Victor B. Sáenz, Ph.D. is Chair of the Department of Educational Leadership and Policy at the University of Texas at Austin and a Professor in the Program in Higher Education Leadership (PHEL). He is a Fellow in the Sid W. Richardson Regents Chair in Community College Leadership, and 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. Since 2008 he has also been a Faculty Fellow with the UT Division of Diversity and Community Engagement (DDCE). Dr. Sáenz has published in numerous peer-reviewed journals and recently published two books, including one on Latino males in higher education (Stylus Publishing, 2016). His current research agenda seeks to advance research-informed best practices and policy solutions that improve educational outcomes for underserved students in postsecondary education, with a special emphasis on young men of color.
In 2010 Dr. Sáenz founded an award-winning initiative called Project MALES (Mentoring to Achieve Latino Educational Success), a multi-pronged effort based at UT-Austin that is focused on advancing success strategies for male students of color across the education pipeline. In 2013 the project launched a statewide initiative called the Texas Education Consortium for Male Students of Color. 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.
Dr. Sáenz has received several notable accolades in his academic career. 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. Over the years, he has been quoted and cited in numerous news stories, policy reports, and scholarly publications, and his research work on Latino males in higher education continues to gain national attention. He 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 spoken about his research and programmatic work on Capitol Hill and at conferences across the country. 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 and the Ann Richards School Foundation Board.
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. He was born and raised in the Rio Grande Valley and currently lives in Austin, where he and his partner Erica live with their son Victor "Augie" Sáenz.