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Task Force Formed On Graduate Students With Children

Northwestern forms a task force to examine needs, enhance resources for families

  • Task force will explore issues that affect graduate students with children
  • Provost, executive vice president want University to take leadership role
  • Final recommendations are expected to be submitted by May 31, 2016

EVANSTON, Ill. --- Northwestern University Provost Daniel Linzer and Executive Vice President Nim Chinniah announced today the formation of a task force charged with addressing issues faced by graduate students with children.

The task force -- a diverse group of faculty, staff and graduate students, including many parents -- will explore the issues that affect graduate students with children.

Recommendations made by the task force will enhance resources available to graduate student parents and their families, reflecting the University’s goal of taking a leadership role in support provided to this group.  

“As we undertake this assessment, we want to acknowledge, with thanks, the contribution of the NU Student Parent Alliance, a group of students, faculty, staff and community members working to promote better resources for student parents at Northwestern,” Linzer said.

Members of this group met with the provost, executive vice president, dean of The Graduate School and associate provost for graduate education, vice president for student affairs and vice president for human resources earlier this year to offer input on resources and policies that would help Ph.D. student parents balance academic and family responsibilities.  

“We firmly believe that by assembling a group that brings fresh perspectives, including several graduate students who are parents, we have the best opportunity to develop the best solutions,” Chinniah said. 

The task force is led by Sarah McGill, senior associate dean in The Graduate School, and Lori Anne Henderson, director of work/life resources in the Office of Human Resources.

Meetings begin this month, and final recommendations are expected to be submitted by May 31, 2016, to the provost and executive vice president. While the work of the task force will span the 2015-16 academic year, implementation of ideas will not wait until May 31.

Task force participants are:

  • Lori Anne Henderson, director of work/life resources, Office of Human Resources
  • Sarah McGill, senior associate dean, The Graduate School
  • Laura Carrillo, Ph.D. student, sociology, Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences  
  • Sumit Dhar, professor, communication sciences and disorders, School of Communication
  • Irina Dolinskaya, assistant professor, William A. Patterson Junior Chair in Transportation, industrial engineering and management sciences, McCormick School of Engineering and Applied Science
  • Mona Dugo, associate dean of students, Office of the Dean of Students, Student Affairs
  • Congcong He, assistant professor, cell and molecular biology, Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine
  • Rosalind Heckman, Ph.D. student, biomedical engineering and physical therapy and human movement sciences
  • Marcos Leitao De Almeida, Ph.D. student, history, Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences
  • Niko Matouschek, professor, strategy, Kellogg School of Management
  • Reuel Rogers, associate professor, political science, Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences
  • Keila Torre-Santiago, Ph.D. student, interdisciplinary biological sciences, Graduate Leadership and Advocacy Council co-chair 2013-14 and survey coordinator 2014-15

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