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About Ann Marie Ryan, PhD

Welcome! I am an associate professor in the School of Education at Loyola University Chicago. I have expertise in the areas of history of education, teacher education, and curriculum and instruction. On this site you will find a brief introduction to my research interests and links to some of my publications.

History of Education
In my research, I principally examine the history of Catholic schooling in the United States from the early to mid-twentieth century. I am especially interested in the intersections between Catholic and public schools and how public educational reform efforts and policy have affected Catholic schools. The history of Catholic education is often separated from the history of public schooling. Indeed, much of Catholic school history has been presented and published within the field of Catholic American history, rather than in the field of educational history. I contend that it is critical to consider Catholic and public education in relationship to one another to better understand their commonalities, their unique characteristics, and the contentious and pragmatic issues that brought them into association with one another.
I also seek to enrich our understanding of Catholic schooling within the realm of Catholic education. Catholic schools have frequently been characterized as homogeneous, but on the contrary, they have been and continue to be a network of diverse schools. Although common religious beliefs unite them, the character and implementation of educational programs varies across schools. This diversity is due to the diversity of Catholics themselves and the range of groups administering schools within the Catholic Church – from large metropolitan dioceses to small religious congregations in rural areas. Each project that I have embarked on has reinforced this assertion.
To date, the major areas within my research program in the history of education include: Catholic Education and Standardization, Accreditation, and Access to Higher Education; Standardized Testing in Catholic and Public Education; and Public Resources and Catholic Schools. Through these areas, I examine the historical roots of current educational realities and the range of responses that Catholic and public educators, communities, and students have had to the complicated negotiations between schools and communities in the United States. I have a book project exploring these topics with a focus on the phenomenon of Catholic Public Schools, which came to a end in the mid-20th century. This book will be available in 2020 and is under contract with Rowman & Littlefield.
Another of my more recent projects is a collaborative one with two other scholars looking at the broader history of curriculum in the twentieth century, The Curriculum Foundations Reader. This book project will be available in 2020 by Palgrave Macmillan. It bridges my work in the history of education with my work in my second field of curriculum and instruction.
Teacher Education and Curriculum & Instruction
In addition to conducting historical research, I have also published extensively in the areas of teacher education and history education. I have considerable background in these areas from my graduate training, professional experiences, grant projects, and my teaching responsibilities. Within these areas, I am most keenly interested in preparing teachers for urban schools. This has resulted in studies of teacher education, teacher professional development, and teacher practice to understand how to best prepare and support teachers to engage in ambitious teaching in urban schools. Ambitious teaching requires teachers to know their content and its value for students’ lives; know their students and believe in their capability; and to make the space to be ambitious even when the other adults they work with do not appreciate it or do not hold the same expectations (Grant & Gradwell, 2009).
For each of the projects that I pursue centered on teacher education and teachers, I work with researchers, teacher educators, teachers and/or teacher candidates to understand how we can all contribute to address issues and questions of equity in schooling and education through more ambitious teaching and, I would argue, more ambitious curriculum. 

I am co-editing a book focused on field-based teacher education that involves my colleagues in the Teaching and Learning program area in the School of Education and our school and community partners. The book is named after our signature teacher preparation program: Teaching, Learning and Leading with Schools and Communities: Field-based Teacher Education. Published by Routledge, this will be available in 2019.

Grant, S.G. & Gradwell, J.M. (2009). The road to ambitious teaching: Creating big idea units in history classes, Journal of Inquiry & Action in Education, 2(1), 1-26.


2004 - Present Associate Professor, Loyola University Chicago School of Education

Curriculum Vitae

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2004 PhD, The University of Illinois at Chicago ‐ College of Education

Research Works (9)

Book Reviews (5)