We are creating a space for evidence-based, collaborative learning and leadership development.

The Middle Leadership Academy is a year-long professional development opportunity that brings together campus-based teams of CSU faculty, student affairs staff, researchers, and students in a collaborative and supportive environment to work on common issues related to student learning, engagement, progression and completion. 

Grounded in a problem-based learning model, the Academy motivates participants to “lead from the middle” as they explore and apply strategies that focus on closing opportunity and outcomes gaps.

2021-22 Academy

Apply Now

We are currently accepting submissions until September 30, 2021.

The CSU Student Success Network invites cross-functional teams of up to 6 people to apply for the Middle Leadership Academy. 

Through the lens of educational equity, the Academy focuses on developing the skills and relationships of middle leaders so they can make meaningful change on their campuses. Campus teams are encouraged to conceptualize innovative strategies to enhance student success, especially for traditionally underserved students.

This year, we are looking for projects that seek to address the implications of two pandemics—COVID-19 and racial injustice—in contributing to campus inequities, and explore approaches to address these inequities. If you are looking for inspiration, please check out project summaries for the 2018-19 and 2019-20 cohorts!

Session dates and details can be found in the orange box below. Participation in the Middle Leadership Academy is free, and all travel, food, and lodging costs are reimbursed by the CSU Student Success Network. Travel must be approved and arranged in accordance with each campus’ policies and guidelines.


Learning outcomes:

Equity. Consider ways (in)equity manifests on campus.

Knowledge. Apply research-based evidence to advance equitable student success efforts on campus.

Leadership. Build your sense of agency to lead equity-driven change.

Relationships. Build relationships with colleagues at your campus and from across the CSU who are involved in campus-level efforts supporting equitable student success.

How to Apply for the Academy

Interested teams should identify a team lead that will submit an application on behalf of the team. The application will ask for each team member’s name and contact information and it includes the following questions:

  • What is the main issue you are trying to address? What existing evidence illustrates the issue you are trying to address? (120 word maximum)
  • What are your team’s objectives for participating in the 2021-22 Middle Leadership Academy? (120 word maximum)
  • How do your team’s objectives seek to address educational equity at your campus, particularly in the context of COVID-19 and/or racial injustice? (120 word maximum)
  • How do your team’s objectives support or relate to leadership development? (120 word maximum)

In addition, teams will need to attach a Letter of Support signed by the appropriate cabinet-level administrator. This could be from a Provost for cross-college topics or from a Vice President of Student Affairs for topics primarily housed in Student Affairs. In many cases, a collaborative letter signed by both the Provost and the VP of Student Affairs may be most appropriate. 


2021-2022 Informational Webinar

Prior Cohort Information


2020-2021 Cohort

2019-2020 Cohort

2018-2019 Cohort

2017-2018 Cohort

Want to know more?

Have more questions? Contact Academy Co-Directors:
Bianca Mothe or Rock Braithwaite

Student Success
Network Calendar


Virtual Middle Leadership Academy


Virtual Middle Leadership Academy


Virtual Middle Leadership Academy


Navigating Uncertainty Together, A Virtual Conversation Series


In-person Middle Leadership Academy


In-person Middle Leadership Academy


In-person Middle Leadership Academy



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