Kym gesturing to a grapefruit


​Kym Buchanan

"Yet" is a very powerful word. It changes "I can't do this" into "I can't do this yet."

CC Attribution 2021 | Kym Buchanan

Photo of Kym by Eva Donohoo


Dr. Kym Buchanan is an evaluation specialist at the Foreign Service Institute, in the US Department of State. Kym started his career as a high school teacher and went on to earn his PhD in Learning, Technology, and Culture. He's on leave as a professor at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point, where he previously served as head of his nationally-renowned school of education. Kym's work has spanned psychology, technology, and diversity. He's been with his wife since 1994 and they have two daughters.

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My path in life has been anything but boring. As a kid, I lived in Salt Lake City, Utah. When I was 12, we moved to Portland, Oregon, which I think of as my home town. I earned my Bachelor's of Arts in Chemistry from Reed College in 1998, and my Master's in Teaching from Concordia University in 1999. I taught high school for three years in Tigard, Oregon, including English language arts, speech, algebra, and business technology. I was also the assistant coach of the speech/forensics team. Next, I worked as a researcher at a federally-funded regional educational laboratory for one year, where I focused on open source software and other open models.

In 2003, I moved to Lansing, Michigan, to earn a PhD in Learning, Technology, and Culture from the College of Education at Michigan State University. My interdisciplinary studies included education, psychology, and media (especially games). In 2006, I finished my dissertation and started my position at UWSP. In addition to earning tenure and full professor, I've been elected to several top leadership roles in shared governance, and I've worked part-time as a senior aide to our provost and chancellor. From January 2016 to January 2019, I served as Associate Dean and Head of our School of Education. While I was very successful in this role, I missed my teaching and research, so I didn't apply for a second term. 
In January 2021, I was recruited to serve as an evaluation specialist in the State Department. I took a leave of absence from my position at UWSP.

My recreations include video games, novels, short stories, movies, and TV. I particularly enjoy modern fantasy and military science fiction. Partly because I spend a lot of time sitting in front of screens, I also prioritize diet and exercise.

My wife Jodi shares many of my interests. We met in 1994 and we were married in 1999. We have two daughters: Bayli Cadence (born 2004) and Dani Ember (born 2007). We have two cats: Xena and Wednesday.

Some Favorite Things

  • Books: Pride & Prejudice; The Diamond Age; A Game of Thrones; The Dresden Files
  • Color: purple
  • Foods: chocolate (e.g., Dove Dark); peanut butter; sweet potato fries
  • Games: System Shock/Bioshock series; Civilization series; Metroid series; many more
  • Movies: Aliens; Dead Poets Society; How to Train Your Dragon; Toy Story
  • Music: Desire (Ryan Adams); The Mission (Main Theme); Hang with Me (Robyn); Canon in D (Pachelbel)
  • Television: The West Wing; Flashpoint

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  • VIA Strengths: Honesty, Leadership, Creativity, Spirituality, Love of Learning

  • CliftonStrengths: Learner, Connectedness, Strategic, Belief, Analytical

  • Personal Mission Statement