About Us

We are a group of scholars, practitioners, teachers, and counselors. We make use of Action Research as a tool for improving our work and the work of our students.  Several of us also are involved with action research projects in the larger community, including consulting with schools, school districts, and community organizations on improving practices through the use of action research. Through needs assessments, research-based actions, and structured collaborative reflection we endeavor to improve practices and to assist others in improving practices in the field of education.  Over the past 7 years, we have witnessed a major increase in the amount and quality of action research studies conducted at our university, amongst our departments, and by our students.  We are excited about the work that is ahead as we expand action research as a practice throughout the School of Leadership and Education Sciences and in the greater San Diego region.

Faculty Bios

Sandy B

Sandy Buczynski

Sandy Buczynski is a science educator with an earned B.A. in Biology from the University of Texas (Austin), a Master of Public Health from the University of Texas (Houston). In the Department of Learning and Teaching at USD, she is an associate professor and coordinates of the Master’s Cohort Credential (MCC) education program. She teaches graduate courses in the areas of curricular innovation and design, secondary teaching methods, and math and science pedagogy. Her research interests include: international education, action research, and inquiry pedagogy. Currently, Dr. Buczynski chairs the advisory board for Science Scope (a National Science Teacher Association (NSTA) middle school journal), serves as an Institutional Review Board panelist for USD, and is a co-principal investigator for a National Science Foundation (NSF) grant designed to develop diverse leadership for the next generation of geoscientists. Dr. Buczynski also sits on the Board of Trustees for Nativity Preparatory Academy and volunteers for the American Professional Partnership for Lithuanian Education (A.P.P.L.E.) as a summer institute instructor for elementary science teachers in Lithuania. She has served as a peer reviewer for several education journals and as a grant reviewer for NSF’s informal science education technology program and for California Department of Education’s Math and Science Partnerships.

Dr. Cheryl Getz

Cheryl Getz

Cheryl Getz, EdD is Department Chair and Associate Professor in the Department of Leadership Studies in the School of Leadership and Education Sciences (SOLES), at the University of San Diego. She has also held a number of administration positions in SOLES, including Assistant Dean, Director of Graduate and Credential Programs, and Associate Dean. Her areas of expertise include: the use of nontraditional pedagogies to teach leadership, the application of group relations theory and the use of action inquiry to understand higher education administration and student affairs, and the development of inclusive and integrated leadership development programs. She teaches courses for masters and doctoral students in the Higher Education Leadership program; she supervises action research projects for Student Affairs graduate interns, and she teaches the accompanying seminar. Her most recent research using action research methodology is: Teaching Leadership as Exploring Sacred Space in Education Action Research (2009). Other publications include: a co-authored chapter titled Facing Organizational Complexity and Change: Rethinking Leadership Development, in New Horizons for Leadership Development of Faculty and Administrators in Higher (2009); and, Toward an Integral Approach to the Teaching of Leadership Studies in Higher Education, in the Integral Leadership Review (2007).


David Herrera

David Herrera, EdD is an Affiliate Professor in the Department of Leadership Studies in the School of Leadership and Education Sciences (SOLES), at the University of San Diego. His major areas of interest are in participatory decision making, democratic and egalitarian organizations and social and economic justice. He is teaching masters and doctoral courses in Leadership Studies in social justice at the workplace, ethics and leadership and research methods. He has also been an instructor of a study-abroad course in Participatory Models of Leadership in Mondragón, Spain since 1996.

Dr. Herrera advises master students who present projects in the Annual SOLES Action Research Conference. He is currently working as a member of the Leadership Studies Task Force on Action Research to create a proposal format and rubric for action research to be included in graduate research methods courses. Dr. Herrera wrote his doctoral dissertation about finding meaning in participation in our work and in our lives following W.H Whyte early methodology for his participatory action research project about employee satisfaction in Mondragón, Spain.

Before joining the academic community, Dr. Herrera lived in Belgium and Mexico City for 27 years, working as an international business executive responsible for European, Asian, Pacific and Latin American operations.

Dr. Noriyuki Inoue

Noriyuki Inoue

Noriyuki Inoue, PhD is Associate Professor specializing in educational psychology, human cognition and learning. His interest and expertise in action research lie in the areas of action research validity, lesson study, infusing Eastern epistemology and philosophy into action research, and in-service and pre-service teacher education. He regularly teaches research method, cognition and learning, human development, and mathematics education courses in the Learning and Teaching graduate programs in which action research serves as a penetrating theme. He collaborates with a wide variety of action research and lesson study experts in Japan and the US, and pursues his interests in cultural dimensions of action research and practice improvement. He is now working on a series of research and writing projects that explore the potentials of cross-cultural dialogues in action research and lesson study. Dr. Inoue began his career in Japan as a high school mathematics teacher, and received a Fulbright Scholarship to study in the U.S. He received an M.Ed. from Harvard University, an M.A. and Ph.D. (educational psychology) from Columbia University. His recent publications address the issues of lesson study, pedagogical content knowledge, real world problem solving, and the nature of intrinsic motivation. He has served as a reviewer for several peer-reviewed journals in learning sciences as well as a consultant for schools and universities.

Dr. Heather Latimer

Heather Lattimer

Heather Lattimer, PhD is Department Chair for Learning and Teaching at SOLES, as well as an Assistant Professor. She designed the action research (AR) course sequence for students in USD’s Master’s Credential Cohort (MCC) program and advises AR for students in both the MCC and Master’s of Arts and Teaching programs. Dr. Lattimer is also visiting faculty at High Tech High’s Graduate School of Education and advises AR for students in their Teacher Leadership program. Prior to coming to USD, Dr. Lattimer taught English, math, and history at middle and high schools in San Jose and San Diego.

Mary McDonald

Mary McDonald

Mary McDonald, PhD joined the faculty of the Department of Leadership Studies in September 2008. McDonald is teaching both masters and doctoral level courses in Leadership Studies, primarily in the Nonprofit Leadership and Management Program. She is Affiliate Faculty to the Caster Center for Nonprofit Research and through that Center, collaborates with faculty and students on nonprofit sector-focused research and evaluation projects. Specific courses she teaches are Nonprofit Management Fundamentals (EDLF 501), Strategic Positioning (LEAD 511), Research Design and Methodology for Leaders (LEAD 549) and Research Methodology (Peace and Justice 540).

Action Research has a strong presence in both Dr. Mc Donald’s scholarship and her applied research. Her two most recent journal submissions report on action research projects conducted with the Council of Michigan Foundations. The first tells the story of the development of the Diversity in Philanthropy Initiative which is based on a peer learning network approach to system’s change. The second journal submission presents a model of collaboration, the Office of Foundation Liaison. The model was developed through an action, formative approach to evaluation and key stakeholder involvement and feedback. Dr. McDonald includes action research designs as part of her research methods classes and is currently working with the Leadership Studies Task Force on Action Research to create a rubric and proposal format for action research in the department. She also serves as a member of the SOLES Action Research Committee. She is also working to integrate action research and the requirements of the Nonprofit Program’s applied projects.  Dr. McDonald presented an action research project, “La Colonia: A Community in Stories” at the 2009 Action Research Conference.

Dr. Lonnie Rowell

Lonnie Rowell

Lonnie Rowell, PhD is Associate Professor and Program Director of the School Counseling Program. He also directs the Center for Student Support Systems (CS3), a research and policy development center he established in 2002. Dr. Rowell developed a model for collaborative action research in school counseling and has been using the model for the past ten years in conjunction with training graduate students in school counseling and supporting the efforts of local school counselors to strengthen practice. He and his students and local counselors have conducted more than 40 projects since the model was first developed. In 2004, Prof. Rowell and his students organized the first SOLES action research conference. The initial focus of the conference was presenting the school counseling projects completed by USD graduate students. By 2007, however, Prof. Rowell had begun working with colleagues in SOLES to expand the conference from a school counseling focus to an education focus, to, ultimately, a cross-disciplinary and international focus. The Annual SOLES Action Research Conference now has become the premier North American conference for action research practitioners, university faculty, and undergraduate and graduate students interested in learning about action research. He also is co-director of a new statewide action research initiative for school counseling – the California Action Research Collaborative (CAL ARC). The collaborative works to support school counselors in their efforts to develop an evidence-based orientation in the field.

Dr. Joi Spencer

Joi Spencer

Joi Spencer, PhD is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Learning and Teaching in SOLES.  Her work demonstrates her interest in the mathematics opportunities, learning experiences, and identities of African American students.  Equally, her work examines mathematics teacher learning and change within the context of urban schools.  Dr. Spencer uses action research as a tool for engendering reflective change in the instructional practices of her pre-service and in-service mathematics education students. 

erika nash cameron

Erika Nash Cameron

Dr. Erika Nash Cameron, a native of Honolulu, Hawaii, has been an Assistant Professor in the Counseling program since August 2009 after receiving her doctorate in Counselor Education from University of Missouri, St. Louis. She holds a M.Ed. in Guidance and Counseling from the University of Hawaii and a B.S. in Graphic Design from Bradley University where she was a Division I volleyball player. Before becoming a counselor, Dr. Nash Cameron worked as an Assistant Volleyball Coach at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas for two years.

Dr. Nash Cameron has worked as a mental health, school and private practice counselor with a variety of clients but she specializes in work with children using expressive counseling practices (such as Play Therapy and Art in Counseling). Dr. Nash Cameron has worked as a teacher, counselor, and clinical supervisor in a variety of settings including a primary, middle, and secondary school, university, mental health center, residential facility, and community agency. Prior to teaching at University of San Diego, Dr. Nash Cameron taught courses at University of Missouri, St. Louis and the University of Hawaii, Manoa. At USD, Dr. Nash Cameron teaches a variety of master’s level courses, including Multicultural Counseling (COUN 515), Professional Orientation (COUN 503), Ethical and Legal Issues in Schools (COUN 506), Children and Youth in School Settings (COUN 536), and Applied Techniques in School Counseling (COUN 537). Dr. Nash Cameron's research interests include qualitative research methods, multicultural issues in counselor preparation, school counselor professional development, individual psychology, and Sandtray Therapy.

ian martin

Ian Martin

Ian Martin joins the School of Leadership and Education Sciences as an Assistant Professor for the Counseling program. Ian received his doctorate from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, where he focused on leadership and policy in school counseling. While in Massachusetts, he worked as a research assistant in the Center for School Counseling Outcome Research and served an active role as a teaching assistant within several programs. Prior to beginning his doctoral studies, Ian was a School Counselor in Portland, Oregon, where he designed several school counseling programs and interventions. Ian has published print and online articles and is currently engaged in several research projects. His research interests include collaborative school level projects focused on intervention results and/or programmatic outcomes; school counseling programs, program evaluation, leadership and policy; and state and national level research on school counseling. Ian is a member of several professional organizations such as the American School Counselor Association, American Evaluation Association, and the American Counseling Association.