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Jill Koyama

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Vice Dean, Educational Leadership & Innovation & Professor
Administrative, TEMPE Campus, Mailcode 1811

Professor Koyama, a cultural anthropologist, is vice dean of the Division of Education Leadership and Innovation in the Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College. In this role, she sees great opportunity and responsibility to do work that matters, alongside others who are constructing equitable, multivocal, innovative and dynamic learning environments at MLFTC, and more broadly, at ASU. Both Koyama’s leadership practice and her research, are informed by her commitment to equity, inclusion, anti-racism and social justice. 

Koyama’s higher education career has spanned community colleges and universities in New York, Washington and Arizona. In addition to teaching and working with graduate students, Koyama assumed leadership roles as director of educational leadership and policy, director of the Education Policy Center and director of the Institute for LGBT Studies at the University of Arizona. 

In addition to her professional work, Koyama has been actively connected in service with nonprofit organizations supporting refugee communities in Buffalo and Tucson. 



PhD Columbia University

Research Interests: 

Koyama’s scholarship sits across several strands of inquiry: the productive social assemblage of policy; the controversies of globalizing educational policy; and the politics of migrant education. In this research, she challenges notions of global citizenship and interrogates normative enactments of civic engagement, leadership and education.

Professor Koyama began her research journey working as a botanist with tribal communities in the pacific northwest which instilled in her an interest for understanding communities and networks. A mentor in graduate school introduced her to anthropology and education, and Koyama has since engaged with many communities over the span of her career, including refugees, migrant workers, border crossers and tribal nations. Koyama has utilized sociocultural anthropology and sociolinguistics to understand difference and shared-ness within communities. 

Koyama’s research has been particularly impressed by refugees’ abilities and creativity to construct resource rich networks, despite being financially, socially, and legally restrained. Her research seeks to better understand how they developed these networks, and also bring light to all the things that refugees can do, which counters the socially constructed narrative that often focuses on what refugees cannot do. 

Current projects:

  • Koyama is interested in gendered research within the refugee communities, looking at how training and professional learning opportunities that women may have outside the home for the first time in their lives, have contributed towards their decision making for their children, specifically their daughters. She has been working with and researching  refugee communities, especially refugees who identify as female, in New York State and Arizona for the past 12 years. 
  • Since starting at ASU, Koyama is working on two projects: In the first, she is collaborating with MLFTC and Education for Humanity colleagues, as well as the Refugee Educator Academy at Childhood Education International, to create both curricular material/programs for teachers, who are displaced, and also for educators working with refugees.
  • In the second project, Koyama, a colleague in Education Leadership and another at the School of Social Transformation, are exploring how to bring together scholars at ASU and beyond to critically address issues faced by LGBTQ+ communities globally. They are currently looking at ways to integrate LGBTQ+ topics into the curriculum.


Summer 2022
Course NumberCourse Title
TEL 710Innov Disseminating Res
TEL 780Practicum
Spring 2022
Course NumberCourse Title
TEL 792Research
Fall 2021
Course NumberCourse Title
DCI 595Continuing Registration