Projects and Centers

Center for Community College Student Engagement

The Center for Community College Student Engagement (CCCSE), a research and service initiative of the Community College Leadership Program in the College of Education at The University of Texas at Austin, provides important information about effective educational practice in community colleges. The Center assists institutions and policymakers in using information to promote improvements in student learning, persistence, and attainment. With its large-scale research, both quantitative and qualitative, the Center has established itself as a leading voice in community college improvement efforts.

Member colleges—those that have administered the Community College Survey of Student Engagement (CCSSE) and/or the Survey of Entering Student Engagement (SENSE)—represent close to 80 percent of public, associate-degree granting institutions in the United States. In conjunction with CCSSE, the Center also offers to colleges the ability to capture the faculty voice through its Community College Faculty Survey of Student Engagement (CCFSSE). The Center’s newest survey, the Community College Institutional Survey (CCIS), assesses the extent to which high-impact educational practices are implemented at colleges across the country.

Each of these four surveys collects data from a particular perspective, and together they provide a comprehensive understanding of educational practices on community college campuses and how these practices influence students’ experiences. All are empirically-based tools appropriate for multiple uses, such as benchmarking and accreditation.

In addition to the core survey work, the Center is engaged in a variety of other related activities. Currently, the Center is home to several grant-funded initiatives.

The Center's website can be found at:

About Advise TX

Advise TX places exceptional recent college graduates from all fields of study on high school campuses as near-peer college advisers to lead low-income and first-generation students to college.  Advise TX advisers receive intensive training before serving in a high school, completing a six-week practical curriculum that focuses on college access, college admissions, financial aid, student services, diversity, community service, and professionalism.  Advisers live within their service areas, involving themselves in the communities that they serve.

The program page can be found here:  AdviseTX

The Higher Education Administration Student/Professional Association (HEASPA)

As the name suggests, HEASPA is an association of higher education administration students studying at the masters and doctoral levels in the Higher Education Administration Program of the Education Administration Department at The University of Texas at Austin.

In an effort to foster relationships and communication among students, faculty, administration, and the profession, we have joined together as a group to exchange ideas, share resources, and develop our academic and professional careers. We welcome all participation.

National Institute for Staff and Organizational Development (NISOD)

NISOD is a membership organization committed to promoting and celebrating excellence in teaching, learning, and leadership at community and technical colleges. For community and technical colleges that want to make the most of their professional development dollars, NISOD provides budget-friendly, high-quality, and faculty-focused programs and resources. For nearly 40 years, NISOD’s customer-focused approach has helped align our wide array of benefits with the needs of our members, which explains why the American Association of Community Colleges named NISOD, “The country’s leading provider of professional development for community college faculty, staff, and administrators.”

NISOD has its roots in the research and development activities of the Community College Leadership Program within the Department of Educational Administration at The University of Texas at Austin, and it is now the department’s primary connection with community and technical faculty, staff, and administrators who support teaching and learning excellence in the field.

NISOD’s activities and programs are based on the premise that teaching excellence is a result of concerned and focused leadership, increased awareness and use of adult learning principles, exemplary teaching practices and technologies, and a profound commitment to student success. Member colleges who make this commitment to teaching excellence aim to:

  • Enrich the learning experience for all students;
  • Enhance the standards of excellence throughout the academic community; and
  • Recognize, celebrate, and reward outstanding educators and their accomplishments.

To assist its members fulfill their commitment to teaching excellence, NISOD provides access to the following exceptional benefits:

Visit or contact Ed Leach at or (512) 232-1430 for additional information about NISOD member benefits.

Student Success Initiative (SSI)

SSI is a grant-funded group that provides training and consultants to community college administrators and trustees. SSI focuses on helping community colleges use cohort-tracking data to increase student success and close equity gaps.

Current Projects

Achieving the Dream

SSI provides leadership coaches that visit each of 185 participating community colleges with the goal of creating an institutional transformation geared towards student success, informed by institutional cohort-tracking data.

Governance Institute for Student Success 

This grant provides training for community college board of trustees members in aspects of good governance combined with an evidence-informed student success agenda in policy making. (Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation-funded national initiative in partnership with Association of Community College Trustees (ACCT))

Board of Trustees Institute

Provides training for community college board of trustees members from Texas colleges who have or are currently participating in Achieving the Dream. Focuses on an evidence-informed student success agenda in policy making. (Houston Endowment and Greater Texas Foundation-funded national initiative)

Gulf Coast Partners Achieving Student Success

Aimed at increasing student completion and success by working with eleven Gulf Coast ISDs and eight community colleges. SSI manages this grant and provides coaching for the Gulf Coast community colleges. (Houston Endowment-funded Gulf Coast region initiative)

Past Projects

Developmental Education Initiative 

Fifteen Achieving the Dream community colleges and five states were chosen to participate in this grant. Participating colleges focused on helping students make progress quickly through developmental education through focusing on student services, curriculum redesign, and technology, among other areas. Scaling successful innovations was emphasized. SSI provided technical assistance providers/consultants for the DEI project. (Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation-funded national initiative)

California Leadership Alliance for Student Success 

SSI and the Center for Community College Student Engagement (CCCSE) worked with leaders at twelve California community colleges focusing attention on leadership strategies and policies to increase successful outcomes for California community college students. (The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation and The James Irvine Foundation-funded project)

Stupski Project

The Stupski Foundation has partnered with the University of Texas at Austin. Both entities will be working with selected districts across the nation. The purpose of the course/project is to develop a deep understanding of what it takes to significantly increase student academic achievement and close achievement gap. Research of district reform will be a focus along with examples of districts that have attained significant results. The Foundation's organizational assessment instrument will provide a structure for understanding the reform from a district perspective. Research-based core essential elements in the organizational assessment provide a way of thinking about and understanding the changes that must take place for a district to be high performing.

Texas Center for Education Policy

A central purpose of the center is to bring researchers together whose work has direct bearing on policy issues of the day and to in turn bring them together with the larger stakeholder education communities statewide. Internally, we have begun to accomplish this through a series of highly successful policy brown bags as noted herein. Several of us have also been involved in the legislative session, advising policymakers on dropout prevention, student assessment, and teacher quality. Soon we will be posting policy briefs on our legislative-related work and activities.