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Who are the Huskies of 2019 and how can we support them?

September 18, 2019

Dean of students releases Meet the Class report

We know Huskies are strong, resilient and hard-working, but who really makes up NIU’s undergraduate student body?

What is their perspective on the world and how can we help them succeed?

A mindset can make all the difference, says Kelly Wesener Michael, associate vice president for Student Affairs and Dean of Students. 

A compilation of what has always and never been true for the class of 2023, the Marist Mindset List is an annual reminder of the cultural context and experiences of the incoming class.

Among the list’s 60 findings: The primary use of a phone has always been to take pictures, YouTube has become the video version of Wikipedia, nearly half of their generation is composed of people of color and the nation’s mantra has always been: “If you see something, say something.”

As NIU’s admissions standards have remained consistent, students’ lives have become more complex, while their experiences and backgrounds have become increasingly diverse. Campuses that have committed to not just equal access to higher education but equal outcomes among all students have seen positive results in retention and graduation rates, according to national data.

Moving from a deficit view to an equity mindset encourages faculty and staff to identify the specific needs of each student in an effort to provide the individualized support that will, over time, increase the overall retention and graduation at the university, Wesener Michael says. 

Students with a growth mindset who —who “understand that they can get smarter through hard work, the use of effective strategies and help from others when needed”—will see success at a higher rate, she says.

“Knowing more about the NIU undergraduate student body, their needs and resources available to them, each of us can make a positive impact in the year ahead,” she says.

With that in mind, Wesener Michael has released the Dean of Students Meet the Class Huskie Profile Fall 2019.

A series of NIU Today stories in the coming weeks will provide a more in-depth look at the findings, along with tips and resources for faculty and staff to help motivate students to persist. This includes encouraging students to develop self-efficacy through practicing a growth mindset, embracing challenges instead of avoiding them.

Among the characteristics of the Huskies of 2019 are:

  • Roughly half are first-generation students.
  • Nearly half of undergraduates identify as students of color, with 3.7% identifying as multiracial. Living and commuting experiences also are diverse.
  • Students report feeling overwhelmed (mean=86%), exhausted (mean=78%) and very sad (mean=61%). Seven to 10 percent of undergraduate students receive support through direct clinical services (individual and group therapy) from Counseling and Consultation Services.
  • More than 800 students are registered with the Disability Resource Center. Most have “invisible” disabilities.

Keep an eye out for future stories on the findings in NIU Today. For questions, concerns or ideas regarding the Meet the Class report, contact the Office of the Dean of Students at 815-753-6100 or [email protected]