Raymund A. Paredes, Ph.D. is the Commissioner of Higher Education. Dr. Paredes spent most of his academic career at the University of California at Los Angeles, where he served as an English professor, Associate Vice Chancellor for Academic Development, and special assistant to the President.
Prior to coming to the Coordinating Board in July 2004, Dr. Paredes was Vice President for Programs at the Hispanic Scholarship Fund (HSF) where he was responsible for scholarship and outreach programs. Before joining HSF, he was Director of Creativity & Culture at The Rockefeller Foundation from 2001 to 2003.
Since Dr. Paredes joined the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board as Commissioner of Higher Education in July 2004, his primary focus has been on closing the education gaps in student participation and success. He has traveled across the state, building partnerships with the K-12 education community, including the development of a strong relationship with the Texas Education Agency, two-year and four-year institutions of higher education, elected officials, educational leaders, the business community, and community-based organizations.
In May 2006, during the Third Called Special Session, the 79th Texas Legislature passed House Bill 1, which is largely a reification of Commissioner Paredes’ vision regarding the achievement of the participation and success goals of Closing the Gaps. Once in place, HB 1 will dramatically improve college readiness, college-going rates, and college success in Texas and will serve as a national model for raising academic achievement throughout the educational pipeline.
His key message for closing the gaps in student participation and success is to:
- Emphasize the importance of early childhood education and cognitive
- Create a college-going culture in every pre-K–12 school in Texas;
- Increase the rigor of the high school senior year;
- Align high-school exit standards and college-entrance standards;
- Increase state and federal financial aid;
- Overhaul developmental education;
- Increase transfer rates from two-year to four-year institutions;
- Improve the quality of undergraduate education;
- Increase graduation rates; and
- Improve educator quality for pre- and in-service teachers.
Commissioner Paredes was born and raised in El Paso, Texas. After graduation from El Paso High School, he attended The University of Texas at Austin, receiving a B.A. in English. He served in the U.S. Army for two years, including a 14-month tour with the First Infantry Division in Vietnam. After separation from military service, he resumed his education, receiving a Ph.D. in American Civilization in 1973, once again from The University of Texas at Austin. Dr. Paredes was included in The Hispanic Business 100 Most Influential Hispanics in the October 2007 issue of Hispanic Business magazine.