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Allison K. Ryals portrait

Allison K. Ryals, LCSW

B.S.W. Program assistant director and associate professor in teaching

Email: akryals@vcu.edu

Phone: (804) 828-5370

M.S.W., Virginia Commonwealth University
B.S.W., Virginia Commonwealth University

Allison Ryals is assistant director for the B.S.W. Program and an associate professor in teaching and a licensed clinical social worker (LCSW). Prior to joining the School of Social Work, Allison was first a social work specialist in and later supervisor of Richmond City’s Second Responder program. This specialized unit of the Department of Social Services provided immediate social work intervention for a variety of after-hours human service crises, including child welfare emergencies, community violence, adult abuse and neglect, family violence and supportive counseling following traumatic events. In addition to direct practice, Allison provided leadership to a staff of 10 social work specialists and collaborated with local emergency services agencies and area nonprofits. Following her work with the city, Allison joined VCU Medical Center as a clinical social worker serving inpatient and emergency department service lines.

Allison teaches in the B.S.W. and M.S.W. programs, most often courses in human behavior, social work practice, and social justice. Allison works closely with VCU’s Division of Community Engagement, teaching service-learning courses since 2014. Her community partners are both on-campus and community-based organizations, including The Mary and Frances Youth Center’s Lobs and Lessons, VCU’s Learning Gardens, RamBikes, Ram PantryOAR, Grace and Holy Trinity Episcopal Church and the Neighborhood Resource Center of Greater Fulton. Allison enjoys collaborating with and mentoring teaching assistants for her service-learning designated courses.

Allison currently serves as president on the Board of Directors for Caroline Furnace Lutheran Camp and Retreat Center, a summer camp and year-long retreat center (for all ages) whose mission is to provide opportunities for experiential outdoor education and space for community-building and renewal. In addition to her work on the Board, she is a longtime volunteer with the organization, with a special passion for caring for the property’s trails and outdoor spaces.

Teaching areas and interests

  • SLWK 200 Building a Just Society
  • SLWK 313 Person in Society I
  • SLWK 441 Social Work Practice I
  • SLWK 442 Social Work Practice II
  • Mentorship of service-learning teaching assistants (SLWK 200)


  • Governance & Operations, School of Social Work
  • BSW Program Committee, School of Social Work
  • General Education Curriculum Committee, Virginia Commonwealth University
  • Service-Learning Advisory Committee, Virginia Commonwealth University
  • Board Member & President, Caroline Furnace Lutheran Camp & Retreat Center