•Fellow, Sid W. Richardson Regents Chair in Community College Leadership
•W. K. Kellogg Professor in Community College Leadership, Department of Educational Leadership and Policy
•W. K. Kellogg Professorship of Community College Leadership
•Leads the Project MALES (Mentoring to Achieve Latino Educational Success Initiative)focused on Latino males in education; seeks to advance research-informed policy solutions that enhance educational outcomes for underserved students in secondary and post-secondary education.
His 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 that form a statewide consortium focused on advancing educational outcomes for this critical student population.
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, National Hispanic Institute, Con Mi Madre). 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, meetings, and institutions across North America, including at the White House, the National Press Club, on Capitol Hill, and in Puebla, Mexico. 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). He is currently the Board Chair of AAHHE, a national association committed to advancing leadership opportunities for the Latinx community in higher education. Locally he serves on the UT Elementary School Management Board, the Ann Richards School Foundation Board, and the Texas Lyceum 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 Bachelor’s 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.
- The Future of Education and Work
- Latino Educational Success