A native Texan, she grew up in the Lower Rio Grande Valley of the state along the Texas-Mexico border. She is the oldest of nine children and a first generation college student.
She received her Bachelor of Arts Degree in Spanish Literature at Yale University, her Master of Arts Degree in Spanish Literature at the University of Houston, and her Ph.D. in Educational Administration at the University of Texas at Austin.
She is a faculty member of the Higher Education program at the Department of Educational Leadership & Policy Studies. She serves as Higher Education Coordinator regarding program 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 Ed.D.
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 readiness to serve non-traditional students across the content areas. In all, Dr. Oliva has over 25 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. Her university-related administrative roles have included serving as director of the Hispanic Border Leadership Institute and the Educational Leadership Doctoral Program at the University of Texas-Pan American.
Her 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 serves on the Editorial Board of the Review of Higher Education, 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 was subsequently elected as Council Member at Large (for 2009-2012) by the approximately 1,800 members of AERA's Division J (Postsecondary). Since 2010, she also serves in organized mentoring activities directed at Faculty Fellows of the American Association of Hispanics in Higher Education (AAHHE).
Dr. Oliva was awarded the 2008 University of Texas at San Antonio President's Distinguished Achievement Award for Excellence in University Service.
Marshall, C. & Oliva, M. (Eds.) (2010). Leadership for Social Justice: Making revolutions in education (2nd Ed.). Boston: Allyn & Bacon.
Marshall, C. & Oliva, M. (Eds.) (2006). Leadership for Social Justice: Making revolutions in education. Boston: Allyn & Bacon.
PUBLICATIONS IN PEER REVIEWED JOURNALS
Nuñez, A.M. & Oliva, M. (2009). Organizational collaboration to promote college access: A P-20 framework. Journal of Hispanic Higher Education, 322-339.
Oliva, M. (2009). Preface. In A.M. Nunez & M. Oliva (Eds.), Actualizing School University Collaboration: Moving from Theory to Practice in a Partnership Context. Journal of Hispanic Higher Education, 319-321.
Oliva, M. (2008). Latino access to college: Actualizing the promise and potential of K-16 partnerships. Journal of Hispanic Higher Education, 7 (2), 119-130.
Oliva, M. (2007). In Memorium: Berta Vigil Laden. Review of Higher Education, 30 (4), pp. 341.
Oliva, M. (2004). Reluctant partners, problem definition, and legislative intent: K-16 policy for Latino college success. Journal of Hispanic Higher Education, 3 (2), 209-230.
Oliva, M. & Nora, A. (2004). College access and the K-16 pipeline: Connecting policy and practice for Latino student success. Journal of Hispanic Higher Education 3 (2), 117-124.
Oliva, M. (2002). Access to doctoral study for Hispanic students: The pragmatics of ‘Race’ in (recent) Texas history and policy. Journal of Hispanic Higher Education, 1 (2), 158-173.
Oliva, M. (2002). Perspectives on collaboration: Deconstructing North American higher education cooperation. Planning and Changing, 33 (1 &2), 29-52.
Oliva, M. (2000). Cooperación vs. integración: Fundamentos distintos de la nueva colaboración norteamericana en educación superior. Interciencia: Revista de Ciencia y Tecnología de América, 25 (2), 96-102.
Oliva, M. (2000). Shifting landscapes/shifting langue: Qualitative research from the in-between. Qualitative Inquiry, 6 (1), 33-57.
Oliva, M. (November 1999). What universities teach: The challenges and possibilities of curricular multiculturalism. [Review of the book Multicultural education in colleges and universities: A transdisciplinary approach]. Educational Researcher, 28 (7), 28-31.
Oliva, M., Rodriguez, M., Alanis, I, & Quijada, P. (in press). At home in the Academy: Latina faculty counter stories and resistances. Journal of the Professoriate, 6 (1).
Oliva, M. & Staudt, K. (2004). Latino professional identity development. Kappa Delta Pi Record, 41 (1), 38-41.
Oliva, M. & Staudt, K. (2003). Pathways to teaching: Latino student choice and professional identity development in a teacher training magnet program. Equity and Excellence in Education, 36 (3), 270-279.
BOOK CHAPTERS AND OTHER PUBLICATIONS
Brunner, C. C., Opsal, C., & Oliva, M. (2006). Disrupting identity: Fertile pedagogy for raising social consciousness in educational leaders. In C. Marshall & M. Oliva (Eds.), Leadership for social justice: Making revolutions in education (pp. 214-232). Boston: Allyn & Bacon.
Lopez, G., Guajardo, M., Oliva, M., & Scheurich, J. J. (2002). Racing representation: A "raza realist" narration of migrant students, their educación and their contexto. In J. J. Scheurich, Anti-racist scholarship: An advocacy. New York: SUNY.
Marshall, C. & Oliva, M. (2010). Building the capacities of social justice leaders. In C. Marshall & M. Oliva (Eds.), Leadership for social justice: Making revolutions in education (pp. 1-18), 2nd Ed. Boston: Allyn & Bacon.
Marshall, C. & Oliva, M. (2006). Preface. In C. Marshall & M. Oliva (Eds.), Leadership for Social justice: Making revolutions in education (pp. xv-xvi). Boston: Allyn & Bacon.
Marshall, C. & Oliva, M. (2006). Building the capacities of social justice leaders. In C. Marshall & M. Oliva (Eds.), Leadership for social justice: Making revolutions in education (pp. 1-15). Boston: Allyn & Bacon.
Oliva, M. (in press). Becoming visible in policy and practice: College access for undocumented students in the United States. In H. Romo and C. Garrido, Book title to be determined, Veracruz, Veracruz, MX: University of Veracruz Press.
Oliva, M. (2009). Shifting landscapes/shifting langue: Qualitative research from the in-between. In J. Collard, A. Normore, & B. Merchant, (Eds.), Leadership & intercultural dynamics. Charlotte, NC: Information Age Publisher (Reprinted from Qualitative Inquiry, pp. 33-57, by M. Oliva, 2000, Thousand Oaks: Sage)
Oliva, M. (January 2006). Diversity work vs. Diversity Talk: What’s Missing in the Mainstream? Hispanic Outlook: Punto Final.
Oliva, M. (December 2005). Latino Underrepresentation in college: The promise and potential of Texas K-16 partnerships. TACHE Noticiario, (15) 4, 1-10.
Oliva, M. (1989). Jesús Colón. In Nicolas Kanellos, (Ed.). Biographical dictionary of Hispanic literature in the United States: The literature of Puerto Rican, Cuban-American and other Hispanic writers. New York: Greenwood Press.
Oliva, M. & Anderson, G. (2006). Dilemmas and Lessons: The continuing leadership challenge for social justice. In C. Marshall & M. Oliva (Eds.), Leadership for social justice: Making revolutions in education (pp. 279-306). Boston: Allyn & Bacon.
Oliva, M., Anderson, G., & Byng, J. (2010). Dilemmas and Lessons: Continuing leadership challenges for social justice. In C. Marshall & M. Oliva, Leadership for social justice: Making revolutions in education (pp. 284-314), 2nd edition. Boston: Allyn & Bacon.
MANUSCRIPTS UNDER REVIEW
Oliva, M. & Vargas, J. G. (2009). Listening to Latino parents: Low-SES adults report their needs, views, and the value of adult guidance for college. Manuscript submitted for publication.
REPORTS AND NON-PEER REVIEWED PUBLICATIONS
Provost’s Inclusiveness Task Force. (2008). The University of Texas San Antonio: A Shared Vision on Ethnic and Area Studies. San Antonio: Author.
Mendez-Negrete, J., Oliva, M., & Guirao, A. (2008). Administrative Structure Recommendation Regarding Mexican American Studies: A report to the Provost’s Inclusiveness Task Force. San Antonio, TX: UTSA.
Oliva, M. (2008). Ethnic studies and UTSA: The Institution/THECB context and a consideration of CIP Codes, UTSA Table of Programs, & Administrative Possibilities. A report for the Provost’s Inclusiveness Task Force. San Antonio, TX: UTSA.
Bresciani, M. J., Oliva, M., & Wall, C. (2005). Assessment plan study for TAMU-CONACYT collaborative research grant program. College Station, TX: Office of the Associate Vice President for Diversity and Institutional Assessment.
Staudt, K. & Oliva, M. (Summer 2000). Latino students construct their professional future: Riverside's teacher training magnet school. El Paso: Diversity in Teacher Education Initiative.
Oliva, M. (1997). Organization, process, and actor preferences: Zones of influence in North American higher education cooperation. Unpublished doctoral dissertation, The University of Texas at Austin, Austin.
Oliva, M. (1992). Report of the Proceedings: A Meeting of the Ad Hoc Committee on Higher Education and the North American Free Trade Agreement. Austin: Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board.
Oliva, M. & Adauto, R. (1991). Access to higher education 1980-89: A Texas and University of Texas-El Paso case study. In R. C. Richardson & A. De los Santos, Jr. (Chairs), Fostering Diversity in Higher Education. Meeting conducted by the National Center for Postsecondary Governance and Finance and the State Higher Education Executive Officers, El Paso, Texas.
Oliva, M. (Fall, 1998). Educational cooperation in North America: Findings from recent research. Washington, D. C.: Educational Resources Information Center (ERIC-HE).