As a graduate of A&M-Commerce, I can truly say that the individuals on this campus are committed to changing students’ lives.

Carlos Rivers
Executive Director

  • Alum
  • Staff
Institute for Competency-Based Education
Velma K. Waters Library 179
Managua, Nicaragua
College Major
Masters in Business Administration
Year Graduated

Carlos Rivers has worked in I.T sales and business development in Nicaragua for several years after completing his undergraduate studies. He gained valuable work experience before moving with his wife, Tatiana Chamorro-Rivers to the United States and pursuing his MBA at A&M-Commerce. Given his I.T background, Rivers was hired as a Graduate assistant Researcher in the Division of Student Access & Success to help with data analysis and reporting to obtain insights that could assist leadership with decision-making across the division. Rivers ended up doing several analytical projects for many university departments which led to creating key performance indicators for the Texas Affordable Baccalaureate (TAB) program.

Upon graduating from A&M-Commerce, Rivers was offered a full-time position as a research analyst to help the university expand on TAB with a focus on all competency-based education programs.

How can I help you?

“I help build Competency-Based Education (CBE) programs at A&M-Commerce and across the state of Texas that meet the needs and demands of a changing student population. I use data storytelling to showcase how our CBE students are reducing both the time and cost of their degrees. I conduct and publish research and present findings across the nation to support the growth and development of new CBE programs that can better serve underserved student populations such as adult learners. I also work directly with Graduate Assistants so they can gain valuable data and research-related experience as they pursue a Master’s education. Our graduate researchers have consistently placed in the top three positions at the Annual Research Symposium at A&M-Commerce. Students that have interned in our office have been hired by leading organizations including Facebook, PWC, John Deer, and Children’s Hospital, amongst others.”

A Conversation with Carlos Rivers

What would you tell a student who is thinking about attending A&M-Commerce?

“As a graduate of A&M-Commerce, I can truly say that the individuals on this campus are committed to changing students’ lives. I experienced first-hand the caring atmosphere and family feel that this university provides to our students. At A&M-Commerce you are not a Student ID, but a member of the community where faculty and staff know your name and care about your success!”

What do you like most about your career?

“What I like about my current position and career track is that I have been able to work on many unique projects that have allowed me to leverage my passion for data analytics and research. I have been blessed to be able to present my work at both the state and national level, and published articles and grants that positively impact the university, the state of Texas, and our students. There is always something new happening at the College of Innovation & Design, each with its set of challenges and priorities, and I enjoy working with our team to find solutions and drive results that will have a positive long-term impact for the students we serve.”

Tell me more about your research

“My research for the Institute for Competency-Based Education at Texas A&M-Commerce has been focused on studying the outcomes of competency-based higher education programs in Texas. These studies are essential for understanding how Competency-Based Education (CBE) can impact the future of higher education, particularly how this innovative learning model can reduce both time and cost to degree for underserved student populations such as adult-learners, working-adults, minorities and veterans. Student debts is a growing national crisis. However, an educated workforce is key for continued economic growth. My ongoing research has proven that CBE can significantly reduce both time and cost to degree for students, which in turn has positive effects both the Texas economy and its citizens.”

Tell me more about yourself

“I love to travel with my family and learn about different cultures. Originally from Nicaragua, born in Costa Rica, I am fluent in both English and Spanish. If you are ever planning a trip to Central America, I am your best source for places to visit!”

Educational Background

Awards and Services

  • $300,000 grant recipient, Co-PI, Texas Reskilling Support Fund Grant Program, Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board, 2021
  • $783,524 grant recipient, Co-PI, Greater Texas Foundation, 2020
  • Invitation to Testify on Adult Learner Students, Texas Senate Higher Education Interim Committee Hearing, 2020
  • National Interest Waiver (NIW) – Individual with Advanced degree and Exceptional ability, 2020
  • Top 20% most downloaded CBE Research, Journal of Competency-Based Education, 2017, 2019
  • Selected to serve on the National Advisory Board for Postsecondary Competency-Based Education and Learning Research, Washington D.C, Lumina Foundation/American Institutes for Research, 2018-2020
  • Employer Appreciation Award – Outstanding internship experience, Texas A&M University-Commerce, 2018
  • $15,000 Scholarship Donation, Evaluating Competency-Based Education in Postsecondary Settings and Building Institutional Capacity for Conducting Rigorous Research, American Institute for Research, 2018
  • Editor’s Pick, A More Inclusive Awarding Policy: High School Percentile vs. Test Scores, EDUCAUSE Review, 2018
  • Selected to serve in the CBEN National Collaboratory, Competency-Based Education Network, 2017

Professional Organizations

  • Reviewer, National Research Collaborative for Competency-Based Education & Learning, 2019-Current
  • Board Member, National Advisory Board for Postsecondary for CBE Research, Lumina Foundation, 2018-Current
  • Advisor, D2L Learning Outcomes Assessment Product Advisory Group, 2018-2019
  • University lead, Distance Education and Technological Advancements (DETA) CBE Research Study, 2018
  • Steering Committee Member, Fast Track to Success Conference, 2017-2019
  • Founding Member, Texas Competency-Based Education Consortium, 2017-2019
  • Community Advisory Committee, Royse City Independent School District, 2017-2018
  • Institutional Research Partner, American Institutes for Research, 2017-Current
  • Reviewer, Journal for Competency-Based Education, 2016-Current
  • Institutional member, Competency-Based Education Network, 2015-2019
  • Institutional Member, EDUCAUSE, 2015-2019
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