J. Steve Oliver has been a member of the science education profession since 1977. After graduating from North Carolina State University with degrees in Wildlife Biology and Science Education in that year, he became a physical science and biology teacher. After completing a Master's degree from North Carolina State University in 1983, he continued his graduate studies at the University of Georgia and completed a Ph.D. in science education in 1986. At that time, he moved to Kansas State University as an assistant professor. In 1990, Dr. Oliver returned to the University of Georgia as a faculty member in science education.
Dr. Oliver has been a principal investigator on grants from the Eisenhower Fund, the Improving Teacher Quality grants program, U.S. Department of Education, the National Science Foundation and the National Institutes of Health. In September 2008, Dr. Oliver and Dr. Jim Moore, Distinguished Research Professor of Large Animal Medicine in the College of Veterinary Medicine, received a Science Education Partnership Award grant from the National Institutes of Health in the amount of $1.3 million. This project, titled Learning Biological Processes Through Animations and Inquiry: A New Approach, forms a collaboration between the UGA Colleges of Education, Veterinary Medicine, Pharmacy, Arts and Sciences, and Agriculture and Environmental Sciences as well as the Biological Science Curriculum Study (BSCS) to create state-of-the-art inquiry teaching materials which feature high quality 3-D animations of physiological processes for high school biology. Dr. Oliver was an Associate Editor for the Journal of Research in Science Teaching from 2005 to 2009. Recent awards that Dr. Oliver has received include: The John Shrum Award for Excellence in the Education of Science Teachers by the Southeastern Association for Science Teacher Education in 2009; induction into the Caldwell County School (North Carolina) Hall of Honor in 2010; The Russell H. Yeany Award for outstanding research by the UGA College of Education in 2011; and designation as a Distinguished Research Mentor by the UGA College of Education in 2011.
Dr. Oliver is a Professor of Science Education and served as coordinator of the science education program and associate department head of Mathematics and Science Education at The University of Georgia from January 2006 through December 2011.