The CSU Network Blog

Our VOICES blog shares a range of perspectives on Network activities and topics related to equity and student success in the CSU.

What CSU Students Say about Advising

By Cynthia Schrager, Senior Fellow, EdInsights
May 15, 2019

As large public universities, such as those within the California State University system, focus on increasing student success, efforts to improve student advising are front and center. As institutions endeavor to become more student-centered, it’s worth asking: do students perceive advising challenges and opportunities the same way as institutional leaders do?

This post draws from our two applied research studies on academic advising: Destination Integration.

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Using an Equity Lens to Inform Practice: Learning from the Middle Leadership Academy

By Thad Nodine, Senior Fellow, EdInsights
March 11, 2019

This is the third in a series of blogs about efforts to eliminate equity gaps in the CSU. Thad Nodine describes the equity work underway on CSU campuses, based on their participation in the Middle Leadership Academy, a professional learning program that is supporting teams of CSU faculty, staff, and administrators in addressing equity-based opportunity and outcomes gaps on their campus. The blog also describes the Academy’s approach in creating a space where campus teams in the CSU come together to learn from colleagues and other campuses.

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Strengthening Education Partnerships, Data Sharing, and Equity-based Inquiry in the CSU

By Thad Nodine, Senior Fellow, EdInsights
January 29, 2019
In the second in a series of blogs about efforts to eliminate equity gaps in the CSU, Thad Nodine reports on the CSU Network’s fall Convening focusing on regional education partnerships and the use of data sharing to support equity-based inquiry and outcomes on CSU campuses. Sacramento State President Robert S. Nelsen and Sacramento City Unified School District Superintendent Jorge A. Aguilar spoke to the gathered teams about the role of partnerships in achieving reforms and improving outcomes at their institutions. Then the teams got to work, discussing how to use the external partnerships to increase equitable student outcomes at their respective universities.

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Working to Close Equity Gaps in the CSU: Interviews with Dr. William Franklin and Dr. J. Luke Wood

By Thad Nodine, Senior Fellow, EdInsights
December 19, 2018
This is the first in a series of blogs to share information about efforts to eliminate equity gaps in the CSU. Thad Nodine separately interviewed two leaders in higher education who have dedicated their professional lives to understanding and addressing equity issues. Dr. William Franklin is vice president for student affairs at CSU Dominguez Hills. He currently spearheads a mentoring program for African American and Latino young men called the Male Success Alliance. Dr. J. Luke Wood is associate vice president for faculty diversity and inclusion and distinguished professor of education at San Diego State University. He also serves as co-director of the Community College Equity Assessment Lab.

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First-year Momentum-What it is and Why it Matters

By Melinda Karp, Consultant, EdInsights and the CSU Student Success Network, and Founder, Phase Two Advisory
September 24, 2018
The term “first-year momentum” comes up a lot these days in higher education discussions about how to improve student success. After all, we have long known that the first year of college is critical to support student persistence and, ultimately, to lead to timely graduation. Isn’t tracking first-semester and first-year retention sufficient to understand and address student momentum and related equity gaps?

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CSU Student Success Network Annual Report 2017-18

August 2018
The California State University (CSU) Student Success Network complements student success efforts underway in the CSU by offering forums for sustained, cross-campus, cross-role, professional learning opportunities for “middle leaders”—faculty, staff, and administrators at the campus level who work closely with students. Student participation is welcomed and encouraged. In its second year as a state-supported effort, the Network released its first two publications, launched the Middle Leadership Academy, supported two convenings hosted by CSU campuses, engaged an external developmental evaluator, launched a blog to share evidence-based information from across the system, and continued to cultivate key relationships within the CSU.

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CSU Student Success Network Annual Report 2016-17

August 2017
The CSU Student Success Network completed its first year of operation as a state-supported effort (in addition to funding from the Kresge and College Futures Foundations). The main areas of focus for 2016-17 were to develop a sound infrastructure for the Network (such as building relationships, creating an appropriate staffing structure, and hiring an evaluator) and operationalizing each strand of work.

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Overcoming Program-itis: A Systemic Approach to Student Success

By Cynthia Schrager, Senior Fellow, EdInsights
June 18, 2018
What makes efforts to improve student success rates at large public universities so challenging, particularly in light of committed efforts by faculty, staff, and administrators to improve student learning, progression, and completion?

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Supporting Transfer Students’ Education Goals: The Evolution of Cal Poly Pomona’s Transfer Program

By Norma Leon, Educational Assessment & Transition Coordinator, and Dr. Lorena Márquez, PolyTransfer Coordinator, at Cal Poly Pomona
April 24, 2018
Transfer students at Cal Poly Pomona were historically perceived as needing less attention because they had successfully navigated the first years of their college journey. Over the past few years, CPP began to question this mindset and confront the unique challenges facing transfer students. In this blog, Norma Leon and Lorena Márquez trace the rise of the PolyTransfer Program and the efforts to foster a transfer-receptive culture on campus.

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Campus-wide Roles to Improve Student Success

By Elizabeth Boretz, Assistant Vice President for Student Success, CSU Fullerton
March 21, 2018
Many CSU campuses over the past few years have created senior-level campus-wide positions charged with improving student success. The trend is not unique to the CSU or to California, and the number of online job postings for senior-level positions focusing on “student success” has more than tripled nationally since 2010. No matter which university you call home, refocusing campus structures and culture around student learning and success can be challenging. In the following story, Elizabeth Boretz shares some of her experiences helping CSU Fullerton strengthen its campus-wide approach to student success.

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Student Success
Network Calendar


Middle Leadership Academy spring session 1


Middle Leadership Academy spring session 2


Supporting and Engaging Men of Color in the CSU: Part 2


Middle Leadership Academy spring session 3


Annual CSU Student Success Network Conference


Annual CSU Student Success Network Conference



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