Staff and Faculty Directory

Sandra Buczynski

Sandra Buczynski
Phone: (619) 260-7991
Fax: (619) 849-8159
Office: Mother Rosalie Hill Hall 249

Associate Professor

  • Ph.D University of Hawaii, Manoa
  • M.P.H. University of Texas School of Public Health, Houston
  • BA University of Texas, Austin, Biology

I am uniquely qualified to serve as a science educator at the University of San Diego because I was a research scientist before I was a teacher.  After graduation from the University of Texas, Austin (1973) with a B.A. in Biology, I launched my career as a scientist in a clinical laboratory setting at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston.  I worked for the famed cardiac surgeon, Dr. Michael DeBakey, performing biochemical assays.  My ambition was to advance the field of heart health.  During this time, I also earned a Master of Public Health from the University of Texas, Houston (1977) with thesis work requiring the collection of blood samples from adolescent males at various middle schools.  My goal was to uncover the biochemical marker of male puberty but instead I was stunned by middle school students’ need for basic health information.  At that moment, I realized that I could have a greater impact as a scientist by becoming a teacher.  In 1978 I obtained my lifetime teaching credential in science education from the University of Houston and embarked on my professional life as an educator.  I taught biology for 10 years in a large, urban school in Alief, Texas and for 14 years in a small, rural school on Maui, Hawaii where I served as chair of the science department.  In this capacity, I mentored young ambitious student teachers as well as veteran teachers. After almost three decades in the secondary science classroom, I earned my doctoral degree in Curriculum and Instruction (with a cognate in Instructional Technology) from the University of Hawai’i, Manoa (2002) and began my work at USD. 

My primary teaching responsibilities at USD include undergraduate courses in the secondary credential program and graduate courses in the Curriculum and Instruction and Math, Science, and Technology Education programs. The driving force behind what I do is a genuine love and deep knowledge of my content area.  Teaching brings me joy, excitement, and a sense of satisfaction and I hope it will do the same for those in my class who are currently teaching or studying to become teachers.  

Since arriving at USD, I have co-authored one book, Story Starters and Science Notebooking: Developing children’s thinking through literacy and inquiry.  In addition I have had 13 peer-reviewed articles published, 6 invited publications, 19 peer reviewed national and international presentations, and 5 awarded grants. Additionally, two of my articles have been reprinted as chapters in books published by the National Science Teachers Association (NSTA).  Links to full text articles of all my published work can be found at:  (click on “Research.”)

Currently I sit on the Board of Directors for Nativity Preparatory Academy, serve on the advisory board for Science Scope (a NSTA middle school journal), and work as a volunteer for the American Professional Partnership for Lithuanian Education (A.P.P.L.E.) (instructing week-long summer institutes for elementary science teachers in Lithuania).  In my spare time I like to quilt and go hiking.

Scholarly Work


Buczynski, S. & Fontichiaro, K. (2009).  Story starters and science notebooking:  

Developing children’s thinking through literacy and inquiry.  

Westport, Conn:  Teacher Ideas Press.

 Refereed Articles:

Inoue, N. & Buczynski, S. (2011) in press. You asked open-ended questions, and nowwhat?: Understanding stumbling blocks in inquiry-based lessons.  TheMathematics Educator.  

Buczynski, S., Myers, P., Gorsky, J., & McGrath, L (2011) in press.  Prime time to sift like Eratosthenes. Teaching Children Mathematics. 

Buczynski, S. & Hansen, B. (2010).  Impact of professional development on teacherpractice:  Uncovering connections.  Teaching and Teacher Education, 26(3),599-607.

Buczynski, S., Lattimer, H., Inoue, N. & Alexandrowicz, V. (2010).  Developing apolicy for an international experience requirement in a graduate teachereducation program:  A cautionary tale.  Teaching Education, 21(1), 33-46.

Buczynski, S. (2009).  10 tips for providing formative feedback.  PhiDelta Kappan International’s electronic Classroom Tips, Posted October 15, 2009.

Buczynski, S. & Sisserson, K. (2008). School district and university co-teaching:  Toward instructional synergy in an induction/M.Ed. program.  Issues in Teacher Education, 17(1), 47-74.

Buczynski, S., Garcia, S., & Lacanienta, E.  (2007). Using Japanese lesson design to anticipate an ant invasion on Maui.  The Science Teacher, 74(8), 49-54.

Buczynski, S.  (2007). Weed Warriors.  Science Activities, 44(1), 23-32.

Buczynski, S. (2007).  Making the most of limited lab facilities.  Science Scope, 30(6), 60-62. Reprinted as Chapter 9 in The Frugal Science Teacher, 6-9:  Strategies and Activities(Linda Froschauer, Ed.) (2010).  Arlington, VA: NSTA Press.

Buczynski, S. (2006). What’s hot? What’s not? Goldilocks investigates temperature and heat.  Science & Children, 44(2), 25-29.  Reprinted in Readings in Science Methods K-8 (Eric Brunsell, Ed.) (2008).  Arlington,VA: NSTA Press.