Student Success

CSUN Initiatives

CSUN is dedicated to putting student success at the center of all of its functions. We strive to ensure all students have the support they need to meet their academic, personal, and professional goals.


“The priority that drives all our other efforts and all other priorities is student success. It is because of our students and the promise and potential they represent that all of us and the university are here.”

- Dianne Harrison, President


Enhanced Advisement

Matador Advising Hub

First-time freshmen are now advised by a team of trained First Year Advisors in the newly established Matador Advising Hub

Freshman Learning Clusters

Students in the 2019 freshman class were offered the opportunity to register in S3 Freshman course clusters. The S3 groups had students from the same major enrolled in the same three classes (usually one General Education class, one writing class, and one major class). This scheduling gives them the opportunity to meet other new students in their major and form unofficial cohorts with one another.

Matador Academic Challenge

CSUN encourages all first-time full-time freshmen to enroll in a full load each semester. If a first-time freshman tries the 15-unit load, but then decides they would like to reduce their class load (after the regular add/drop period), they may request to withdraw from one class for the current semester. Restrictions apply.

Graduation and Retention Advising Specialists

A team of ten college-based Student Service Professionals was created to help more students graduate in 2 (transfers), and 4 and 6 (freshman) years, as well as work with students who have not completed 30 units in their first year.

EAB Navigate Early Alerts

Faculty issue progress reports for all students who are enrolled in Pre-General Education Math courses and targeted sections of large lower division GE courses that historically have had high DFU rates and opportunity gaps. The alerts go to advisors so that they may reach out to students and connect them to appropriate resources as needed.

Matadors Rising/Credit Momentum

Matadors Rising is CSUN’s student success campaign, which highlights the benefits of completing 15 credits per semester or 30 per year to reduce time to graduation. A key element of this effort is also connecting students to the wide variety of campus resources that support students in their educational journey at CSUN.

Faculty Development

Faculty Development offers equity-minded professional development programming for faculty.

Institute for Transformative Teaching and Learning

In the Institute for Transformative Teaching and Learning (ITTL), faculty are presented with different frameworks for creating a racially equitable classroom environment and curriculum, as well as brain-based pedagogical strategies for activating learning and engaging students. Participants learn about unconscious bias, how it can present itself in the teaching and mentoring practice, and strategies for interrupting it.

The Institute is data-informed in that each participant receives at the beginning of the program a report showing them the racial gaps in course grades and non-passing grades in the courses they teach, and are then given another report a year later so they can see whether their efforts to become more equity-minded practitioners are having an impact on student outcomes.

College deans with department chairs were provided a list of high DFU courses and/or high gap classes and encouraged to help recruit faculty to engage. Those faculty teaching those courses were invited to participating in this ITTL program.

Elements of the Institute for Transformative Teaching and Learning were incorporated into the eLearning Institutes in 2017 and 2018.

Metacognitive Learn-How-to-Learn Intervention

Saundra McGuire, former Chemistry Professor and Assistant Vice Chancellor Louisiana State University was invited to visit CSUN to present how a meta-cognition intervention, when done early in a course, shows promise in dramatically improving student performance before the end of term. The intervention entails the instructor using an hour of class time after the first major assessment (e.g., first quiz, exam, or major paper) to administer a short engaging lecture that teaches students how to learn effectively in that particular class. The intervention strategically weaves elements of growth-mindset messages (i.e., a belief that students can do well, in that course, with evidence) with meta-cognitive context specific study strategies. The Faculty Development Toolkit website provides details and sample intervention slides which can be used/adapted by instructors.

Transparent Assignment Intervention

Pilot program to investigate the implementation of an equity-minded pedagogical intervention called transparent assignment designs (by Mary-Ann Winkelmes, UNLV). Instructors are encouraged to structure their assignments making it clear what the long-term purpose is, all the detailed tasks involved, and what exact grading criteria will be used to evaluate the performance. With initial funding by California State University Chancellor’s Office via the Director of the Institute for Teaching and Learning of $7,500, and additional funds from GI2025 and Oviatt Libarary College, funding for this workshop has become institutionalized into most Faculty Development programs, including the eLearning Institute.

Matador Momentum

Matador Momentum is a cross-divisional team of staff, faculty, and students who engage to build campus capacity to enable, support, and accelerate first-year student success at CSUN.

Experience Confidence and Enjoyment in Learning (ExCEL) Program

The ExCEL program offers a model and strategies to help students gain academic confidence, a greater sense of belonging and tools to access their academic strengths and lived experiences of resiliency and purpose.