Maria T. Oliver-Hoyo, a chemistry professor recognized as one of NC State’s top education innovators, has been named associate dean for academic affairs in the College of Sciences. She will begin her new role July 1.
Oliver-Hoyo has earned a reputation around campus and the country for developing pioneering curricular reforms and resources to help students learn science. She has served on the NC State chemistry faculty since 1999 and also worked as a program director for the National Science Foundation from 2012 to 2014.
Oliver-Hoyo will lead the college’s Office of Academic Affairs, which oversees student-centered programming and engagement, curricula development and assessment, enrollment management, advising and scholarships. The office works to enhance the student experience for all College of Sciences majors and promotes the recruitment and retention of student populations traditionally underrepresented in the sciences.
Oliver-Hoyo’s research centers on the processes of instruction and learning in chemistry. Focus areas include developing and assessing instructional materials, promoting spatial-perceptual skills, creating pedagogies to effectively build knowledge integration, and using manipulatives and models to facilitate conceptual understanding.
In one project, Oliver-Hoyo and some of her students developed a number of experiments that exploit the sense of smell and allow visually impaired students to enjoy a hands-on study of chemical phenomena. These experiments are now used in national camps for blind students around the United States.
Her many awards and honors include the Leroy and Elva Martin Award for Teaching Excellence from the College of Physical and Mathematical Sciences, the National Science Foundation CAREER Award, and the NC State Outstanding Teacher Award. She is an Alumni Distinguished Undergraduate Professor and was named NC State’s 2017 winner of the UNC System’s Board of Governors Award for Excellence in Teaching. She is serving as a Fulbright Scholar in Uruguay during the Spring 2019 semester.
Oliver-Hoyo earned her B.S. in chemistry in 1981 from the University of Puerto Rico in Rio Piedras, her M.S. in chemistry in 1984 from Georgetown University, and her Ph.D. in chemistry in 1999 from Drexel University.