Maria Harper-Marinick

Maria Harper-Marinick
Maricopa Community Colleges

“The Maricopa Community Colleges value Center data because student success is at the heart of everything we do, and the Center gives us normative, robust, and reliable data on student engagement that informs decisions which enhance student retention and success.”

SENSE Registration

The Center's Mission

The Center for Community College Student Engagement, a research and service initiative of the Program in Higher Education Leadership in the Department of Educational Administration 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.

Surveys & Related Projects

The Center conducts a collection of national surveys:

The Center also operates several related initiatives.

Quick Links

Here are some other links you might find helpful:

To learn more about the Center, please feel free to give us a call at 512-471-6807.

See more video clips on the Center's YouTube Channel.
SENSE logo

Registration Now Open for SENSE 2017

Registration for the 2017 Survey of Entering Student Engagement (SENSE) is currently underway. Grounded in research about what works in supporting and retaining entering students, SENSE collects and analyzes data about institutional practices and student behaviors in the earliest weeks of college. These data can help colleges understand students' critical early experiences and improve institutional practices that affect student success in the first college year.

For more information, please contact


Check Out the Center's Fall E-News Update: Engagement Matters

The Center publishes Engagement Matters twice a year as a venue for providing project updates, previewing survey and focus group findings, and highlighting member college stories. This issue features the Center's newly updated Accreditation Guide, describes the importance of conducting cognitive interviews, and highlights a member college working to provide professional development to help faculty engage students beyond the classroom.

Center Releases New Report on the Underprepared Student and Community Colleges

Expectations Meet Reality: The Underprepared Student and Community Colleges

Expectations Meet Reality: The Underprepared Student and Community Colleges, with findings collected from more than 70,000 community college students across 150 institutions, explores the typical community college student experience in the areas of assessment, placement, and developmental education—and it also highlights innovative practices in work with underprepared students.


While many in the field agree that developmental education is broken and is a barrier to completion, the job of the community college has always been and still is to educate the students who walk through its doors. The persistent reality is that the majority of those students do not reach their goals. One thing is certain: A divide exists between students' expectations for college and the reality that many are not prepared for college-level work. The bridge that will shorten the distance between the two must be the aggressive and urgent work of colleges in redesigning the educational pathway for all students.


On March 2nd, Center Director Evelyn Waiwaiole and staff hosted a special webinar on Expectations Meet Reality. A video of the webinar and the presentation slides are now available.

Please also see the related news release and other supporting materials.

Watch an interview with Center Director Evelyn Waiwaiole and The Chronicle of Higher Education regarding the report.

Increasing Student Success Through Improved Financial Health

The Center, working alongside existing MetLife partners, has received a MetLife Foundation grant to expand upon emerging knowledge about community college financial health—and gain new knowledge about the impact that financial health has on student engagement, a key indicator of student success and retention.


The Center will conduct research—through the development, administration, and reporting of survey items—intended to assist the diverse community college student population and the leaders, faculty, and staff of community colleges as they work toward implementing policies to ensure that students with low financial education are successful. This new project builds upon the Center's Student Voices: Financial Vulnerability and Other Factors in Community College Students' Access and Success, part of ongoing work of the Initiative on Student Success.



The Pathways Project - Guiding Students to College Completion

Pathways Project logo

Implementing guided academic and career pathways at scale—for all students—is the shared commitment of 30 colleges selected, through a highly competitive national process, to participate in the Pathways Project led by the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC).


The Center is part of the national partnership, which is focused on building capacity for community colleges to implement a pathways approach to student success and college completion. Partners are Achieving the Dream, Inc., the Aspen Institute, Community College Research Center, Jobs for the Future, the National Center for Inquiry and Improvement, and Public Agenda. These organizations have participated actively in the college selection process and also are substantively involved in designing and delivering a model series of six two-day institutes, each focusing on key elements in a fully scaled pathway model for community colleges. The Project is funded through a $5.2 million grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.



Center for Community College Student Engagement
—a Research and Service Initiative—
Program in Higher Education Leadership | Department of Educational Administration  | College of Education
The University of Texas at Austin
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