Frequently Asked Questions

What is the CSU Student Success Network?

Launched in 2016, the Network hosts a slate of activities to help middle leaders develop skills to lead from where they sit. It also produces original research to help people within the system learn more about a range of issues that affect student learning, engagement, progression, and success. Participants in Network activities have access to a growing community of colleagues who share a commitment to strengthening student success. Through our activities, we create spaces for passionate middle leaders—faculty, staff, and administrators from each campus—to collaborate, experiment, and share evidence with each other. Teams come together to support system goals, like increasing four-and six-year graduation rates; closing critical opportunity gaps; and supporting equity-based inquiry and action.

What are the CSU Student Success Network’s main activities?

The Network supports three primary activities: the Middle Leadership AcademyConvenings, Conference and Applied Research.

The Middle Leadership Academy is a year-long leadership program that empowers members to forge deeper relationships with colleagues and develop skills for making change from where they already sit. Similar to the Convenings, the Academy brings together campus-based teams in a collaborative and supportive environment to work on problems of practice. Teams meet multiple times throughout the year and are paired with a facilitator. Together, teams identify common challenges faced by students, develop a shared vision to improve practices, and communicate about what works (and what doesn’t) for students on their respective campuses.

Convenings are one-day workshops built around a student success issue of importance to CSU campuses. Each workshop is hosted by a CSU campus, and is designed to stimulate conversations, build cross-campus relationships around shared problems of practice and ensure that each campus team leaves with a plan of action it developed over the course of the workshop. Every campus is invited to assemble a team of faculty, staff, administrators and students who are working on issues related to the workshop topic. There, teams will familiarize themselves with the relevant literature, share knowledge with colleagues, and explore their own campus’s student level data.

The CSU Student Success Network Conference The CSU Student Success Network Conference is a virtual conference designed by and for middle leaders and students in the CSU. Its purpose is to advance equitable student success by providing faculty, staff, administrators, and students with an annual statewide opportunity to share actionable research, evidence, and practices for use or adaptation on our own campuses. The conference takes place in two installments this fall on September 25th and October 16th, 2020 and is free for all who register. The deadline to register is September 4th, 2020.

Applied Research seeks to make sense of the different aspects of students’ experiences in the CSU. Network research helps develop shared language and knowledge on key topics. Findings from this and all other Network activities are shared with CSU stakeholders to help bring about mutual understanding and evidence-based change.  

Are there dues? / What does it cost?

Participation is free for people in the CSU. Reasonable travel expenses for attending CSU Student Success Network events are covered, too.

What is the benefit of participation?

Everyone has their own reasons for participating in Network events. Some may be looking for a community of like-minded colleagues who share a passion for improving student outcomes. Others may be interested in a particular convening topic. And still others, may be looking to develop leadership skills. The Network is committed to making the experiences as meaningful as possible.

Where is the Network based?

The Network is facilitated by the Education Insights Center, which is housed at Sacramento State. The Network hosts activities across the state and is committed to making all events and activities accessible to every campus.

What’s a middle leader?

All of us, whether we are in formal positions of power or not, have the ability to make positive changes. In the CSU Student Success Network we believe that “middle leaders” are an under-supported resource for making student-focused change on campus. Middle leaders in the CSU may carry the title of faculty, staff, department chair, director, dean, student, or any similar position. We interact with colleagues from across our campuses on a regular basis. We are aware of the needs of our specific CSU campus’ student populations and are excited to lead from our existing positions on campus.  

How do you pick topics/issues for your research and events? 

Topics are chosen in response to a number of factors, including campus demand, consultation with the Advisory Board, and input from the Chancellor’s Office. The Network seeks out issues that are important to a substantial percentage of campuses. If you would like to recommend a topic that you think would be relevant to other middle leaders in the CSU system, please contact us at studentsuccessnetwork@edinsightscenter.org 

Do I need to ask my Chair/Dean/Provost/Supervisor to participate?

The Network does not require prior approval to participate in any of our activities. However, because many Network activities require a significant commitment of time, we recommend attendees have prior support and approval they would obtain for any professional development or travel obligations.

Does the Network have an Advisory Board?

The Network is guided by an Advisory Board composed of representatives from CSU campuses who serve in a variety of roles. The Advisory Board meets two times a year to provide oversight and direction for all Network activities. A current list of Advisory Board members is available on our Advisory Board page.