- President's Award for Distinguished Teaching (2020)
Martha Oakley earned her Ph.D. from California Institute of Technology in 1993. After joining the faculty at IU Bloomington in 1996, Martha Oakley established herself as an outstanding instructor with a genuine enthusiasm for advancing student learning. Oakley's dedication to teaching excellence and student learning has been exceptional as she has spent her career assisting students in building the skills and knowledge required to succeed.
A recognized expert in the fields of organic chemistry and biochemistry, Oakley has taught and mentored many undergraduate and graduate students. With an infectious enthusiasm for her subject, she breaks down difficult concepts into understandable chunks without sacrificing rigor. While she is known for a highly interactive classroom environment, her efforts in teaching extend beyond her own classroom. Serving as associate chair for the Department of Chemistry, Oakley helped develop and implement a new general chemistry curriculum--the first departmental revision in decades. Possessing a deep interest in diversity and inclusion, Oakley also developed a curriculum for a Chemistry Arts and Sciences Undergraduate Research Experience (ASURE) that focuses on improving the inclusivity of the university's classrooms to foster success for all students.
Oakley's commitment to excellence in education and research extends beyond IU. She taught for several years at Purdue University's Summer Science Program (SSP), a highly competitive research program for gifted students that introduces them to the experience of authentic research. Her expertise and enthusiastic commitment to student learning were so integral in the program that she was asked to launch the project outside of Purdue, and she successfully established the SSP at the University of California, San Diego, in 2019.