The 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.
The CSU Student Success Network (Network) in 2021-22 celebrated five years of working for equity and change in the CSU. We are thrilled to share our key accomplishments from the year, and we appreciate the many students, faculty, staff, and administrators who worked with us to advance equitable student learning in the CSU. In particular, we thank Dr. Bianca Mothé, professor of Biological Sciences at CSU San Marcos, for her stellar leadership as Network Faculty Director during 2021-22. We also thank our institutional partners who make our work possible, including the State of California, the CSU Chancellor’s Office, The Kresge Foundation, Sacramento State University (where we are housed), and all 23 campuses of the CSU.
The Student Success Network in the California State University (CSU Network) experienced a breakthrough year in 2020-21, as we ramped up and adjusted our programming to support middle leaders in advancing equitable student learning, progression, completion, and success in the midst of a pandemic and a period of racial strife nationally. In light of the challenges posed by the onset of COVID-19, our activities took new forms and reached new levels of participation and impact. We also welcomed a new Network director and Convenings director, and we strengthened our organizational and financial footing.
In its fourth year, the Network facilitated the third Middle Leadership Academy; held a convening on educators’ growth mindsets about students and students’ sense of belonging on campus; piloted a virtual cross-campus consultancy; developed a multi-campus research project on bureaucratic barriers students experience in the CSU; and continued to cultivate key relationships across the CSU.
During its third year as a public-private partnership effort, the Network released two research studies on academic advising; facilitated the second Middle Leadership Academy, with 12 campus teams participating; supported two convenings hosted by CSU campuses; launched an improved website; and continued to cultivate key relationships across the CSU, including, for the first time, engaging all 23 CSU campuses in Network activities.
In its second year as a state-supported effort, the Network released its first two Applied Research publications focused on issues related to students’ experiences, launched the Middle Leadership Academy which provides professional learning opportunities for cross-role campus teams, supported two Convenings hosted by individual CSU campuses on topics of importance to every 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.
The CSU Student Success Network completed its first year of operation as a state-supported effort (in addition to funding from the The Kresge Foundation and College Futures Foundation). 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.
In its first year, the Network established an operational core including an Interim Advisory Board, financial systems, and a performance management system—and cultivated key relationships systemwide. The Network also made progress across all core work strands including communications, Applied Research, Student Success Labs, and Convenings.