Paying Mentorship Forward to Help Students Succeed

Submitted by Jackie Stallcup

Jackie StallcupPhoto courtesy of Lee Chou

I am excited to be starting as Director of Student Success Initiatives in Fall 2017. This position dovetails with new initiatives and programs in CSUN's Matadors Rising campaign, which aims to improve retention and graduation rates for all students while erasing opportunity gaps for historically underserved populations. I will be working closely with the College of Humanities advising team and department chairs on projects including:

  • Reaching out to students who are on schedule to graduate in four years (or two, if transfers) to help them stay on track
  • Conducting outreach to first-year students to encourage them to continue into their sophomore year
  • Working with College Data Champions to create data-driven student success projects at department and college levels
  • Working with faculty and department chairs to use new data dashboards to improve retention in their majors and minors
  • Using data analytics to help department chairs create more effective and student-friendly course schedules
  • Working with our Graduation and Retention Advising Specialist to create student-centered mentoring, peer counseling, and outreach
  • Identifying and eliminating potential roadblocks to graduation

I joined the faculty at CSUN in 1999 as an Assistant Professor in the English department. As I carved my path to tenure and promotion, I worked on a variety of department, college, and university committees and then was elected English department chair in 2011. My area of specialty is children's literature and I have taught courses on children's and adolescent literatures, 19th-century American literature, fairy tales and feminist theory, and the history of children's book illustration. My research focuses on issues of power, surveillance, and control in adult/child relationships as manifested in literature written for children. My community work includes presenting for teachers through L.A. Opera, organizing community read-aloud sessions, participating in One City, One Book celebrations, and performing public readings of controversial texts for Banned Books Week. 

One of the things that I love about teaching at CSUN is that I recognize myself in so many of my students. I was born in Maywood and grew up in southeast Los Angeles. After attending community college, I transferred to Cal Poly Pomona, where I switched majors several times before finally settling on English. Mentorship from patient and caring faculty members was vital to my success as a student as I fumbled my way through figuring out what I wanted to do; it is important to me to pay that forward. My new position is the perfect combination of hands-on work with individual students and big-picture, data-driven planning that I hope will benefit many more students in helping them to stay in school, take the courses they need when they need them, and graduate in a timely manner.