A. R. Ruis is Associate Director of the Center for Research on Complex Thinking, a research scientist at the Wisconsin Center for Education Research, and a fellow in the Department of Medical History and Bioethics at the University of Wisconsin–Madison.

He is the author of Eating to Learn, Learning to Eat: The Origins of School Lunch in the United States, as well as numerous articles on the history of food, nutrition, and health; quantitative ethnography, digital humanities, and research methodology; environmental and medical education; and public policy.

Dr. Ruis led the development of iPlan, which simulates the impacts of land use on socio-economic and environmental issues in local context, and he has contributed to the development of other learning simulations and analytic tools, including epistemic network analysis. His current projects focus on modeling multilingual climate change adaptation policies; subgroup fairness in automated text classification; and novel methods for assessing learning and complex thinking in educational simulations.

He also edits the book series Repast—Studies in the History of Nutrition, which is published by the Johns Hopkins University Press, and he is a co-founder and editor of H-Nutrition.

Select Publications

Thin Data, Thick Description: Modeling Socio-Environmental Problem-Solving Trajectories in Localized Land-Use Simulations
A. R. Ruis, Y. Tan, J. Brohinsky, B. Yang, Y. Wang, Z. Cai, & D. W. Shaffer
Advances in Quantitative Ethnography: Fifth International Conference, ICQE 2023, Melbourne, VIC, Australia, October 8–12, 2023, Proceedings, eds. G. Arastoopour Irgens & S. Knight (Springer, 2023), 349–364.

Quantitative Ethnography of Policy Ecosystems: A Case Study on Climate Change Adaptation Planning
A. R. Ruis
Advances in Quantitative Ethnography: Fourth International Conference, ICQE 2022, Copenhagen, Denmark, October 15–19, 2022, Proceedings, eds. C. Damşa & A. Barany (Springer, 2023), 414–428.

How We Code
D. Williamson Shaffer & A. R. Ruis
Advances in Quantitative Ethnography: Second International Conference, ICQE 2020, Malibu, CA, USA, February 1-3, 2021, Proceedings, eds. A. R. Ruis & S. B. Lee (Springer, 2021), 62–77.

Finding Common Ground: A Method for Measuring Recent Temporal Context in Analyses of Complex, Collaborative Thinking
A. R. Ruis, A. L. Siebert Evenstone, R. Pozen, B. R. Eagan, & D. W. Shaffer
A Wide Lens: Combining Embodied, Enactive, Extended, and Embedded Learning in Collaborative Settings: 13th International Conference on Computer-Supported Collaborative Learning (CSCL) 2019, eds. K. Lund, G. Niccolai, E. Lavoué, C. Hmelo-Silver, G. Gweon, & M. Baker (ISLS, 2019), I:136–143.

“Trois Empreintes d’un Même Cachet”: Toward a Historical Definition of Nutrition
A. R. Ruis
Viral Networks: Connecting Digital Humanities and Medical History, eds. E. T. Ewing & K. Randall (VT Publishing, 2018), 185–215.

The Hands and Head of a Surgeon: Modeling Operative Competency with Multimodal Epistemic Network Analysis
A. R. Ruis, A. A. Rosser, C. Quandt-Walle, J. N. Nathwani, D. W. Shaffer, & C. M. Pugh
American Journal of Surgery 216, no. 5 (2018): 835–840.

Technology and the New Professionalization of Teaching
D. W. Shaffer, P. Nash, & A. R. Ruis
Teachers College Record 117, no. 12 (2015): 1–30.

“Children with Half-Starved Bodies” and the Assessment of Malnutrition in the United States, 1890–1950
A. R. Ruis
Bulletin of the History of Medicine 87, no. 3 (2013): 380–408.

Select Media

iPlan: A Flexible Platform for Exploring Complex Land-Use Issues
Frontiers in Playful Learning, 2022


Solving Real-World Problems with an Online Game
The Larry Meiller Show, Wisconsin Public Radio, 2022


From Hot Meals to PB&Js: The Realities of School Lunch Debt
1A, National Public Radio, 2019


Innovation and Adversity: The History of School Lunches in Wisconsin’s Rural Schools
Wisconsin Historical Museum, Madison, Wisconsin 2019


Lunch Money: A Short, Abridged, Very Brief History of School Meals in America
PechaKucha All Stars, Madison, Wisconsin, 2018


Lunch Gets Schooled
Gastropod, 2017