Michelle Lopez, Senior Assistant Dean for Student Success
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’s 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 related to student
retention, reenrollment, advising, engagement and achievement. Her work with the broader
First-gen student population led to earning SDSU's First-Gen Forward Advisory Status, as recognized by NASPA. Her work with the broader transfer student community and leading Transfer Academic
Engagement was also highlighted in the CSU Student Success Network case study and presented to the San Jose State University Student Affairs Summer Institute on
how to proactively engage and support transfer students (Spring 2021).
Michelle represents SDSU on the Advisory Board for the CSU Success Network and the CSU Systemwide Monthly Advising Meetings. Recent professional presentations include an abstract submission to NASPA about SDSU's Reenrollment Intiative (2023), Transfers Matter at NASPA (June 2021), First-Gen Success at the CSU Student Success Network Virtual Conference (September/October 2020) and Building a Culture of Transfer Student Engagement & Excellence at the National Institute for the Study of Transfer Students (February 2021).
Michelle served on the Filipino American Advisory Committee, a team of Filipino educational leaders dedicated to strengthening the Filipino student P-20 educational pathway. She also served on the board for the Fiipinos of Southbay Exhibit, showcasing at the Chula Vista Public Library. 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