John Ryder (scholar)

John Ryder is a professor and former president (rector) of Khazar University in Baku, Azerbaijan.[1] He is the former Provost at the American University of Malta.

John Ryder
Born (1951-09-29) September 29, 1951 (age 68)
Citizenship United States
Alma materState University of New York
Scientific career
InstitutionsKhazar University,
State University of New York


He finished his bachelor's degree in May 1973 at the State University of New York (SUNY) College at Cortland, then continued his education at Stony Brook University (SUNY), receiving a master's degree in philosophy in May 1977. He became a Ph.D. candidate at the same university, and was awarded a doctorate in philosophy in August 1982.[2]

Positions heldEdit

He was a lecturer at the State University of New York (Cortland) from 1980 to 1985, then served as a professor at the same university from 1985 to 2002. He chaired the university’s philosophy department from 1991 to 1996, and in 1995 to 1996 he was the co-founder and director of the Project for Eastern and Central Europe.

From 1996 to 2002, he served in the role of dean of the School of Arts and Sciences of the State University of New York (Cortland). He was the leader of 16 academic departments and 3 centers in which 160 faculty provided academic programs to 1700 students.

From 2002 to 2010, Ryder was the director of the Center on Russia and the United States.[3] The center implemented various exchange and dual-degree programs for undergraduate and graduate students between the State University of New York and Moscow and St. Petersburg State Universities, Moscow State Institute of International Relations and other Russian universities.

In February 2002 he also became the director of the State University of New York Office of International Programs.[4] The office, the main aim of which is to develop cooperative relationships with institutes around the world, was notably successful in planning and implementing dual-degree programs with higher education institutions in Turkey, Russia, China, Mexico and other countries.

In September 2010, Ryder was appointed to the position of rector of Khazar University.[5][6] Ryder left Khazar at the end of his two-year term.[7]

In July 2012, Ryder was appointed Provost and Deputy Vice Chancellor of Academic Affairs at American University of Ras Al Khaimah.

In January 2016 Ryder was named as head of the American University of Malta.[8]

In January 2018, while serving as provost of the American University of Malta, Ryder presided over the firing of all 13 of the faculty who were still in their probation period just weeks before the second semester began. Brian Leiter referred to Ryder as the “axeman” because of his significant role in this controversial decision. Weeks later he hired two replacement faculty who jeopardized the institution’s accreditation, one a proven plagiarist and the other a holder of fraudulent credentials. [9][10][11][12]

In July 2019, Ryder announced that he had decided to retire and would therefore resign from his position as provost of the AUM, stating that he had fulfilled the terms of his contract, but would have "loved not to have had some of the problems or [made some of the] mistakes" he did.[13] In a three-part interview with investigative journalist Lizzie Eldridge, Ryder elaborated on the problems and mistakes he had made while serving as chief academic officer of the fledgling institution. [14] [15] [16]

Scholarly activityEdit

Ryder is a specialist in American philosophy, especially American philosophical naturalism and pragmatism, its historical development, contemporary applicability, and its reception outside the U.S. His published work tends to focus on issues in systematic ontology and epistemology, and on social and political philosophy. He is the author of Interpreting America: Russian and Soviet Studies of the History of American Thought (Library of American Philosophy, Vanderbilt University Press, 1999), editor of American Philosophic Naturalism in the 20th Century, (Prometheus Books, July 1994), and co-editor of The Blackwell Guide to American Philosophy, (with Armen Marsoobian, Blackwell Publishing, 2004, Russian Translation by Lyubov Bugaeva et al., Amerikanskaya Filosofiya: Vvedenie [American Philosophy: An Introduction] US Embassy Book Translation and Publication Program, Moscow: Idea Press, 2008), and The Philosophical Writings of Cadwallader Colden (with Scott Pratt, Prometheus Books, 2002).

Ryder is also the co-editor of several volumes of selected papers, published by Rodopi Press, from the Central European Pragmatist Forum (CEPF), which he co-founded in 2002 with Emil Višňovský. Through bi-annual meetings the CEPF provides American and European specialists in American philosophy the opportunity to meet and exchange ideas with one another. It has been one of the occasions that has sparked a current spike of interest in American philosophy among Europeans.

Many of Ryder’s papers have been translated into and published in Europe, and he is a frequent speaker at universities and conferences across Europe and the US. Ryder has also been since 2002 president of the Alliance of Universities for Democracy (AUDEM), which through annual conferences in Europe brings together universities and academics from the US and Central and Eastern Europe and from all academic fields.

Personal lifeEdit

Ryder was born in 1951 in New York City, New York.


  1. ^ "A Farewell Party in Honor of Professor John Ryder". Khazar University. June 28, 2012. Archived from the original on November 29, 2014.
  2. ^ Works by John Ryder | PhilPapers
  3. ^ - Center on Russia and the United States :: Programs and Activities :: Conferences
  4. ^
  5. ^ : : Welcome to Khazar University : :
  6. ^ Azerbaijan Business Center
  7. ^ [1] "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2014-11-29. Retrieved 2012-10-11.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  8. ^ "Former Baku university rector to head 'American Institute of Malta'". Times of Malta. 27 January 2016.
  9. ^ "'This situation is beyond cruel,' former faculty member tells AUM provost". Malta Independent. 11 January 2018.
  10. ^ "American University of Malta fires 12 of its 13 faculty without cause and with one week's notice in between terms..." Leiter Reports. 11 January 2018.
  11. ^ "Disgraced lecturer forced to leave AUM after reports of plagiarism". Times of Malta. 3 February 2018.
  12. ^ "American University of Malta Lecturer Suspected of Lying About His Oxford PhD". Lovin Malta. 12 February 2018.
  13. ^ Diacono, Tim (12 July 2019). "American University Of Malta's Head John Ryder Will Retire This Month". Lovin Malta.
  14. ^ Eldridge, Lizzie (19 August 2019). "Interview: The Man who came from Baku (1)". Truth be Told.
  15. ^ Eldridge, Lizzie (20 August 2019). "Interview: The Man who came from Baku (2)". Truth be Told.
  16. ^ Eldridge, Lizzie (21 August 2019). "Interview: The Man who came from Baku (3)". Truth be Told.

External linksEdit