James N. Olson received a Ph.D. in Psychology from UCLA in 1974. As one of the "founding faculty" of The University of Texas-Permian Basin, he has significant experience in the personalized system of instruction (also called mastery learning), and the cognitive and behavioral principles of learning. He was awarded the "Amoco Award" for excellence in teaching (this award evolved into today's "Chancellor's Council Outstanding Teaching Award"), which is given annually to one faculty member at each of The University of Texas' academic campuses. In 1990 he received the President's Award for Excellence in Research. Dr. Olson is the author of three books and numerous journal articles. He is presently Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences.