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
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.