Carnegie Mellon University

Michael Poljak

Michael J. Poljak

Associate Director of Student Success and Persistence


For the better part of a decade at CMU, Mike’s work has been centered around directly supporting students, designing and implementing academic success initiatives, and researching the impact of our work on our students and university overall. He believes that all students have the ability to succeed at CMU, and in order to effectively support student success, we must strive to deeply understand both our students and our environment; purposeful progress follows deep understanding.

Mike’s approach and commitment to supporting students stems from his personal and academic journey, which started with a focus in athletics while playing and coaching ice hockey, and eventually led to degrees in Philosophy, Psychology, Higher Education, and Counseling. His multi-dimensional background and experience-based perspectives come through in his passion for helping students develop a sense of agency and fully realizing their potential.

When not at CMU, you can find Mike drinking too much coffee, enjoying good times and conversations with family and friends, and being as active as possible.

A surprising thing about me: I was a hockey player in a past life.

My favorite quote: Everything looks perfect from far away

My favorite song: Anything by Bon Iver, Nathaniel Rateliff, or Shakey Graves

My favorite movie: Dead Poets Society

I'm a fan of...: Sushi, Pittsburgh Penguins, Guitar, Music, Coffee, Outdoors, Mountain Biking, etc.