Kevin Oliver Named Head of Department of Teacher Education and Learning Sciences
Kevin Oliver, a professor of learning, design, and technology at NC State’s College of Education, will be the next head of the Department of Teacher Education and Learning Sciences (TELS), effective July 1, 2022.
“Kevin has been a leader in our college for many years in different capacities, and it is great to see his leadership recognized. He has the support of the faculty in TELS, and I am sure he will be a successful department head,” said Paola Sztajn, dean of NC State’s College of Education.
“I am honored to receive the endorsement of Dean Sztajn to take on this important leadership role in TELS,,” Oliver said. “I have been interested in higher education administration since taking on program coordinator and committee chair roles early in my tenure at NC State with varied efforts toward program, curriculum and college development. I am excited to apply what I have learned to help the broader department achieve its programmatic goals and enhance national reputation.”
Oliver has been a member of the College of Education faculty for 17 years after earning his Ph.D. in instructional technology from the University of Georgia. Within NC State’s College of Education, he has coordinated the Learning, Design, and Technology (LDT) programs at all levels and mentored many doctoral students in the Ph.D. in Teacher Education and Learning Sciences: Learning Design and Technology program area of study, including serving as chair of 13 completed doctoral dissertation committees and 12 active doctoral dissertation committees.
As head of TELS, Oliver will provide leadership for a department that is home to about 50 faculty members and over 700 students. They conduct research and study across nearly 10 disciplines and fields within education, including elementary education, literacy and English Language Arts, learning design and technology, middle grades education, curriculum development, business and marketing, special education and educational psychology. The department offers North Carolina’s only STEM-focused elementary education program and has graduated the most master’s-level literacy specialists in the state over the past decade.
“As department head, I hope to help TELS smoothly transition back from the pandemic to strengthen community among students, staff and faculty,” Oliver said. “I also hope to help TELS students and faculty strengthen connections with on-campus and off-campus constituencies with whom I have networked to reveal new opportunities for teaching, research and extension innovations (e.g., DELTA, NC State University Libraries, the Friday Institute, Office of Research Commercialization, UNC System, UGPN network, European Center in Prague, Fulbright Association).”
Oliver has received more than $3 million in externally-funded awards in support of his research into technical cultural representations, distance education and informal technology programs. He also has been actively involved in international work, co-leading eight study abroad programs for more than 140 Triangle-area teachers to practice technical cultural representations in preparation for culturally-responsive teaching. In 2017, he served as a visiting lecturer for Charles University in Prague and conducted a sabbatical study on the role of technology in study abroad with the NC State European Center in Prague.
For his international work, Oliver earned NC State’s Gertrude Cox Award for Innovative Excellence in Teaching and Learning with Technology, membership in NC State’s Academy of Outstanding Faculty Engaged in Extension and Engagement (AOFEE), and three nominations by the College of Education for NC State’s Global Engagement Award. He also holds a current four-year tenure (2021-25) on the Fulbright Specialist Roster with eligibility to work on short-term projects at partner international institutions. He has received two fellowships from the UNC System focused on instructional innovations with technology and was designated a Friday Institute Research Fellow in 2013, tied to his work with the Friday Institute for Educational Innovation to evaluate state-sponsored technology pilots.
Oliver is also a 2022 UNC Faculty Fellow. This program provides a mentored learning opportunity to faculty interested in academic affairs issues, and this year the focus is “Technology Enhanced Teaching and Learning.” Oliver and two other fellows are reviewing the current literature on innovation in higher education and conducting a study of technology-intensive academic programs and physical spaces across the UNC System to better understand how they support innovation (e.g., makerspaces, entrepreneurship centers, design studios, libraries).