Michelle Lopez, Senior Assistant Dean for Student Success
Pronouns:  She/Her


Michelle Lopez is Senior Assistant Dean in Faculty Advancement & Student Success (FASS). Previously she directed the Minority Biomedical Research Support/Initiative for Maximizing Student Development program in the College of Sciences where she led the program to achieve an 89% success rate of undergraduates enrolling in biomedical/behavioral science doctoral programs and built a blueprint for the College of Sciences to mentor/advise/engage STEM students academicaily and professionally.  Identifying with the first-generation college student experience, Michelle is a daughter of immigrant Filipino parents. She received her baccalaureate degree in Biology, Masters in Educational Leadership, Postsecondary Administration and is a Doctoral candidate in Educational Leadership.

Michelle‚Äôs research interests include post-transfer student success, building a diverse transfer receptive culture, access and success of underserved college student populations; and Filipina/o/x student retention in higher education. Her dissertation research will examine Filipina/o/x Post-Transfer Student Experiences at a Four-Year University. 

Michelle has 20 years of practitioner experience with programs to engage diverse students in academic scholarships, high-impact enrichment opportunities, major exploration, aligning major choice with strengths and interests, and early preparation for graduate study. 

In her role, Michelle is responsible for a broad range of matters relating to undergraduate student retention, advising, engagement and achievement, and overseeing the Student Success Office in FASS. Her work with the broader First-gen student population also led to contributing to earning SDSU's First-Gen Forward Advisory Status, as recognized by NASPA. Her work with the broader transfer student community and leading the Transfer Student Success Office is also highlighted in a recent case study through the CSU Student Success Network and presented to the San Jose State University Student Affairs Summer Institute, to inform new ways we can proactively engage and support transfer students (Spring 2021). 

She is a liaison and partner with various academic and student affairs-diversity offices and programs and represents SDSU on the Advisory Board for the CSU Success Network and the CSU Systemwide Monthly Advising Meetings. Recent professional presentations include the NASPA Student Success Annual Meeting (June 2021), CSU Student Success Network Virtual Conference (September/October 2020) and at the National Institute for the Study of Transfer Students (February 2021).  She also has a book chapter promoting promising practices to engage transfer students in progress. 

Michelle also serves on the Filipino American Advisory Committee, a team of Filipino educational leaders dedicated to strengthening  the Filipino student P-20 educational pathway.  She is also on the board for the Fiipinos of Southbay Exhibit, which will be showcased at the Chula Vista Public Library (date to be announced). She is dedicated to mentoring new and continuing Filipina/o/x students at SDSU who transition from the local service area, out of state, or who are international students, regardless of major and level. 

Diverse students mentored by Michelle are enrolled in top graduate programs across the nation, have completed their graduate degrees or are currently employed in higher education, the STEM industry and other professions.

Why is Michelle still at SDSU?  The answer to this frequently asked question is SDSU's diverse student community and key mentors who continue to support her personal & professional development and who continue to model effective inclusive leadership, teaching and mentoring practices. She is appreciative of her long-time mentors and encourages all students to seek out multiple mentors throughout their educational and professional journey. 

In her spare time, she enjoys spending time with family and friends, rotating walks at various SD locations, yoga, live music, and exploring food from different cultures. 

Students Schedule with Michelle to discuss any of the following:
- first year student success 
- general student success check-ins or consultations on a variety of issues or circumstances
- navigating or how to negotiate conversations between family expectations and SDSU expectations (e.g. changing major or career profession that matches students' strengths and goals). 
- finding campus community and mentors to support your goal
- undergraduate research opportunities, graduate school opportunities and funding
- other reasons related to student success and a successful path to graduation and post-graduate planning

Colleagues or Community Member(s) Schedule with Michelle to consult or strategically plan on:
-  transfer student success
-  first-generation college success 
-  first-year retention (various disciplines)
-  professional development opportunities
-  inclusive and holistic advising outreach and practices
-  student engagement -  partnership development to increase student engagement in high impact practices
-  strengthening undergraduate - graduate pathways
-  strengthening bridges for API/Filipino high school or transfer student successful bridging to SDSU
-  equity and inclusion in STEM
-  recruitment of diverse students into faculty-mentored opportunities
-  equity-minded strategies or practices to improve engaging  diverse students into academic spaces 
-  earlier, proactive advising and outreach practices to support underrepresented, first-gen and post-traditional students
-  undecided/undeclared student advising/support
-  improving communication and marketing strategies to engage prospective, enrolled or post-graduates