Phone: 724-503-1001 x3018
Office: Old Main 204A

Ask me about....

Before beginning her doctoral work, Dr. Ryan worked for ten years with statewide and national nonprofits on issues like anti-racism education, literacy, hunger relief, prison reform, electoral reform, and child welfare. She is excited to bring this real-world experience into her work at W&J and share her knowledge on working for change as an executive director, program manager, and lobbyist. Reach out if you want to work on public policy issues or learn more about how you can use public policy to influence social and political change!

Mary Ryan, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor and Chair of Public Service and Community Studies; Director of Public Policy Program

Degrees: Ph.D. Social, Political, Ethical, and Cultural Thought, Virginia Tech, M.A. Public Service, Marquette University; B.A. Political Science, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee

As an Assistant Professor, Dr. Ryan teaches classes on inequality, American political thought, U.S. environmental politics, global ethics, public administration, and public policy. Dr. Ryan chairs the new Public Service and Community Studies department and also directs the Public Policy program at W&J.

Dr. Ryan’s research interests center on political theory, social justice, moral philosophy, structural racism, and public policy (see a detailed publication list below). She has presented her research at dozens of conferences in the U.S. and around the world. She is the recipient of the 2018 Best Paper Award in Identity Politics at the Northeastern Political Science Association for her paper “Harvesting U.S. Democracy: The Kerner Commission on Police Brutality, White Supremacy, and Race”.


  • Ryan, M. and Brunsma, D. 2020. “Solidarity and Struggle: White Anti-Racist Activism in the Time of Trump.” In J.S. Carter, D. Embrick, and C. Lippard (Eds.), Protecting Whiteness: Whitelash and the Rejection of Racial Equality. (pp. 240-254) Seattle: University of Washington Press.
  • Ryan, M. 2020. “A Place to See: Poverty in American Theater from 1935-2015.” In W. Lenz (Ed.), Poverty in American Popular Culture: Essays on Representations, Beliefs, and Policy. (pp. 213-227) Jefferson, NC: McFarland.
  • Ryan, M. 2020. The Kerner Commission and the Domination of White Supremacy in the US Federal Government.” In A. Merali (Ed.), The New Colonialism: The American Model of Human Rights. (pp. 83-105) London, UK: Islamic Human Rights Commission Ltd.
  • Ryan, M. 2020. “Filming Change: Civil Rights Through the Lens of Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner? and To Kill a Mockingbird.” [Inter]Sections, Issue 23.
  • Ryan, M. 2020. “Contemptible Safety: Coronavirus, Neoliberalism, and the Moral Value of Universities.” Fast Capitalism, Issue 17.2.
  • Ryan, M. 2019. “Clapperclawing White America: Black Protesters, the Kerner Commission, and Striving for an Antiracist Democracy.” Activist History Review.
  • Ryan, M. 2018. “Government Surveillance, Racism, and Civic Virtue in the United States.” In S. Flynn and A. Mackay (Eds.), Surveillance, Race, Culture. (pp. 43-59) London: Palgrave Macmillan.
  • Ryan, M. 2017. “Sousveillance as a Tool in US Civic Polity.” In S. Flynn and A. Mackay (Eds), Spaces of Surveillance: States and Selves (pp. 211-229). London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2017.
  • Ryan, M. 2017. “Haunting America: Racial Identity and Otherness in Civic Society.” In C.A. Varlack (Ed.) Critical Reflections: Civil Rights Literature, Past & Present (pp. 53-72). Amenia, NY: Salem Press.
  • Ryan, M. “Imagining Utopia in an Unfree World: Rick Turner on Morality, Inequality, and Existentialism.” Theoria: A Journal of Social and Political Theory, Volume 64(2), 40-46.
  • Ryan, M. “The Moral Vortex.” Nomadic Sojourns Journal, volume 2 (2013): 99-108.
  • Ryan, M. “Help: Promise and Power.” Nomadic Sojourns Journal, volume 1 (2012): 81-94.
  • Ryan, M. “The Future of the Global Prison Industrial Complex. Journal for the Study of Peace and Conflict, 2009-2010, 1-13.