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Maricela Oliva

Associate Dean for Faculty Issues & Development and Associate Professor
Educational Leadership and Policy Studies



Dr. Maricela Oliva is Associate Vice Provost for Academic & Faculty
Support and a faculty member of the Higher Education program in the Department of Educational Leadership & Policy Studies. She served as initial Higher Education Coordinator, guiding program development and  implementation for the M.Ed. in Educational Leadership & Policy Studies (emphasis in Higher Education and Student Affairs) and for the Higher Education emphasis to the doctoral program. She founded and four out of five years chaired the Texas Higher Education Symposium at UTSA to foster research and scholar development in Texas higher education. Partly for her leadership in these areas, Dr. Oliva received the 2008 University of Texas at San Antonio President’s Distinguished Achievement Award for Excellence in University Service. She received the 2011 Diane Abdo Outstanding Organizational Advisor Award for her work with UTSA students. A year later, she was nominated for and selected as 2012 Faculty Member of the Year by the Texas Association of College and University Student Personnel Administrators (TACUSPA). In 2011, she completed the Executive Leadership Academy put on by the University of California-Berkeley’s Center for Studies in Higher Education in partnership with the American Association of Hispanics in Higher Education. Most recently, she was awarded the 2016 Distinguished University Faculty Award from the Texas Association of Chicanos in Higher Education.

Within research, areas of interest include Latino/underrepresented student college access, P-20 (school-university collaboration), cross-cultural issues in higher education, and higher education policy. She is a former Editorial Board member of the Review of Higher Education and continues to serve on the Editorial Boards of the  International Journal of Qualitative Studies in Education, the Journal of Research on Leadership Education, and the Journal of Hispanic Higher Education. In 2007, she was named Distinguished Faculty for the David L. Clark National Graduate Student Research Seminar of the American Educational Research Association’s Division A (Administration). She has been on the conference planning committee for AERA Division L (Policy) and later was elected as Council Member at Large (2009-2012) by the approximately 1800 members of AERA Division J (Postsecondary). With the American Association of Hispanics in Higher Education, she has participated in organized mentoring activities for Faculty Fellows of AAHHE and for underrepresented students at ASHE. She was elected a National representative to the Academic Assembly Council of The College Board, a P-16 educational member organization, on which she served from 2012 to 2015.

At UTSA, Dr. Oliva has taught courses in student affairs, higher education, multicultural issues, and research. Because of her interest in the access to knowledge that Latino and underrepresented students have across P-20, she regularly embeds a discussion of educator preparation and multicultural competence across the content areas.

In all, Dr. Oliva has 30+ years of experience within Texas higher education, including 7 years at the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board. While at the THECB, she had executive responsibilities and provided technical assistance and oversight to institutions from within the Community Colleges Division, the Universities Division, and the Commissioner’s Office. Besides coordinating the UTSA Higher Education Program for 5 years, university-related administrative roles have included serving as Department Administrator at the University of Houston and as Director of the Hispanic Border Leadership Institute and the Educational Leadership Doctoral Program at the University of Texas-Pan American.

A native Texan and first generation college student, Dr. Oliva grew up in the Lower Rio Grande Valley along the Texas-Mexico border and is fully bilingual (English and Spanish).