About Provost Carol Parker
Carol Parker serves as the Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs at The University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP), a nationally recognized, public higher-research activity university.
As provost, Parker is the University’s chief academic officer and collaborates with deans, faculty, staff and senior administration across the campus to continue developing and promoting UTEP's nationally recognized model for enhancing the excellence of its academic and research programs, while successfully offering access and affordability to a predominantly first-generation and historically underserved student population. She is responsible for the oversight and administration of all academic degree programs. As a member of the President’s cabinet, Parker plays a key role in the planning and policy development for the university, and strategic campus initiatives such as the UTEP Edge, a student success initiative sought to integrate high-impact practices with the goal of preparing students for leadership and success, both on campus and beyond. Her experience as a higher education administrator includes work in the areas of accreditation, budget and finance, capital projects and facilities, economic development, academic personnel, strategic planning, information technology and data governance oversight, and policy development.
Parker started her academic career as a first-generation college student, frequently working full-time while completing her degrees. She received a J.D. degree in law from the Wayne State University Law School and subsequently worked as a research attorney at the Michigan Court of Appeals. She maintains her license to practice law in Michigan. Parker also holds a B.A. degree, cum laude, in humanities (College of Arts and Letters) from Michigan State University’s Honor’s College; and a M.S.I degree in information science (School of Information) from The University of Michigan, Rackham School of Graduate Studies.
Prior to her appointment at UTEP, Parker spent over a decade at The University of New Mexico (UNM). She joined UNM’s School of Law as an assistant professor in 2004, and later became the law school’s associate dean for finance and administration. While at UNM’s law school, she was awarded the Keleher & McLeod Professorship in recognition of her teaching, scholarship and service. Parker went on to serve as UNM’s senior vice provost for academic affairs. As senior vice provost, Parker's portfolio of administrative duties included oversight of faculty recruitment, hiring, contracting, compensation and benefits, and promotion and tenure. She also provided strategic leadership for special initiatives such as the establishment of the Innovation Academy, which is the academic component of the InnovateABQ, a collaborative economic development effort led by UNM and the City of Albuquerque. Today, she is professor emerita of the School of Law at UNM.
Parker began her work at UTEP in 2017, but her first introduction to UTEP came during a pivotal time in her career while serving as Fellow of the American Council on Education (ACE) from 2012 to 2013. The yearlong leadership development program for higher education administrators included an extended placement in the Office of the Executive Vice President and Provost at Arizona State University. As an ACE Fellow, she visited more than two dozen colleges, universities, foundations, state agencies and higher education non-profit foundations and centers, including her first visit to UTEP.
Given her personal experience and her academic career at institutions that seek to provide both access and excellence to historically underserved populations, she strongly believes in the power of higher education to transform lives and to provide a vehicle for social mobility. Now as a higher education administrator, she enjoys working to preserve and expand similar opportunities for future generations.
Parker’s commitment to ensure access to outstanding higher education aligns with UTEP’s mission and upward trajectory. UTEP is a member of the 14-institution University of Texas System and ranks first in the nation for performing well in both research and social mobility in a study by the Brookings Institution. UTEP ranks first nationally in the number of Hispanic graduates in mathematics and statistics, engineering, education, and third among all U.S. colleges and universities in the total number of bachelor's degrees awarded to Hispanics in all academic disciplines. The University enrolls more than 25,000 students, which primarily come to campus from the bi-national region. UTEP’s student body is approximately 80% Hispanic and mirrors the population of the Paso del Norte region.
In her leisure time, Parker enjoys the outdoors and staying active. She regularly goes on hikes, plays golf and incorporates outdoor activities into her schedule when she travels.