Professor and Dean
School of Education
Amy Ryken's research interests include understanding and improving teacher learning, and partnerships with school and community resources, such as outdoor environments, museums, and work places. She researched industrial sites transformed into public landscapes on Tacoma’s Ruston Way waterfront to aid city officials in development plans through an understanding of visitor perceptions. The project was titled “Layered Landscapes: Foregrounding Nature/Culture Interactions in Shaping the Land.” This led to the blog Environment and Learning, where Ryken shared her findings and reflections. Earlier she studied effective learning in museums, analyzing the means by which young students acquire knowledge and how this can be maximized by “small learning moments.” Ryken also has studied how students learn science in school and work settings, and explored how companies recruit, train, and develop science workers. Publications have included “Engaging children’s spontaneous questions about social diversity,” for Multicultural Perspectives (2015) and the co-written “Because it’s a girl cake!: Fostering dialogue about gender identity in elementary classrooms,” in Northwest Passage: Journals of Educational Practices (2012). Ryken is author of the artist book Are you a boy or a girl: Conversations about gender in elementary classrooms (2011), and she presented the 2013 TEDx Tacoma talk “Gender boxes: Categories, community and conversation.” She also wrote the chapter “Tahoma Outdoor Academy: Learning about science and the environment inside and outside the classroom,” for the book Exemplary Science for Resolving Societal Challenges (2010). Ryken teaches courses in areas including the learning and teaching of mathematics and science, differing perspectives on classroom teaching, and differentiating and documenting learning.
B.A., Mills College, 1985; M.P.H., Ph.D., University of California-Berkeley, 1990, 2001