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TELS Department Head Kevin Oliver to Return to Faculty, Sarah Carrier to Serve as Interim Head

Kevin Oliver and Sarah Carrier

Professor Kevin Oliver, who has served as the head of the Department of Teacher Education and Learning Sciences (TELS) since July 1, 2022, will return to the faculty as a professor of learning, design and technology, effective July 1, 2024. Alumni Distinguished Graduate Professor Sarah Carrier, a professor of science education with the TELS Department’s elementary education program, will serve as interim department head while the college conducts a national search for a permanent replacement.

“I want to thank Dr. Oliver for his leadership of TELS and for serving as part of the Leadership Team of our college for the past two years,” said College of Education Dean Paola Sztajn. “During this tenure, Dr. Oliver has been a strong advocate for TELS students, faculty and staff, and also has supported the department’s growth.”

Over the past two years, under Oliver’s leadership, TELS has welcomed six new faculty members, while enrollment has continued to grow for the elementary education undergraduate program and the Ph.D. in Teacher Education and Learning Sciences program. 

Additionally, among numerous progress in efficiencies and operations, during Oliver’s tenure and working in collaboration with faculty across the department, TELS has implemented several curriculum redesign efforts, transitioned its Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT) programs to a 100% online delivery option, revisioned English as a Second Language to Multilingual Education, created seven new graduate-level courses, and has expanded their global programs to include faculty-led programs in South Africa and Ireland. 

Today, the TELS department is home to over 40 full-time faculty, 300 undergraduate students and 200 graduate students who 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. 

Carrier is a former elementary school teacher who earned both her master’s and Ph.D. in science education with a research emphasis in environmental education from the University of Florida. Following two years as an assistant professor at Auburn University, she joined NC State’s College of Education in 2007 and helped start its elementary education program, which is still the only STEM-focused elementary education program of its kind in North Carolina. 

Her research focuses on environmental education that includes learning about climate change and situating science instruction and learning in the outdoors. Her current work examines supporting teachers’ science instruction and student learning through citizen science. 

Carrier was named a University Faculty Scholar in 2021-2022. In 2020, she received the NC State Alumni Association Distinguished Graduate Professorship Award, which recognizes outstanding graduate-level teaching at NC State.