William S. Ryan

Assistant Professor, Teaching Stream


Fields of Study

Areas of Interest

  • Stigmatized identities
  • Health & well-being
  • Workplace wellness and burnout
  • Equity, diversity, and inclusion
  • Organizational leadership
  • Sexual identity, sexuality, & sexual prejudice


Will is an Assistant Professor, Teaching Stream in the Department of Psychology at the University of Toronto, St. George where he teaches a variety of courses relating to social and personality psychology, health psychology, and industrial and organizational behaviour. Will’s teaching philosophy is informed by Self-Determination Theory (SDT), a motivational framework that posits that individuals have a natural, or intrinsic, motivation to grow and learn. This natural tendency flourishes when basic psychological needs for competence, relatedness, and autonomy are met. Therefore, supporting these three needs forms the foundation of his approach to teaching.

Will also applies SDT in his research, examining how social contexts and interactions support and thwart health, wellness, and engagement, focusing on these processes among members of stigmatized groups and in the workplace and classroom. Will conducts the majority of this research in collaboration with undergraduate student members of the WISH (Well-being, Identity, Stigma, & Health) lab

Will completed his Ph.D. in Social Psychology at the University of California, Santa Barbara in 2017. While at UCSB he also completed an Interdisciplinary Emphasis in Quantitative Methods for the Social Sciences and a Certificate in College & University Teaching.  Will is a proud graduate of Smith College earning his B.A. in Psychology there in 2009.