Our Mission and Vision

Purpose and Vision

The Network’s purpose is to support CSU faculty, staff, and administrators as they embrace their power to imagine, plan for, and implement systems and practices that center equitable student learning, engagement, progression, and completion. 

The Network’s vision is to transform the lives of Californians by unleashing the full potential of the CSU as a broad-access, public university whose faculty, staff, and administrators work together to provide students with outstanding and equitable opportunities and outcomes for postsecondary learning and success. 

The Network develops knowledge about, raises funding for, and supports approaches to institutional change that are centered on equity, grounded in evidence, directed toward structural change, and focused on supporting students. We advance narratives that highlight student voices and strengths, and we identify and work to break down barriers to their success in the CSU. We understand that these barriers disproportionately affect Students of Color, students from low-income families, students who are first in their families to attend college, students from other historically marginalized groups, and those at the intersection between these groups. 

“The experience was the boost our team needed to continue advancing first-gen student success. Investing in middle leaders … is crucial as we continue addressing equity issues on campus.”

Middle Leader and Network Participant 

Prioritizing Equity. The Network provides time, space, and resources for faculty, staff, and administrators to define and operationalize equity in ways that make sense for each campus’s context. Achieving equity means that students who require the most support no longer disproportionately struggle to meet learning goals and graduation requirements. Students of Color, those from low-income families, those who are first in their family to attend college, those who are working, those who are providing care for family, and those who are entering the CSU system without economic, cultural, social, or educational capital have the same opportunities to succeed as their peers. Campuses benefit from the inclusion of perspectives that these students bring to their classrooms and peers. California benefits when these students graduate at the same rates as their peers, through increased educational attainment and improved workforce, career, regional, and civic opportunities. 

Supporting Middle Leaders. The Network was created by, is directed by, and works primarily with faculty, staff, and administrators from across the CSU. We refer to these colleagues as middle leaders, in line with education research identifying these or parallel positions as central to change management opportunities in both K-12 and postsecondary settings. At the CSU, these positions can include faculty, department chairs, deans and associate deans, directors and assistant directors, student services staff, and institutional researchers, among others. Many middle leaders do not have formal leadership duties, but they tend to have long tenures on campus; to work closely with students and to understand their needs; to serve on policy, budget, and hiring committees; to be well versed in the intricacies of their institutions; and to advance during their careers to increasing levels of authority. However, middle leaders who are not stakeholders in change efforts can pose substantial resistance over time. Conversely, those who are well informed about and engaged in a change process can be pivotal in (1) shaping systems and programs to focus on students and serve them equitably and (2) encouraging colleagues to join efforts to improve equitable student learning and success.

“I was able to learn about how to network and increase the number of stakeholder[s] in a project. I also learned more about the various ways one can use data, how to read it in different ways, and special considerations when considering data.”

Middle Leader and Network Participant