Commissioner of Higher Education,
State of Texas
Dr. Harrison Keller is the Commissioner of Higher Education for the State of Texas. He is a sixth-generation Texan with more than two decades of experience in educational budget and policy, digital learning, senior university administration, management, fundraising, and building effective coalitions among school districts, community colleges, universities, systems, and policymakers.
Dr. Keller’s appointment as the sixth Commissioner of Higher Education and chief executive officer for the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board was effective October 1, 2019.
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 and was Principal Investigator of the OnRamps dual enrollment initiative that provides college-level courses to tens of thousands of high school students across the state of Texas, and the Texas OnCourse initiative that works with Governor Greg Abbott’s Tri-Agency Workforce Initiative to improve secondary college and career advising across the state.
He 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. Dr. Keller also served at UT Austin as Vice Provost for Higher Education Policy and Research, and Executive Director of the Office of Educational Innovation and the Center for Teaching and Learning.
Prior to coming to UT Austin, Dr. Keller was Director of Research for the Texas House of Representatives and Senior Education Advisor for the Speaker of the Texas House. Dr. Keller has taught at Georgetown University, St. Edward’s University, and the University of Texas at Austin. He holds a bachelor’s degree in philosophy from the University of Notre Dame and an M.A. and Ph.D. in philosophy from Georgetown University. He and his wife, Gena Nivens Keller, live in Austin with their three children..