The CSU Student Success Network Conference Schedule

The Time Is Now: Forging New Visions for Equity in the CSU

Wednesday, October 13

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Conference Welcome and Student Plenary: Mental Health and Student Equity || 10:00-11:15am

Dr. Larissa Mercado-López, Conference Director

Dr. Bianca Mothé, CSU Student Success Network Director

Anjelica de Leon, ASI President/CEO, CSU East Bay

Jordan Fitzpatrick, Graduate Student, CSU Fresno

Jesus Gonzalez, ASI President, CSU Long Beach

Kathryn Sherman, Undergraduate Student, CSU Fresno

Break: 11:15-11:30

Session 1 || 11:30-12:30

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Transfer Students’ Experiences with Advising: A Need for Holistic Advising

Dr. Kathy Thornhill,  Director of Undergraduate Advising, Career Services, and Community Based Learning, Humboldt State University 

Maria I. Iturbide, Associate Professor of Psychology, Humboldt State University 

Sei Hee Hwang, Extended Education Program Coordinator, Humboldt State University 

Humboldt State University (HSU) has been a historically White campus with a focus on first-time students. Our student population is becoming more diverse (now an HSI) and more incoming transfer students are attending than first-time students. The campus community has not been student-ready for the changes in our student population and as a result we are challenged with many issues. We sought feedback from first-semester transfer students on their experiences about their transition to HSU and the academic advising received. This session will relay the results of that survey as well as share examples of how we are working to address student needs. Students indicate the need for advising to be individualized and specific to them, want more access to their advisors, and more consistent information and advising (e.g., post graduation, resources, co-curricular activities).


Developing Impactful & Equitable Learning: An Institution-wide Approach to Serving Students in Academic Difficulty

Dr. Cecilia Santiago-González, Assistant Vice President, Strategic Initiatives for Student Success, Cal Poly Pomona

Erin Lion DeRosa, Interim Director of University Advising, Cal Poly Pomona

Providing support to students in academic difficulty is a key factor in improving institutional persistence rates. However, high advisor to student ratios and other institutional barriers can make it difficult for advisors to provide meaningful and equitable support to students. This session will explore how Cal Poly Pomona leveraged key moments of institutional change to completely revamp the process for supporting students in academic difficulty. Recognizing that the existing academic standing policy was not student-centered and the process was unsustainable for advisors, the Office of Student Success engaged in a 2-year exercise of developing innovative strategies and high-impact practices to revise the academic standing policy. This session will provide an overview of the progression for overhauling the existing process which included identifying campus partners, hiring new staff, critically analyzing resources, leveraging new and existing technologies, and building on institutional best practices.


Forging New Visions for Disability Equity

Dr. Christina Chin-Newman, Professor of Human Development & Women’s Studies, CSU East Bay 

Pamela Baird, Director of Accessibility Services, CSU East Bay 

Dr. Alina Engelman, Associate Professor, Public Health, CSU East Bay 

Belinda Haines, Student Member, Disability Justice Club

Matias Solorzano, Student Leader, Disability Justice Club, CSU East Bay 

Dr. Sarah Taylor, Professor, Social Work, CSU East Bay

This interactive session, about how to address the educational barriers experienced by students with disabilities, is geared toward all faculty and staff.  The pandemic has further highlighted the need for the university to support all campus community members, especially students with disabilities.  Disabled and non-disabled faculty, staff and student members of the Disability Justice Working Group at Cal State East Bay will share about our efforts to work toward equity and social justice for people with disabilities by 1) Increasing awareness and address the lack of knowledge of disability across campus, 2) Mobilizing faculty to engage with and support students’ self-determination, and 3) Creating an inclusive campus culture that engages and holds accountable all members of the campus community.  We’ll discuss our experiences developing accessibility/disability justice trainings and events for campus faculty, staff, and students. We will also present data on the experiences of our students with disabilities, with an intersectional lens.  Our initiatives include advocating for the establishment of Disability Studies, a center for health, education, and disability justice and a certificate program for students with intellectual/developmental disabilities.  We’ll lead a discussion of ideas for a more inclusive post-pandemic future.


CSU Student Success Network Featured Session: The CSU Student Success Network Knowledge Center: Recent Memos on Justice-Impacted and Undocumented Students

Breaunna Alexander, Research Associate, Education Insights Center 

Jaquelyn Caro-Sena, Research Associate, Education Insights Center 

The CSU Student Success Network’s Knowledge Center is an online resource being rolled out in full in 2021 that will provide curated, synthesized, and succinct information and links to support faculty, staff, and administrators in adopting equity-minded and student-centered approaches on their campus. Presenters will discuss the conception of the Knowledge Center, the process for creating the literature- and interview-based memos housed on this site, and how these topics relate to and inform the CSU Student Success Network’s research agenda. Jaquelyn will present a pre-recorded presentation of the memo she wrote  “Supporting Undocumented Students in the CSU.” Breaunna will provide a live overview of the Justice-Involved Students’ Education blog series and answer questions regarding the Knowledge Center and/or these memos.

Men of Color in the CSU

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Men of Color in the CSU Plenary || 1:30-2:30

Moderator: Dr. Adrian Huerta, Assistant Professor of Education, University of Southern California

Miguel S. Jimenez, Male Success Initiative Program Coordinator, CSU Stanislaus 

Dr. Soua Xiong, Assistant Professor, Department of Counselor Education and Rehabilitation Coordinator, Student Affairs and College Counseling Program, CSU Fresno

Devon Hernandez, Associate Faculty, Counseling, Male Scholar Initiative, College of the Redwoods

Men of Color in the CSU Knowledge Exchange: A Community Conversation || 2:30-3:30

Facilitator: Dr. Adrian Huerta, Assistant Professor of Education, University of Southern California

Join us as we come together as colleagues across the system to share ideas on how we can support and improve outcomes for men of color in the CSU. Because this is a Zoom session, capacity is limited to 150 participants.

Session 2 || 3:45-4:45

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Graduate Student Orientation: A National Survey of Practices

Neela Koduri, Academic Advisor, San Francisco State University 

Jack Kinder, Graduate Assistant, Cal Poly SLO

This study surveyed a national sample of graduate student orientation programming (GSOP) professionals (n = 33) on the current programmatic landscape for graduate orientation, and used responses to build a taxonomy of interventions. The results indicate that GSOP addresses campus logistics and interpersonal belonging more frequently than institutional belonging, academic acculturation, or adjustment for students’ supporters. Additionally, orientation professionals were not involved in GSOP.  Implications of these data to build inclusive environments for graduate students will be discussed.

Instilling the Sense of Community Engagement in Freshmen

Dr. Kim Henige, Director, Academic First Year Experiences Professor, Department of Kinesiology, CSU Northridge 

Dr. Julia Heinen, Interim Director of Community Engagement Professor, Department of Music, CSU Northridge  

Cynthia Greco, Senior Student Success Strategist, Office of Student Success, CSU Northridge  

Autumn Fabricant, Lecturer, Academic First Year Experiences and Education, CSU Northridge  

Debbi Mercado, Lecturer, Academic First Year Experiences, CSU Northridge 

This session covers how three units collaborated in redesigning our freshman seminar course to include a community-based learning component. To ensure equitable access and participation, students could complete their projects either virtually or without leaving campus. Preliminary findings indicate that leveraging these two high-impact practices leads to increased sense of belonging, equitable student learning, persistence, and achievement.  Leave inspired to include community-based learning in first-year classes at your own campus.

Utilizing Roundtable Discussions to Plant Seeds for More Equitable Advising

LaKeysha Carter, Senior Undergraduate Graduation Coordinator, University Center for Undergraduate Advising, CSU Long Beach

Raven Yoshitomi, Director of Advising, College of Health & Human Services, CSU Long Beach

This session presents a low-cost, flexible way Academic Advisors can make their work more equitable, individually and collectively. We will share how CSULB academic advisors created an Equity Through Advising roundtable series, share what has worked and what we’ve learned, then lead you through an example of a discussion from one of our roundtables. We believe that advisors are ideally positioned to promote equity on campus, and we can do this better by sharing our expertise, reflecting on our work, and strategizing as a community. You will leave this session with ideas for starting (or continuing) equity conversations relevant to your own campus, and you will get an opportunity to reflect on how privilege impacts our work as advisors. In the discussion on privilege, it will provide space for self-reflection, which ultimately allows for better self-awareness allowing for lasting change.

Intercultural Competence in Peer Programs

Tina Jordan, Assistant Vice President, Sacramento State   

Irina Antonenko, SI Coordinator 

Vu Tran, Tutor Coordinator, Sacramento State  

Cultural Competence can be infused in professional development for student professionals to help to ensure all are welcomed, included and truly feel like they belong on campus while they obtain a degree.  The panel will share a framework that includes tenets of Cultural Competence, Cultural Instruction and Cultural Consciousness, which is designed based on principles of Gloria Ladson-Billings’ seminal research (1994) of Culturally Responsive Pedagogy. Panelists will show how to institutionalize a professional development course and certification process in a peer-to-peer program that teaches culturally competent strategies and principles of inclusivity when student employees work with their peers who may be from a different culture than their own. This cohesive framework (Jordan, 2014) increases the level of creating an environment of involvement, respect and equity for multicultural and multilinguistic students at the university.

Building on Partnership Legacy: Long Beach College Promise 2.0

Esteban Alfaro, M.Ed., First Year Experience Program Manager, Long Beach City College

Aimee Arreygue, Ed.D., Associate Director, Educational Partnerships, California State University, Long Beach

June Borba, Freshman & Sophomore Pathways Coordinator, Long Beach College Promise 2.0 Transition Coordinator, University Center for Undergraduate Advising, California State University, Long Beach

Sonia De La Torre-Iniguez, M.S., Dean, Student Equity, Long Beach City College

Laura Marin, Ed.D., FYE Counselor & Co-Coordinator, Assistant Professor, Long Beach City College

Hayarpi Nersisyan, M.S., FYE Counselor & Co-Coordinator, Assistant Professor, Distance Education Facilitator, Long Beach City College

The Long Beach College Promise 2.0 program builds upon a legacy of partnership work in Long Beach, creating additional infrastructure through the use of High Impact Practices to address equity in providing a clear transfer pathway for students to move from Long Beach Unified to Long Beach City College, to CSU Long Beach and beyond. This effort, created with a shared vision across institutions, utilizes the tools of advising and counseling, shared technology, co-created communication, and a cross-sector committee for operations and programming to meet the needs of students who will attend both institutions, at different times. Pivoting as needed, the institutions collaborate to determine how best to operationalize complex, coordinated efforts to drive student success.

Past Conferences


Contact: Larissa Mercado-López, Annual Conference Director