Voices are briefs and interviews that highlight “bright spots” in the CSU and examples of middle leadership across the system and within Network activities.
There is no universal definition of a first-generation college student. A 2018 study used eight different definitions of first-generation to analyze the college-related activities of over 7000 students: researchers found that between 22- to 77-percent of students in the sample could be considered first-generation depending on the definition used. As established by the Higher Education Act of 1965, the federal government considers a student to be first-generation if both parents do not hold a four-year degree. In contrast to the federal definition, the CSU system defines a first-generation student as one whose parents did not attend any college. 
After the Dobbs decision was released, CSU Interim Chancellor Jolene Koester issued a strong statement condemning the ruling and supporting access to healthcare and reproductive rights for women. She also expressed concerns about “the broader implications of today’s decision that threaten other fundamental freedoms we hold dear—including additional privacy rights and marriage equality—with particularly ominous potential impacts to the LGBTQIA+ community.” Several CSU campus presidents, including from Fresno State, Sacramento State, and San Jose State, also released statements supporting reproductive justice and the rights of women to make decisions about their own health and future.
Dr. Karyn Scissum Gunn participated in the Academy as a team member in 2020-21 and as a team lead in 2019-20. At the time, she was associate vice president for academic operations/student success at Cal State Fullerton. She has since advanced in her own career and now serves as provost and senior vice president for academic affairs at CSU Long Beach. In our recent video interview, Dr. Scissum Gunn describes the vision of the Academy and her takeaways from it.
Supporting Men of Color in the CSU: How Miguel Jimenez and Stanislaus State University Used the CSU Student Success Network to Create Change
During 2020-21, Miguel Jimenez, program coordinator of the Male Success Initiative at California State University, Stanislaus, worked with a team from his campus to develop a stronger institutional approach to engage and support Men of Color on campus. As part of this process, the team participated in several events by the CSU Student Success Network (Network) to examine student data, develop action plans, and implement changes on campus.
The CSU Student Success Network (Network) stands in solidarity with efforts throughout the CSU system to strengthen our institutional culture around Title IX and civil rights. To this end, we support our fellow middle leaders (faculty, staff, and administrators) and students in strengthening dialogue, accountability, and actions on and across our campuses. The Network also supports transparency in the selection process, including open campus forums for executive positions such as system chancellor and campus presidents, to provide opportunities for public comments on prospective leaders.
This blog is based on interviews with incoming second-year CSU students who attended college virtually during their first year. Highlights of the interviews are enlightening, and they contributed to a lively discussion with a panel of CSU faculty and staff during the CSU Student Success Network Conference in October 2021. The panel focused on what we can learn from students as we reframe our approaches to student engagement during the pandemic.
The CSU Student Success Network is celebrating its first five years of supporting middle leaders in developing campus practices and outcomes that are equitable and student-centered. Since 2016, over 1,800 faculty, staff, and administrators from every CSU campus have stepped forward to get involved in the Network’s activities. At Network events, these middle leaders work with colleagues from their own campus, share strategies and research with other CSU campuses, examine student data, plan new approaches, and work together back on campus to advance policies that support equitable student learning, engagement, progression, and completion.
The CSU Student Success Network launched its new Knowledge Center with the release of a new memo that identifies steps that CSU campuses can take to improve persistence and completion for Students of Color who transfer into the CSU. The memo, called “Supporting the Success of Transfer Students of Color by Strengthening your Transfer-Receptive Campus Climate,” is directed to faculty, staff, and administrators in the CSU and is based on findings from a review of research literature in postsecondary education.
Bianca Mothé, New Director of the CSU Network, Builds Middle Leadership and Equitable Student Success in the CSU
The CSU Student Success Network named Bianca Romina Mothé, Ph.D., professor of biological sciences at Cal State San Marcos, as its new director. As a faculty member and researcher at San Marcos since 2003, Dr. Mothé has helped design novel vaccines for rapidly mutating pathogens, including HIV. She also served as associate dean for undergraduate studies from 2016 to 2018 and faculty director for service learning from 2013-2016.
The Roles of Middle Leaders in Equity and Student Success: An Interview with Ántonia Peigahi at Sac State
In this Q & A, Ántonia Peigahi, director of policy and records management at California State University Sacramento, shares her perspectives about the power of being a “middle leader” in supporting equitable student success, including through her work on the advisory board of the CSU Student Success Network. The Network defines middle leaders as faculty, staff, and administrators in the CSU who have leadership roles on campus regardless of whether their position title acknowledges these roles.