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About Ryan S. Wells

Ryan Wells is founding director of the Center for Student Success Research and an associate professor of higher education. He earned his Ph.D. in higher education from the University of Iowa in 2008. Wells primarily investigates questions of college access, equity, and success for underrepresented and under-researched groups of students. Topics for recent research include the ways that socioeconomic status, disability, and geographic location are related to college success. His research has been published in top journals such as The Journal of Higher EducationTeachers College RecordResearch in Higher Education, and Community College Review. Wells has also received funding from the National Science Foundation, Ford Foundation, the AccessLex Institute, the Association for Institutional Research, and the Massachusetts Campus Compact. He has additionally taught the following graduate courses: Access & Equity in Higher Education, Higher Education Finance Policy, Doctoral Seminar in Higher Education, Research in Higher Education, Student Life Research, and History of Higher Education.

View Wells' CV from the link below.


Present Associate Professor Department of Educational Policy, Research & Administration, College of Education, University of Massachusetts Amherst

Curriculum Vitae


2018 - Present Examining Collective Impact in a Community-University Partnership to Broaden Girls' Participation in Science from Middle School to High School Graduation
National Science Foundation
2018 - Present Mapping the Ecology of College-Going and Within-College Support for Students with Intellectual and Other Disabilities
Massachusetts Department of Higher Education
2018 - 2019 Graduate and professional education for students with disabilities: Examining access to STEM, medical, and legal fields
AccessLex Institute
2013 - 2015 Development of La Red Inter-Americana para la Investigación, Integración y Desarrollo en Educación Superior (RIIDES) (Inter-American Network for the Study and Improvement of Higher Education).
Ford Founcation
2009 - 2010 Building Partner Capacity through Community-Based Research
Massachusetts Campus Compact
2009 - 2010 The incongruity between education expectations and enrollment behaviors: The effects of gender and social capital over three decades
Association for Institutional Research
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Honors and Awards

  • Institute for Social Science Research, ISSR Scholar, UMass Amherst (2016-2017)
  • Center for Research on Families, Family Research Scholar, UMass Amherst (2011-2012)
  • Institute for Higher Education Policy (IHEP), Young Academic Fellowship (2011)
  • Mentor of the Year – College of Education, UMass Amherst (2016)
  • Woollatt Distinguished Paper Award, NERA (2009) (with Catherine Manly)


  • Secondary Data Analysis in Educational Research
  • Higher Education Finance Policy
  • Access & Equity in Higher Education
  • Research in Higher Education

Contact Information

N172 Furcolo Hall
University of Massachusetts Amherst
Amherst, MA 01003