Directors of Student Success and Advising for the Colleges of Arts and Letters, Business and Economics, Health and Human Services, and Natural and Social Sciences

Marcedes Butler

Marcedes Butler was born and raised in southern California. She graduated from California State University, Long Beach (CSULB) with dual bachelor degrees in Psychology and Black Studies, and a Master of Science degree in Student Development in Higher Education. Currently, she is an educational psychology doctoral student at the University of Southern California (USC). Her research interests focus on appreciative advising, retention, academic success, and persistence of at risk populations. She has worked in higher education for more than 10 years with experience in a variety of areas including academic advisement, student services and academic support programs.

Prior to becoming the Director of Academic Success and Advising, Marcedes was the Lead Academic Counselor in the Office of Academic Review and Retention at USC where she worked extensively with at risk student populations.  During her tenure at USC, she created and implemented an appreciative advising program to retain academic probation students. In her free time, Marcedes enjoys concerts, traveling, and spending time with family and friends.


Andrew Long

Andrew Long graduated with an MA in History from California State University, Los Angeles, in 2002, and a BA in United States Studies from the University of Essex, England, in 1997.  He brings a breadth of experience working with students as an academic advisor, a college lecturer, and as a higher education administrator.  In 2004 Andrew joined CSU Dominguez Hills as an academic advisor in the Health and Human Services College, before being asked to lead the CSUDH University Advisement Center as Director.  During his tenure at CSUDH he worked closely with advising faculty and staff to ensure students received accurate and timely advising, and also oversaw the growth and development of the First Year Experience Program.  In 2009 Andrew left CSUDH to work as Director of Advising at Clark College in Vancouver, Washington.  Under his leadership, Clark College, a community college in the Pacific Northwest, professionalized their advising model by utilizing new technologies and software, increased advising accountability, improved support and training for staff and faculty advisors, and evidenced achievement of specific student learning outcomes during the advising process.  Andrew also received the Presidential Award for excellence and commitment to Clark College.

Since first working as a Graduate Peer Advisor in the Academic Advisement Center at Cal State LA Andrew has maintained a passion for working with diverse, non-traditional students.  As a first-generation college graduate Andrew takes great satisfaction seeing students graduate and achieve their educational goals.  Throughout his career he has sought out opportunities to further this work and is excited to return to Cal State LA as Director of Student Success and Advising.


Janet Vera Lopez

Dr. Janet Vera Lopez received a B.A. in Sociology and Spanish Literature from the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA). She went on to complete a M.Ed. in Postsecondary Administration and Student Affairs and an Ed.D. in Educational Leadership at the University of Southern California (USC). Her doctoral dissertation examined the reasons undergraduate students participate in international education using a gap analysis model. Janet served as the Director of the Student Success and Support Program (SSSP) at Irvine Valley College (IVC). In this role, she supported student engagement and connection to support services by developing college initiatives including Laser Week, a week-long orientation experience for new students, and the Peer Navigator program, a leadership opportunity for current students.

Prior to IVC, Janet held a number of positions in USC's Marshall School of Business. As the Senior Associate Director in the Marshall School of Business Undergraduate Advising Office, she provided leadership to a team of advisors, developed first year programs, coordinated the internal admissions process for USC students interested in applying to business majors and minors, and delivered domestic and international orientation sessions for freshmen and transfer students. Additionally, she directed various school-wide initiatives such as the development of a tutoring program that empowered students to succeed academically and persist through graduation.

While working as a coordinator for the Undergraduate Research Center (URC) at UCLA, Janet organized and implemented large-scale academic events that exposed diverse student populations to careers in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) fields. She also advised student groups including the Psi Chi Honor Society and the Undergraduate Psychology Journal.

Janet has worked in higher education administration for over 10 years and has experience in various areas including advising, curriculum development, first-year experience programs, leadership development, assessment, academic support services, peer mentor programs, orientation, and admission. In her free time, Janet enjoys traveling, teaching, and spending time with her family and friends.


Gene Saddan

Gene Sandan joins the Golden Eagle community with over 16 years of progressively responsible experience as a collaborative leader and passionate student success advocate.  He most recently served as the Assistant Dean of Academic Advising at UC San Diego’s Thurgood Marshall College.  At UC San Diego, Gene researched and implemented innovative uses of technology to meet the advising needs of students, led an initiative to provide a more cohesive advising experience for new transfer students, and established the College’s undeclared workshop series.  In his role as a student advocate, he develops a strong trust and rapport with his students with his easy-going nature and professional philosophy of validating students’ prior knowledge and experiences.  He leverages his strong relationships with campus offices to help students with extraordinary circumstances address complex academic issues.

Gene has a Master of Arts degree in Postsecondary Educational Leadership from San Diego State University and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Urban Studies and Planning from UC San Diego.  He is currently a Doctor of Education candidate at the USC Rossier School of Education. Gene’s identity as a first-generation college graduate influenced his current research interests on the role of student services practitioners in addressing equity on college campuses.