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The Research Advancing Identities and Student Experiences Center, or RAISE Center, began in spring 2022 as an effort to revivify research and outreach about SFA’s college students and explore how identity develops through their formative college experiences. The RAISE Center will aim to profile the spectrum of diversity that comprises the contemporary college student through research and critical praxis. Programming will discuss and highlight student populations, trends and issues in regard to how they are supported by our institutions. Furthermore, the center will explore the identity experiences of the diverse spectrum of our students to highlight their intersections of identity and research crucial issues facing students within their persistence towards graduation.

Inaugural RAISE Conference - Feb. 22, 2024

The RAISE Center, will host the inaugural RAISE Conference Feb. 22, 2024. This year's conference theme is “The Research Odyssey: Charting New Waters in Identities, Experiences and Community Engagement.”

RAISE Conference Schedule

For questions or additional information, email

RAISE Center Journal

The RAISE Center is excited to announce the upcoming launch of the RAISE Center Journal which is set to debut in February 2024. The first issue of the RAISE Center Journal will include the proceedings of the inaugural RAISE Conference to be held on February 22, 2024. Themed “The Research Odyssey: Charting New Waters in Identities, Experiences, and Community Engagement”, this conference welcomes diverse and insightful submissions from the university community. The journal will showcase top presentations, epitomizing the breadth and depth of research aligned with the journal's mission.

In line with the RAISE Center mission, the journal aims to reshape the discourse around the diversity of college student identities, understanding of inclusive and transformative experiences on college student development and the transition beyond college. This peer-reviewed publication will encompass a wide range of research, reflective of the center’s core objectives.

The RAISE Center Journal will serve as a platform for original research, promoting collaboration among SFA researchers, graduate students, administrators and practitioners. It aims to enhance research capacity in higher education and form a network of scholars dedicated to this vital field.

Journal and Conference Timeline

  • Nov. 16, 2023 - Call for Proposals open
  • Dec. 8, 2023 - Proposal submission link opens
  • Jan. 26, 2024 - Call for Proposals closes
  • Feb. 2, 2024 - Notification of acceptance
  • Feb. 22, 2024 - RAISE Conference
  • Feb. 22, 2024 - RAISE Journal Conference Proceedings published

RAISE Center Mission

The mission of the RAISE Center will be to support research activities and outreach about higher education specifically related to the identity development and experiences of college students.

The center’s activities are organized around centering student experiences through three A’s: amplifying voice, affirming identity and advancing belonging.

  1. Amplifying voice will foreground marginalized social identities across student populations to explore how the college student experience expands their developmental narrative despite systemic barriers and personal challenges. 
  2. Affirming identity will center specific identities across gender, racial and cultural identities to discuss how institutions or their individual lived experiences influence their identity salience and may facilitate learning across differences.
  3. Advancing belonging will highlight the potential ways in which the college experience can involve student populations the research notes as “invisible identities,” which are often pushed to the far boundaries of the cocurricular experience.

Research Activities and Opportunities

  • Enhance research capacity about higher education related to college student identities and promote research collaboration among SFA researchers, graduate students, administrators and practitioners
  • Build capacity to be competitive in obtaining grant funding and sustainable external funding
  • Author and collaborate on original research by forming an extended network of higher education researchers and scholars who examine college student identities and their experiences
  • Promote the study of college student identity research related to undergraduate student experiences through the creation of an academic journal
  • Disseminate knowledge and scholarship through public service, which will include continuing education and training workshops

Contact the RAISE Center

For research projects and to connect with the RAISE Center, please email, or you may contact either of the co-directors for more information.

Dr. Gina Fe Causin
Co-Director of the RAISE Center
School of Human Sciences 

Dr. Michael Walker
Co-Director of the RAISE Center
Department of Human Services and Educational Leadership

RAISE Center
Human Services Building, Room 315
P.O. Box 13019


Department of Human Services and Educational Leadership
Faculty Directory

Human Services Building
Suite 302

Mailing Address:
P.O. Box 13019, SFA Station
Nacogdoches, Texas 75962