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Harrison Keller

Commissioner, Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board


Dr. Keller is a sixth-generation Texan with nearly 25 years of experience in state budget and policy, university administration, fundraising, and building coalitions among higher education institutions, school districts, and policymakers.

At the Coordinating Board, Dr. Keller has worked with higher education leaders, employers, and policymakers to develop and advance the state’s strategic plan for higher education, Building a Talent Strong Texas. With the adoption of this plan in January 2022, Texas became the first state to condition its goals for awarding higher education credentials on the value of those credentials to students. Dr. Keller has also worked with Governor Abbott, legislators, and higher education leaders to accelerate innovation and increase support for financial aid, transfer, workforce education, and research and development.

Dr. Keller is a recognized innovator in policy and programs to improve college readiness and student success, especially for low-income and first-generation students. He is the founder of the OnRamps dual enrollment initiative that provides college-level courses to tens of thousands of high school students across Texas each year. He also founded Texas OnCourse, which supports college and career advising in secondary schools across the state.

Dr. Keller came to the Coordinating Board from The University of Texas at Austin, where he was Deputy to the President for Strategy and Policy and a Professor of Practice. At UT Austin, Dr. Keller also served as Vice Provost for Higher Education Policy and Research, and as Executive Director of the Center for Teaching and Learning. Earlier in his career, Dr. Keller was a legislative aide in the Texas Senate and House of Representatives, Director of Research for the Texas House, and Senior Education Advisor for the Speaker of the Texas House.

Education & Training

Dr. Keller has taught at Georgetown University, St. Edward’s University, and The University of Texas at Austin. He holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Notre Dame and an M.A. and Ph.D. in philosophy from Georgetown University. From 2005 to 2015, he served as an intelligence officer in the United States Navy Reserve.

Outside Interests

Dr. Keller and his wife, Gena Nivens Keller, live in Austin with their three children.

Why I Work With NCHEMS

NCHEMS offers unparalleled depth and breadth of experience and perspective across state and national higher education policy contexts. I am honored to work with and learn from the NCHEMS board and staff.