Ruthann Thomas, Ph.D.
Associate Director for Teaching and Learning
Ruthann Thomas joined the Teaching + Learning Lab in 2021.
Ruthann’s work in the TLL is informed by her experiences as an educational developer, a seasoned classroom teacher and faculty member, and a scientist with expertise in memory and metacognition. Prior to arriving at TLL, she worked as the Associate Director of Teaching and Learning at the Center for Faculty Excellence at Simmons University where she designed and facilitated research-based workshops and discussions for faculty to support inclusive excellence in teaching. She also taught in the Psychology department at Hendrix College for seven years and earned tenure. In her current role at the Teaching + Learning Lab, Ruthann will develop and collaborate on multiscale initiatives to promote equitable and inclusive teaching practices and learning environments.
Ruthann graduated from Furman University with a B.A. in Psychology and a nascent enthusiasm for engaging and challenging teaching. She earned her Ph.D. in Cognition, Perception, and Cognitive Neuroscience from the University of Toronto, where she studied distractibility in younger and older adults with Dr. Lynn Hasher’s lab. She then held a postdoctoral research position at Washington University in St. Louis to dig into her interest in teaching and student learning by applying principles of cognitive psychology to enhance educational practice with Drs. Larry Jacoby and Mark McDaniel. In her research, she examined how studying concrete examples of concepts, developing awareness of learning processes (that is, metacognition), and practicing retrieving content from memory improve memory in both theoretically-grounded lab experiments as well as applied classroom research collaborating with educators. Her work is anchored in a deep commitment to fostering inclusive and equitable learning communities and sharing teaching strategies based in the science of learning.