Guide to the Records of the Task Force on the Undergraduate Experience

Collection Title: Records of the Task Force on the Undergraduate Experience
Dates: 1983-1988
Bulk Dates: 1987-1988
Identification: 4/5/7
Creator: Northwestern University (Evanston, Ill.). Task Force on the Undergraduate Experience
Extent: 3 Boxes
Language of Materials: English
Abstract: The Records of the Task Force on the Undergraduate Experience fill three boxes and span the years 1983-1988, with the bulk of the material dating between 1987 and 1988. Materials include research and reports conducted prior to the formation of the Task Force as well as data gathered by the focal groups, subcommittees and joint committees of the Task Force.
Acquisition Information: This series was separated from the Richard Wendorf Papers, donated to the University Archives on August 16, 1989 as Accession 89-150. Additional material from the Archives' General Files was added to the Series as Box 3 in July, 2014.
Processing Information: Nancy Wilson, March 1997.
Separated Materials: One folder of material relating to the Anthropology Department and one folder on Calendar Studies was transferred to the University Archives General Files.  One and one-half inches of duplicates and two and one-quarter inches of extraneous material were discarded.
Conditions Governing Access: None.
Repository: Northwestern University Archives
Deering Library, Room 110
1970 Campus Dr.
Evanston, IL, 60208-2300
Phone: 847-491-3354

Biographical/Historical Information

The Task Force on the Undergraduate Experience was established in May 1987 as a result of various discussions among the Deans, General Faculty Committee, and members of the Board of Trustees.  It was headed by Provost Robert Duncan.

The Task Force included faculty members, students and administrators during the 1987-1988 academic year.  It was chaired by Professor Bill Heyck, of the History Department.

The members of the Task Force had a two-day retreat in October 1987 to clarify the Task Force's objectives and procedures, build an agenda, plan the organization and data-gathering efforts, and schedule the work of its subcommittees.  The Task Force was charged with assessing various undergraduate programs and activities and with making recommendations for improvements.

The Task Force was divided into Group A and Group B.  Group A studied Curriculum and Pedagogy, and was divided into five focal groups: Quantitative Skills, Writing and Oral Communication, Pedagogy, Research, and Natural Science and Technology.  Richard Wendorf, Associate Dean for Studies of the College of Arts and Science, served as chair of Group A.

Group B studied Student Life and Student Support, and was divided into five subcommittees: Resources, Housing and Residential Life, Alcohol and Drugs, Race Relations, and Public/Community Service.  Kathleen Galvin, Professor of Speech, served as chair of Group B. There were four joint committees: Advising and Counseling, Introduction to Northwestern, Academic Integrity, and Mission Statement.  The subcommittees and focal groups gathered data on their respective  topics.  The Task Force as a whole reviewed all assessments and recommendations from the subcommittees, and issued all the reports and recommendations.

Information was gathered using a variety of methods: readings on related topics, questionnaires, soliciting data from other colleges and universities, letters to members of faculty soliciting suggestions, and surveys.

In order to prepare for their work, members of the Task Force were asked to read several books and articles during the summer of 1987. They were also asked to write an essay on their "Best and Worst Experiences" at Northwestern University with an emphasis on undergraduate students or experiences.

The research phase of the Task Force's work was extensive.  The Chair sent a "Dean's Questionnaire" to deans of the various schools requesting responses to fifty-five questions seeking information and opinions on a broad range of academic subjects.  The Survey Research Laboratory at Northwestern conducted a student survey to establish facts relating to undergraduate life at the University and to elicit student opinion on particular issues.  A faculty survey was also conducted.

Catalogs from thirty colleges and universities were used to compile data on issues addressed by the Task Force.  Four external consultants were invited for a two-day visit to meet with the Task Force and with members of the subcommittees.  Reports were then submitted.

The first draft of Report: Task Force on the Undergraduate Experience was distributed to Task Force members in August 1988 with a cover letter soliciting responses and suggestions.  The second draft was distributed to members in September 1988.  The final meeting of the Task Force was held on November 1, 1988.

Scope and Content

The Records of the Task Force on the Undergraduate Experience fill two boxes and span the years 1983-1988, with the bulk of the material dating between 1987 and 1988. The folders are arranged in alphabetical order by subject. Records within each folder are arranged in chronological order by date with the undated material at the back of the folder.

Folder titles reflect committee and focus group work (data, correspondence, clippings, and reports), research projects (correspondence, questionnaires and responses, survey questions, and narrative descriptive findings of the surveys) and other topics (often including data gathered previous to the establishment of the Task Force and correspondence).

The folder "Minutes and Set Up of Task Force" contains a description of the Task Force's organization, meeting agendas and minutes, a list of Task Force members, progress reports and correspondence.

Additions to the original collection are contained in Box 3 and consist of correspondence among committee members, notes, and reports and surveys, dating between 1987-88.


Corporate Name

Northwestern University (Evanston, Ill.)--Students


College students--Illinois--Evanston

Container List / Contents

  • Academic Integrity Joint Subcommittee, 1987-1988Box 1, Folder 1
  • Advising and Counseling Joint Committee, 1988Box 1, Folder 2
  • Alcohol and Drugs Subcommittee, 1988Box 1, Folder 3
  • Best and Worst Experiences at Northwestern University, 1987Box 1, Folder 4
  • Calendar Study, 1983-1988Box 1, Folder 5
  • Class Size Information, 1987Box 1, Folder 6
  • Curricular Changes in the Technical Institute, 1988Box 1, Folder 7
  • Daily Northwestern Interview, n.d.Box 1, Folder 8
  • Dean's Questionnaire and Responses, 1988Box 1, Folder 9
  • External Consultants' Visits and Reports, 1987-1988Box 1, Folder 10
  • Faculty Survey and Results, 1987-1988Box 1, Folder 11
  • General Correspondence, 1987-1988Box 1, Folder 12
  • Housing and Residential Life Subcommittee, 1988Box 1, Folder 13
  • Introduction to Northwestern Joint Subcommittee, 1988Box 1, Folder 14
  • Minutes and Set Up of Task Force, 1987-1988Box 1, Folder 15
  • Mission Statement Joint Subcommittee, 1987-1988Box 1, Folder 16
  • Orientation Suggestions, 1987-1988Box 1, Folder 17
  • Pegagogy Focal Group, 1988Box 1, Folder 18
  • Proposals Made to the Task Force, 1987-1988Box 1, Folder 19
  • Quantitative Skills Focal Group, 1987-1988Box 1, Folder 20
  • Report: Task Force on the Undergraduate Experience, 1988Box 2, Folder 1
  • Research and Pedagogy Survey, 1987-1988Box 2, Folder 2
  • Research and Pedagogy Survey Report, 1988Box 2, Folder 3
  • Resources Subcommittee, 1988Box 2, Folder 5
  • Science and Technology Focal Group, 1988Box 2, Folder 6
  • Student Data, 1984-1987Box 2, Folder 7
  • Student Survey Results, 1987-1988Box 2, Folder 8
  • Writing and Oral Communication Focal Group, 1986-1988Box 2, Folder 9
  • General, 1987-1988Box 3, Folder 1
  • Correspondence, 1987Box 3, Folder 2
  • Correspondence, 1988Box 3, Folder 3
  • Surveys, 1987-1988Box 3, Folder 4
  • Meeting Minutes and Agendas, 1987-1988Box 3, Folder 5
  • Sub-Committee Reports, 1986-1988Box 3, Folder 6
  • Sub-Committee Final Reports, 1988Box 3, Folder 7
  • Final Survey Findings, 1988Box 3, Folder 8
  • Handwritten Notes, n.d.Box 3, Folder 9