholarship, and high-impact academic programming that advance the cause of racial justice, such as our extraordinary Civil Rights and Restorative Justice Project led by University Distinguished Professor Margaret Burnham and her colleagues. Now, we will create a new institute that will serve as the focal point for a larger university initiative related to racial justice and inequality. We will create at least 10 new faculty positions to support this effort, and propel Northeastern to a leadership position in high-impact, globally-networked learning and discovery on topics related to race, social justice, and related issues such as technology, health, and the environment.

In addition, we will reform hiring, retention, and HR protocols so that, within five years, our newly hired staff cohorts will reflect the societies in which we do our work. This will include the creation of new workforce development programs that ensure robust career pathways for people of all backgrounds within our community.

Student Support: We will strengthen and further invest in the links between the colleges and our cultural centers, drawing on their great potential to create integrated curricula on racism and anti-discrimination. In that same vein, we will expand successful models, such as the College of Engineering’s Summer Bridge Program, to help students from underrepresented backgrounds across the university more quickly feel at home in our community. We will substantially increase funding for grants to students who develop educational programming related to diversity, equity, and inclusion. We will also invest in programs, activities, and initiatives that specifically address the needs of our first-generation students. And we will ask all academic departments to show how racism and anti-discrimination are specifically being addressed in their courses of study, in field specific as well as interdisciplinary ways.

NUPD Community Advisory Board: This new organization, which I announced in June, has had many meetings, town halls, and pop-up sessions that examine policing on and around our Boston campus. Its chair, Professor Jack McDevitt, recently announced the first in a series of reforms that the board has developed, including expanded feedback mechanisms for NUPD. This new approach will allow any member of the Northeastern community, including residents of our surrounding neighborhoods, to file a complaint, offer a commendation, or request information about NUPD policies and practices. This is just the beginning of the advisory board’s ongoing work.

Cultural Competency and Anti-Racism Training: We will implement mandatory, university-wide cultural competency and anti-racism training programs for all faculty and staff on a regular basis. This will include embedding cultural competency and anti-racism modules throughout the curriculum.

University-wide Accountability: Starting immediately, administrative and academic leaders and managers at all levels will have meaningful diversity and inclusion goals for their departments and direct reports, as part of their annual goal setting and review. Beginning this academic year, we will launch an annual climate survey on diversity and inclusion; we will provide regular updates to share and assess our progress.

Community Engagement: We will deepen community service and expand service learning in the neighborhoods surrounding all of our campuses. In doing so, we will strengthen the ties between our community engagement programs and our academic programs. We will also increase procurement from businesses that are designated as women- and minority-owned, with a special emphasis on Black-owned businesses at our U.S. campuses. Our goal over the next five years will be to double the total value of those contracts from the last five years.

Amplifying our Impact through our Employer Partners: We will launch a new initiative called NU PLACE, the Northeastern University Professional Leadership and Career Engagement Program. Beginning with a dozen employer partners who are recognized for their success in recruiting and developing underrepresented minorities, Northeastern will partner with them to learn and create new best practices, and create hiring pipelines for them to recruit and retain diverse talent from Northeastern.

We are navigating challenging times due to the COVID-19 pandemic and economic uncertainty. But complacency is not an option. I believe that these actions will lead to a more inclusive and dynamic university community—one that makes Northeastern a model for what we want our society to be.

It is important to acknowledge that meaningful change is a journey, not a moment in time. As we work together in the coming months to imagine a new academic plan, the principles of diversity, equity, and inclusion will be infused throughout every dimension. As we continue to pursue this work together—and in so doing, achieve higher levels of mutual respect and understanding—I will continue to provide our community with regular updates on our progress.

I thank you for all you have done—and all that you continue to do—to make our collective efforts successful.

Sincerely,

Joseph E. Aoun
President

To all members of the Northeastern community,

I’m writing to announce a change in the university’s observance of the Columbus Day holiday. Beginning this year, the university will observe and celebrate Indigenous Peoples Day.

We will inaugurate this shift with a virtual panel discussion featuring Professor Ellen Cushman, Associate Dean of Academic Affairs, Diversity and Inclusion in the College of Social Sciences and Humanities. Further details about this event—including additional participants—will be forthcoming.

Indigenous Peoples Day will be part of the holiday calendar for campuses where a holiday is formally observed on the second Monday in October.

Regards,

David Madigan
Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs

To the Northeastern University community,

The members of the Northeastern University Police Department (NUPD) Advisory Board would like to provide an update on our efforts to make Northeastern University a safer and more equitable campus.

The Board was created to respond to concerns raised by members of the Northeastern University community about the treatment of Black persons by police, and in particular, the experience of Black students, staff, and faculty with Northeastern University police. An advisory board was created, comprised of a cross-section of students, faculty, and staff at the university, as well as an external community member, who bring divergent voices, experiences, and perspectives to the Advisory Board discussions; after the initial round of appointments, other students were added through consultation with the John D. O’Bryant African American Institute and School of Law.

The Board originally met in July of this year and decided that we needed to hear from a broader cross section of the Northeastern community about their experiences with NUPD. In August and September the Board held two Town Halls and four smaller Pop-Up Listening Sessions that were attended by members of the Northeastern community. The Advisory Board has also heard from a number of organizations and constituencies at Northeastern, including #DefundNUPD, #BlackAtNU, and #BlackVoicesMatterNEU. The work of the Advisory Board has been informed by the diversity of these collective views and experiences and the Board would like to thank everyone and every constituency for their contributions.

Based on the experience and expertise of members of the Board, and suggestions from these Town Hall and Listening Sessions, a number of themes have emerged including the need for a more robust feedback channel between members of the Northeastern community and NUPD. This will feature a broadly accessible system for Northeastern community members to file misconduct charges against members of NUPD, and to offer observations about their experience with members of the police department. Today we are announcing two new recommendations that will be made to Northeastern University leadership:

A New University-wide Distributed Feedback System for NUPD
This new system would allow any member of the Northeastern community (students, faculty, staff, or Boston area community members) to file a complaint about actions of a member of NUPD, offer a commendation for services by a member of the NUPD, or request information about NUPD policies and practices. Members of the Northeastern community will be able to provide feedback in a wide variety of venues across our campus including the John D. O’Bryant African American Institute, the Latinx Cultural Center, and the Office of University Equity and Compliance (OUEC). After staff at each of these offices are trained, Northeastern community members will be able to continue to provide feedback in person, online and anonymously. The full list of venues for providing feedback will be announced within the next two weeks.

Additional Oversight in NUPD Officer Misconduct Investigations
A clear theme from the Town Halls and Listening Sessions was a desire for additional transparency into NUPD practices. Toward this end, the Board has recommended the participation of the University’s Office of University Equity and Compliance (OUEC) in NUPD officer misconduct investigations falling within the purview of OUEC jurisdiction. OUEC is expected to be a valuable contributor in this process given their experience conducting similar investigations including Title IX allegations.

The Board continues to educate itself about the many facets of university policing, and how to improve the experience between the Northeastern community and its police department. The Board is expected to make additional recommendations in response to concerns raised by people across the university after additional diligence and listening sessions during this current semester.

Sincerely,

Jack McDevitt
Chair, NUPD Advisory Board
Director, Institute on Race and Justice
Professor of the Practice
School of Criminology and Criminal Justice
Faculty Director
College of Professional Studies

To all members of the Northeastern Community:

One week after we paused to grieve and reflect on the brutal killing of George Floyd, and the systemic racism and injustices that exist in our society, I have had the opportunity to hear from and meet with many of you—students, faculty, staff, and alumni. You have urged Northeastern to take a deep and honest look at itself, to do more to confront anti-Black discrimination, and to achieve our ambitions for diversity, inclusion, and equality on our campuses.

I have listened to your ideas and your calls for action. Our initial work as a community is meant to achieve two goals: First, create a purposeful approach that will improve the presence and experiences of all under-represented populations, with particular emphasis on Black Americans—in purpose and effect, all Americans of African descent. Second, to make this the work of everyone at Northeastern who is in a position of influence and leadership.

While there will be many more opportunities to share your experiences and perspectives, today I am announcing several actionable steps that we can undertake immediately:

Community Advisory Board for NUPD: The mission of the Northeastern University Police Department is to enhance public safety, provide service, and build community. To this end, we will establish an NUPD community advisory board comprised of students, faculty, staff, and a member of the Boston community. This board will help guide, inform, and strengthen NUPD’s relationship with the community—both within and outside Northeastern. I have asked Senior Vice President Ralph Martin to review best practices around this structure, and he will announce details later this month. In addition, to engender mutual understanding and enhance trust, NUPD Chief Mike Davis will continue to hold a series of direct engagements with members of our community.

Representation: I am charging Provost David Madigan and Chancellor Ken Henderson, and all senior vice presidents, with increasing diversity at all levels—students, faculty, and staff. This will include increasing the number of Black American students enrolled in our undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral programs, and increasing faculty and staff of color. Our goal is for Northeastern to reflect the diversity of our nation and society by 2025.

President’s Council on Diversity and Inclusion: We will elevate the work of this council, which has been led by Deans James Hackney and Uta Poiger. A key focus will be continuing to seek community input and recommendations on how Northeastern can be more diverse, inclusive, and equitable across every dimension of what we do. In collaboration with the Provost and the Chancellor, this work will include actively promoting scholarship and curricular innovation that advances the cause of racial justice.

University-wide Accountability: I have asked each of Northeastern’s senior vice presidents to work with their departments and senior managers to develop specific, measurable goals to increase black and brown representation in each of our academic and administrative units. These plans will be developed and updated on an annual basis.

Appointment of Robert Jose to the President’s Cabinet: Effective immediately, Associate Dean Robert Jose is promoted to the role of Dean for Cultural and Spiritual Life, and will become a member of my cabinet. In this expanded role, Dean Jose will serve as a special advisor to the president on diversity and inclusion. Dean Jose brings a wealth of experience to this role, most notably a proven track-record of working with, and empowering, students of color.

Student Support: A message I have heard repeatedly in recent weeks is that our Black students, in particular, need to receive better student support. They must feel valued, included, and safe at their university. In addition to appointing Dean Jose to the cabinet, where his background and expertise will be essential, I have asked the Provost and the Chancellor to place special emphasis on the experience of our Black students. This should be reflected in our work to recruit and retain academic advisers, co-op coordinators, career coaches, and health care professionals.

Cultural Competency and Anti-Racism Training: Every member of the Northeastern community must feel that they are full citizens of this university. To ensure awareness of both conscious and unconscious biases—and to eradicate it—we will institute universal training for our community, focusing on “cultural and racial literacy” in every corner of the university.

Community Engagement: We have an opportunity to emphasize, deepen, and enlarge our ongoing efforts to be actively engaged in Boston and in communities surrounding all our campuses. Whether it be educational programs for local youth or strengthening ties with minority-owned businesses, we can and must do more. I have asked Senior Vice Presidents Ralph Martin and Tom Nedell to lead these efforts.

Amplifying our Impact through our Employer Partners: We will team up with our broad range of employers in developing best practices and expectations to promote the recruitment and advancement of people of color, particularly from underrepresented groups. As our partners seek to become more diverse and inclusive, Northeastern can serve as a beacon and lead by example. I have charged the Provost, Chancellor, and our academic deans with developing a specific plan and leading this effort.

Achieving change will require resources and an unwavering commitment. As we undertake this important work, transparency will be paramount to all that we do, and university leaders will provide regular updates on our progress.

Let us continue to work together toward these shared goals. Our efforts will do more than transform a single institution. Through the impact of our mission, we will also contribute to a more just and equitable world.

Sincerely,

Joseph E. Aoun
President