This grounded theory study sought to explore student and faculty perceptions of their experiences as participants in a basic writing program offered by a large, multi-campus community college district. Of particular interest was how institutional culture on each of the campuses may have shaded participant perceptions of teaching and learning in the context of a basic writing program. Thirty-three student and faculty interviews, in conjunction with an analysis of the course outline of record for the course one level below transfer, yielded the finding that engagement between faculty and student, student and institution, and faculty and institution is a continuous process. The theory that resulted from this study can be expressed thusly: Engagement doesn't exist in isolated pockets of institutional culture (e.g. student advising or curriculum committees). Engagement is a continuously occurring process (rather than a product) that ushers students and faculty toward intended outcomes; it affects students, faculty, and institution differently, but simultaneously. It is incumbent upon the colleges therefore, to maintain campus cultures that foster the process of engagement and facilitate student success, whether that success is defined by the student as transfer to a four-year institution or becoming certificated for the workplace. Cooperative or collaborative inquiry groups consisting of instructional and student services faculty are recommended to assist in the creation or sustaining of campus cultures that support the process of engaging participants in basic writing programs in the district studied.