Cathy Ryan

Senior Lecturer, English

At Ohio State, Dr. Ryan is a pioneer in storytelling and visual narrative and has been nominated for two teaching awards, the Provost’s Award and the Alumni Award for Distinguished Teaching. She enjoys working in multidisciplinary settings where academic and non-academic partners reach across traditional boundaries.

At Ohio State’s Max M. Fisher College of Business, Dr. Ryan helped shape the Fisher web presence and undertook new digital initiatives, acted as business communication specialist in support of core faculty, consulted with business partners, and founded Media Lab. She designed and taught a short course on business etiquette for Fisher’s MAcc and MBA students at the Center for International Business, Education, and Research (CIBER). She received the Honor Roll of Excellence Award from the Association of Professional Communication Consultants (Case Study: Ernst & Young Winning Partnership Proposal) about Ernst & Young LLP’s relationship with Honda of America Manufacturing. Well known as a guest speaker, Dr. Ryan facilitates one-on-one employee training and communication, as well as seminars and business workshops.

As a member of the Columbus-based drama collaborative, Women at Play, Dr. Ryan co-produced ten plays (Columbus Circle Critics Award for Innovation; two-time nominee for Greater Columbus Arts Council Artistic Excellence Award) with funding from The Columbus Foundation, Nationwide Insurance, The Ohio Arts Council, The Greater Columbus Arts Council, and The Hazelbaker Foundation.

Dr. Ryan’s partnerships incorporate what she calls “STEAM + D” (Digital Humanities). Current research focuses on Digital Literacy, Music and Arts (DLMA), an incubator for education and public-private partnerships. DLMA has the mission to create a digital repository of open access works of art, share best practices, and provide seed funding and space for new music and art initiatives by Ohio State faculty, students, and the community. This project has been taking shape since February 2014 when Dr. Ryan called for re-digitization of Giacomo Patri’s wordless novel in linocut, White Collar (1938). Catherine Powell (Labor Archives and Research Center, J Paul Leonard Library, San Francisco State University) worked with Patri’s family across six months to secure permissions to re-digitize the out-of-print novel. In April 2018, Nathan Reckenbeil (Engineering, Class of 2020) authored and produced an original radio play based on Patri’s novel. Cross-institutional collaborations include a mentoring project (2017) featured in the short film, “Do You See What I Hear? A Synesthete Story.” In March 2018, Dr. Ryan partnered with talented artists from Open Door Art Studio & Gallery (Grandview Heights, OH) to visually score a sensory-friendly performance by the New Albany Symphony Orchestra of Camille Saint-Saëns’s “Carnival of the Animals.” Such projects show DLMA’s advocacy for projects honoring inclusive design principles. DLMA functions as a digital literacy, music and arts generator linking Ohio State and the non-profit sector. If interested in partnering or learning more about DLMA, contact < >.

Dr. Ryan is a founding member of The Ohio State University’s http://Digital Arts and Humanities Working Group. Her recent projects include a stage play that explores Alzheimer’s (“A. H. and the Astrophysicist”) and sound and film project inspired by award-winning author and Ohio native, Sharon Creech. The scientific and cross-institutional Enigma Project forefronts research on vision and perception, brain plasticity (2-D/3-D), and special events—including tactile and multi-sensory gallery exhibitions and world premiere musical works that solve the riddle of Edward Elgar’s “Theme and Variations, Op. 36” (“Enigma Variations”). Ryan and Dr. Elizabeth Newton (Director, Battelle Center, John Glenn College of Public Policy) are co-designing curriculum and activities to help students prepare for leadership and community engagement. 

Recent publications:

  • “Looking Beyond the Scenes: Spatial Storytelling and Masking in Shaun Tan’s The Arrival” (co-author Christiane Buuck), Graphic Novels for Children and Young Adults: A Collection of Critical Essays, edited by Michelle A. Abate and Gwen Athene Tarbox (University Press of Mississippi, 2017). [First-ever collection of critical essays on comics and Young Adult fiction]
  • “Ian Gordon. Kid Comic Strips: A Genre Across Four Countries. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2017. ---. Superman: The Persistence of an American Icon. New Jersey: Rutgers UP, 2017.” A Planetary Republic of Comic Book Letters: Drawing Expansive Narrative Boundaries. Studies in 20th and 21st Century Literature (Volume 42: Issue 1, Article 26). New Prairie Press: September 2017. DOI: 10.4148/2334-4415.1962

Key affiliations: 

Phi Beta Kappa; Digital Flagship Cohort, Comics Studies Working Group, Digital Arts and Humanities Working Group – The Ohio State University; and Editorial Review Board, International Journal of Business Communication.

Cathy Ryan
503 Denney
164 Annie and John Glenn Avenue