Elena Quiroz-Livanis

Chief of Staff and Assistant Commissioner of Academic Policy and Student Success

Massachusetts Department of Higher Education


Elena Quiroz-Livanis

Chief of Staff and Assistant Commissioner of Academic Policy and Student Success

Massachusetts Department of Higher Education

Elena Quiroz-Livanis is the Chief of Staff and Assistant Commissioner of Academic Policy and Student Success at the Massachusetts Department of Higher Education. Quiroz-Livanis is also a doctoral student in the Higher Education program at the University of Massachusetts Boston. She has been at the Department for six years and oversees the system’s efforts to create a unified system of transfer and transform developmental education.

Under her leadership and with the support of a fantastic team, Quiroz-Livanis worked with faculty and transfer professionals across the three segments of public higher education to develop statewide transfer maps to over forty majors. Recently, Massachusetts implemented a reverse transfer policy and created a general education foundation to better support community college students interested in earning a baccalaureate degree in STEM.

Quiroz-Livanis has also worked with Massachusetts public higher education institutions to develop a three-pronged approach to transforming developmental education. These efforts seek to increase the number of students completing college-level English and mathematics courses by using multiple measures to assess student readiness, increasing access to co-requisite courses, and building multiple mathematics pathways to ensure students complete the mathematics course appropriate for their major.

Most recently, Quiroz-Livanis has begun working with the Commissioner of Higher Education under the direction of the Board of Higher Education to develop a systemwide strategic framework focused on equity. The framework seeks to significantly raise the enrollment, attainment, and long-term success outcomes among underrepresented student populations, specifically students from minoritized populations.


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15 to Finish

Boost the number of students who are on track for on-time graduation by encouraging enrollment in 15 credits each semester (30 credits per year, including summers). Financial aid dollars, as well as institutional process and practice, should support that standard.

Math Pathways

Ensure all students enroll in and complete gateway math in their first year by designing math courses that are aligned with the skills students need for their chosen program of study.

Corequisite Support

Increase gateway course completion within the first year by enrolling entering students into the college-level math and English courses, providing those who need additional help a concurrent course or lab that offers just-in-time academic support.

Momentum Year

Build momentum so students meet first-year benchmarks: informed choice of meta major or major, enrollment in 30 credits with nine in the program of study and completion of gateway courses. Provide early support and guidance for decision making, using interest assessments and labor-market data.

Academic Maps with Proactive Advising

Default students onto highly-structured academic maps that include 15 credits per semester (or 30 per year), indicate milestone and pre-requisite courses, and empower advisors to effectively monitor progress and provide intervention as needed.

A Better Deal for Returning Adults

Increase degree attainment by inviting adult learners back to complete their education, providing a redesigned system that offers accelerated courses, year-round enrollment and predictable schedules. Give credit for prior learning and experience and additional support to help students navigate the system.

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