Oya is a Professor of Industrial Design at UNSW who is passionate about the ways industrial design can enhance life for everyone, and in particular for an aging population. She loves teaching about design research methods, universal design, accessible and inclusive design and empathy. Her teaching methods enable students to articulate their own design process and personal values in the context of enhancing their empathy towards people and environments.
Oya held various positions at UNSW. She was the Associate Dean of Education at the Built Environment (2013-17) and prior to this, she was Discipline Director for Industrial Design (2006-09) and Program Director for the Master of Industrial Design and the Master of Science (Industrial Design) Postgraduate Coursework Programs (2002-05).
She led the design, development, implementation and delivery of the first Built Environment Massive Open Online Course (MOOC), Re-Enchanting the City https://www.futurelearn.com/courses/re-enchanting-the-city . This course has been offered in two iterations to 9,169 participants from 60 different countries, on FurtureLearn in 2016, receiving top rankings for career advancement in Urban Design, Landscape Design, and Interior Design among successful similar MOOCs. The course has now been converted to a General Elective course at UNSW since 2017, BENV2000.
Prior to joining UNSW in 2000, Oya was Assistant Professor at the Middle East Technical University (METU), where she previously held a Lecturer position (1997-99), and a Research Assistant position (1990-97). She also held an Instructor position in Product Design, at the prestigious Art Center College of Design (Europe), La Tour-de-Peilz, Switzerland (1989-90).
Oya completed two PhD studies, on the topic of designing for aging and involving older people early into the design process. She brings many years of teaching, research, and freelance design work to her current role, along with a European perspective.