• Seamus Mulryan

Seamus Mulryan

“[T]he humane capabilities are the ones to stress if one is to educate and to cultivate oneself, and…only then, when we succeed in that, will we also survive without damage from the progress of technology and technicity.” Hans-Georg Gadamer

Dr. Seamus Mulryan studied physics at a small liberal arts college much like Ursinus before volunteering for two years of national service in AmeriCorps as a physics teacher with Teach for America. Over the years, he initiated a successful AP-Physics program in one of the poorest counties the country, developed the physics curriculum for a new suburban public school, and led an after-school program in an urban school. During this time, his attention slowly turned from the big questions about the physical universe to the big questions about education, and these led him to earn his Ph.D. in educational policy studies at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Dr. Mulryan joined the Ursinus College faculty in 2015, because he felt a strong affinity with the Common Intellectual Experience (CIE) program for first-year students; with the Education Department’s unique approach to teacher education, which grounds itself in a rigorous liberal education; and because of the small class sizes and close intellectual relationships he could have with students.

Dr. Mulryan offers courses that both advance the larger core curriculum at the College, Quest, and that allow students to pursue the study of education for its own sake. His classroom teaching is seminar-style and discussion-based. In this environment, and through independent research and honors projects, he invites his students into the millennia-old conversation about enduring educational questions, encouraging his students to not only consider the public good of educational opportunity but also to use these questions as a means of pursuing their own continual formation.

Dr. Mulryan’s scholarship draws from the fields of ethics, politics, and hermeneutics to help answer questions regarding how, why, and to what ends individuals undergo an education. His work has been published inEducational Theory,Philosophy of Education,Journal of Aesthetic Education, and Policy Futures in Education; and it has been cited in the American Educational Research Association’s Handbook of Research in Teaching, as well as in monographs, journal articles, theses, and dissertations across multiple continents. His most recent work includes a forthcoming article in Educational Theory titled “Ethical Diversity, the Common Good, and the Courage of Dialogue” as well as a chapter in the forthcoming Cambridge Handbook of Ethics and Education titled “The Ethics of Bildung and Liberal Education.”




B.S., Beloit College

M.A., Columbia University

Ph.D., University of Illinois


CIE-100: Common Intellectual Experience I

EDUC-100: Critical Issues in Education

EDUC-265: Educational Psychology

EDUC-380: Ethics and Moral Education

EDUC-450: Seminar in Educational Studies

Research Interests

Ethical Formation

Hermeneutic Education

Humanistic Education

Public Education

Educational Theory & Philosophy

History of Educational Thought

Recent Work

Selected Works:

Mulryan, Seamus. “Ethical Diversity, the Common Good, and the Courage of Dialogue.” Educational Theory (in press, expected early 2014).

Mulryan, Seamus. “The Ethics of Bildung and Liberal Education.” In The Cambridge Handbook of Ethics and Education, edited by Sheron Fraser-Burgess, Jessica Heybach, and Dini Metro-Roland. Cambridge University Press (in press, expected late 2023).

Mulryan, Seamus. “Among All Socratics, Is there a Single Socrates? Irony, Aporia, and the Cultivation of Courage.” In Philosophy of Education 2018, edited by Megan Laverty, pp. 296-300. Urbana, IL: Philosophy of Education Society, 2019.

Mulryan, Seamus. “Towards Deep Liberation: A Gadamerian Correction to Critical Pedagogy.” In Philosophy of Education 2016, edited by Natasha Levinson, pp. 197-207. Urbana, IL: Philosophy of Education Society, 2018.

Mulryan, Seamus. “A review of Maxine McClintock, Letters of Recommendation, and Samuel D. Rocha, A Primer for Philosophy and Education.” Educational Theory 66, no. 5 (2016): 657–665.

Mulryan, Seamus and Stephanie Mackler. “The Existential Significance of Cinema in Educational Administration.” Journal of Aesthetic Education 49, no. 2 (Summer 2015): 1-19.

Mulryan, Seamus. “Review of The Case for Character Education: A Developmental Approach by Alan L. Lockwood,” Education Review 15 (2012).

Mackler, Stephanie and Seamus Mulryan. “Educational Administration as a Hermeneutics of Trust.” In Trust and Betrayal in Educational Administration and Leadership, edited by Eugenie Samier and Michèle Schmidt, pp. 77-90. New York, NY: Routledge Press, 2010.

Mulryan, Seamus. “Hegel’s Hold on Conceptions of Human Development.” Policy Futures in Education 6, no. 3 (2008): 312 – 322.