Victor B. Sáenz, Ph.D. is Chair of the Department of Educational Leadership and Policy at the University of Texas at Austin and the W. K. Kellogg Professor in Community College Leadership. He also holds courtesy appointments with the Center for Mexican American Studies, the Department of Mexican American and Latina/o Studies, the Irma Rangel Public Policy Institute, the Institute for Urban Policy Research & Analysis, and the UCLA Higher Education Research Institute.
Sáenz's current work advances research-informed best practices and policy solutions that improve educational outcomes for underserved students in education, with a special emphasis on boys and young men of color. In 2010 Sáenz co-founded an award-winning initiative at UT-Austin called Project MALES (Mentoring to Achieve Latino Educational Success), a multi-pronged effort focused on advancing educational outcomes for male students of color (based within the Division of Diversity and Community Engagement). Under Project MALES he launched a nationally recognized Student Mentoring Program that partners with local schools to connect undergraduate peer mentors with middle school and high school male students. He also co-created a network of K-12 and higher education institutions called the Texas Education Consortium for Male Students of Color that focuses on advancing educational outcomes for this critical student population. Supported by grants from the Greater Texas Foundation (GTF), the Trellis Foundation, and the Kresge Foundation, this statewide collaborative focuses on improving educational outcomes for male students of color across the state of Texas. The Consortium is made up of over thirty institutional partners in K-12 and higher education, and it seeks to align and coordinate existing programs and services that target underrepresented male students across the education continuum.
Over the years, Sáenz has received various research and service recognitions for his support of schools, students, and communities (e.g., Somos Austin, Seedling Mentors, Catch the Next). In 2009 he was named by Diverse Magazine as "One of 25 to Watch" diversity leaders in American higher education. In fall 2010, he was recognized as one of seven "ING Professors of Excellence" among over two thousand faculty members at the University of Texas. In 2018 he received a Research Award from the AERA Hispanic Research Issues SIG. He has also earned several faculty fellowships at UT-Austin and is currently the holder of the W.K. Kellogg Professorship in Community College Leadership.
Sáenz has co-authored three books and has published dozens of peer-reviewed articles and book chapters, and his work has been cited in numerous policy reports, scholarly publications, and by local and national media. He has presented his research at countless conferences and meetings across the country, including at the White House, the National Press Club, and on Capitol Hill. Sáenz is a member of two distinguished editorial boards for peer-reviewed journals in his field, and he is an active member of several national associations focused on higher education issues, including ASHE, AERA, AIR, AAHHE, and TACHE. He has also served on the national boards of the Association for the Study of Higher Education, the American Association of Hispanics in Higher Education, the National Resource Center for the First Year Experience, the Hispanic Scholarship Consortium, and the Texas Puente Project (Catch the Next). Locally he serves on the UT Elementary School Management Board, the Ann Richards School Foundation Board, and the Texas Lyceum Board. He is currently the Board Chair of AAHHE, a national association committed to advancing leadership opportunities for the Latinx community in higher education.
Dr. Sáenz earned his Ph.D. in Higher Education and Organizational Change in 2005 from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), where he also completed a Master's in Education in 2002. He also earned a Master's degree in Public Affairs (1999, LBJ School of Public Affairs) and a Bachelors degree in Mathematics (1996, College of Natural Sciences) from the University of Texas at Austin. Dr. Sáenz is a fourth-generation Texan and a second-generation Longhorn.