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Latin American Studies

Affiliated Faculty

Program Director

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Julia Medina, PhD

Associate Professor of Spanish
Director, Latin American Studies Program
(619) 260-2751

Office: Founders 144-J

Office Hours: Jan. 26-May 5: T/Th, 3:00-5:00; W, 9:30-11:30 and 1:30-2:30

Julia Medina, Ph. D., joined the USD faculty in 2010. She has taught various courses on Latin American, Latino/a and TransAmerican literatures, cultures and film. She also teaches Spanish language courses of all levels. Professor Medina specializes in 19th and 20th century Latin American Literature and Culture as well as in Critical Theory and Cultural Studies.  Her current research focuses on the intersection between visual culture, non-fiction, resistance and intellectual representations in Central America.


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Executive Assistant
(619) 260-4070

Office: Founders 121

Office Hours: M-F, 7:30-4:30

Michelle Madsen  Camacho

Michelle Madsen Camacho, PhD

Professor, Sociology
(619) 260-7826

Office: Serra Hall 227

Office Hours: On ACE Fellowship Program from Fall 2015 and Spring 2016. To schedule an appointment contact via e-mail.

Michelle Madsen Camacho is Chair and Full Professor in the Department of Sociology at the University of San Diego.  She formerly held two postdoctoral fellowships at the University of California, San Diego, at the Center for U.S.-Mexican Studies and in the Department of Ethnic Studies. Fluent in both quantitative and qualitative research methodologies, her research uses theories from interdisciplinary sources including cultural studies, critical race, gender and feminist theories. Central to her work are questions of culture, power and inequality. She is affiliated faculty with the Department of Ethnic Studies, Women’s and Gender Studies, and Latin American Studies.

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Stephen Conroy

Stephen Conroy

Professor, Economics
(619) 260-7883

Office: Olin Hall 111

Stephen Conroy joined the faculty of USD in the fall of 2004 as an associate professor of Economics after spending five years at the University of West Florida in Pensacola. Professor Conroy has received several research and teaching awards, including the Outstanding Undergraduate Business Educator Award (2007), Teaching Incentive Program (TIP) Award (2004), Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching and Advising Award (2003) and the Dyson Faculty Award for Excellence in Research and Scholarly Activity (2002 and 2004). 

In addition to his academic scholarship, Professor Conroy has also participated in a number of economic consulting projects for clients in the private and public sectors, especially in the area of economic base analysis and, more recently, in valuation of nonmarket assets. Professor Conroy has several years of business experience in the for-profit and nonprofit sectors, including positions with Hallmark Cards, Inc. (inventory controller), Catholic Charities of Los Angeles (outreach specialist/coordinator), El Centro del Pueblo of Los Angeles (emergency services caseworker) and Jovenes, Inc., a nonprofit organization serving homeless youth in Los Angeles.

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Evelyn Diaz Cruz

Evelyn Diaz Cruz , MFA

Associate Professor, Theatre Arts and Performance Studies
(619) 260-7877

Office: Camino Hall 173A

Evelyn Díaz Cruz is an Associate Professor of Theatre Arts with experience in writing, directing, and acting. Originally from the Bronx, New York, Professor Cruz’s study and practice of theatre is focused on community engagement by addressing issues of social justice through art. Her non-traditional approach to theatre garnered her the prestigious KPBS Hispanic Heritage Month Local Hero Award in The Arts for her contributions to the San Diego community. She is also a past recipient of the University of San Diego’s Innovations in Experiential Education Award in recognition of her pedagogical approach in combining theatre and community service learning. Professor Cruz was one of five professors recognized by USD Magazine as one of “The Best and the Brightest Professors,” for 2015.



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Esteban del Río

Esteban del Río, PhD

Associate Professor
Director, Center for Inclusion and Diversity
(619) 260-7464

Office: Maher Hall 253

Office Hours: Contact the Center for Inclusion & Diversity (x7455) for availability and appointments.

Esteban del Río is an Associate Professor in the Department of Communication Studies at the University of San Diego and currently serves as the Associate Provost for Inclusion and Diversity and Director of the Center of Inclusion and Diversity. He earned a PhD in the Department of Communication at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, working in the area of media and cultural studies. del Río teaches Introduction to Media Studies, Media & Conflict, and International Media.

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Denise  Dimon

Denise Dimon

Associate Provost for International Affairs
(619) 260-4836

Office: Alcala West, Coronado 116

Denise Dimon has served as the Director of the Ahlers Center for International Business since 1999. She has always had an interest in international business having received a Masters in International Management from the University of Denver, and a Ph.D. in Economics from the University of Illinois with a specialization in international economics and economic development. In addition to her activities within the Ahlers Center, she is also serving as the Associate Provost for International Affairs and Director of the International Center at the University of San Diego. She has been a Fulbright Scholar in Argentina and Uruguay, a Distinguished Visiting Professor at the Graduate School of Business Administration and Leadership of at the Tecnológico de Monterrey (EGADE Campus Monterrey); a Visiting Professor at ESC Reims, France, Université Robert Schuman, ICES, Strasbourg, France, and EADA in Barcelona, Spain. She has held positions at numerous institutions as a visiting scholar and consulted for private companies on four continents. Professor Dimon has worked with several international organizations on consulting and educational programs including the Academy for Educational Development, Educational Development Center, United Nations Development Programme, and the Interamerican Development Bank. She has coordinated consulting projects and executive education programs in Argentina, Brazil, Peru, South Africa, Thailand, China and India in a variety of industries including telecommunications, health care, tourism, and manufacturing. She was selected Women of the Year by the Women in International Trade (WIT, San Diego) and recognized as one of the top 25 outstanding Women Business Leaders in San Diego (San Diego Business Journal). She currently serves on the Advisory Board of the San Diego World Trade Center. She has twice been recognized with a Steber Professorship from the School of Business Administration for outstanding contributions to the School and the University of San Diego. In 2009 she received a two-year grant from the U.S. Department of Education for the Ahlers Center to develop additional initiatives in Latin America and Asia. In 2013 she was recognized by the Univeristy of San Diego as a "Woman of Impact."

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Emily Edmonds-Poli

Emily Edmonds-Poli

Associate Professor
(619) 260-7802

Office: KIPJ 286A

Office Hours: Dr. Edmonds-Poli is on Sabbatical until Fall 2016.

Emily Edmonds-Poli , PhD, joined the USD faculty in 2001.  Edmonds-Poli teaches classes on international relations and Latin American politics. Her research focuses on local and state level politics in Mexico, as well as decentralization and democratization in Latin America.

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Kimberly Eherenman

Kimberly Eherenman, PhD

Professor, Spanish
(619) 260-4068

Office: Founders 134

Office Hours: Jan. 25-May 9: M/W/F, 11:15-12:05; M/W, 1:25-2:40 & by appointment

Kim Eherenman, PhD, has been a member of the faculty since 1990. Her specializations include Latin American poetry, pre-Columbian literatures and cultures, colonial and nineteenth century Latin American literature, and Mexican literature. Her research focus is Latin American poetry and translation. Formerly, she served as coordinator of the Latino Studies Program, executive director of the Guadalajara Summer Program, coordinator of the Spanish Area, and chair of this department. In addition, she has served as an external program reviewer for world language and literature programs at the university level. She is also a bilingual poet whose works have appeared in literary journals nationally and abroad.

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Iris Engstrand

Iris Engstrand

Professor, History
(619) 260-4038

Office: KIPJ 265

Office Hours:

Iris H. W. Engstrand, PhD, is a native Californian. Engstrand’s academic honors include USD’s distinguished University Professorship; the Davies Award for Faculty Achievement; Awards of Merit from the San Diego, Southern California, and California Historical Societies, Western History Association, and Orange Coast College; fellowships from the Fulbright Commission, American Philosophical Society and Huntington Library; and the California Design Award in Historic Preservation. She is a trustee of the San Diego Natural History Museum and the San Diego Maritime Museum, past president of the American Historical Association Pacific Coast Branch and of the Western History Association. Engstrand has lived and traveled extensively in Spain and Mexico and lectures widely in both English and Spanish. She has degrees in history, with maors and minors in the fields of California, Mexico, Latin America and the Spanish Southwest history, biology and Spanish

Engstrand has recently been awarded the prestigious medal of the Order of Isabel la Católica (Isabel the Catholic -- ruler of Spain in 1492) by Juan Carlos, King of Spain, for outstanding contributions to the history of Spain in the Americas.

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Orlando Espin

Orlando Espin

Professor, Theology and Religious Studies
(619) 260-4049

Office: Maher Hall 286

Office Hours: W: 10:00am-12:00pm, 1:30pm-3:30pm, and by appointment.

Orlando Espín, Th.D., has been a member of the USD faculty since 1991. He is professor of systematic theology in the Department of Theology and Religious Studies. Espín has twice served as president of the Academy of Catholic Hispanic Theologians of the United States (of which he was one of the founders), and has also served on the boards of directors of the Catholic Theological Society of America and of the Hispanic Summer Program in Religion and Theology. Espín has received an honorary doctorate and an honorary professorship. He founded and was first chief editor of the Journal of Hispanic/Latino Theology. He serves on the editorial boards of several U.S., European and Latin American Journals. He is active in the San Diego Latino/a community, as well as nationally in Latino/a theological research and educational projects.

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Michael Gonzalez

Michael Gonzalez

Graduate Program Director
Associate Professor
(619) 260-4043

Office: KIPJ 269

Michael Gonzalez, PhD, began teaching at the University of San Diego in 1995.  He currently is director of the History Masters program.

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Kevin Guerrieri

Kevin Guerrieri, PhD

Associate Professor, Spanish
(619) 260-7827

Office: Founders 130

Office Hours: On sabbatical until Fall 2016. Advisees will consult with Dr. Simonovis-Brown.

Kevin Guerrieri, PhD, teaches courses on Latin American literature and culture and on the Spanish language. His research is focused on Latin American literature, specializing in Colombian narrative, with interests in cultural discourses of modernity and national formation, displacement and testimonio, and violence and human rights in Latin American cultural production, among other areas. Guerrieri is the current president of the Asociación de Colombianistas, an international organization that promotes the study of Colombia in the areas of the humanities and the social sciences.

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Jerome Hall, PhD

Associate Professor, Anthropology
(619) 260-7865

Office: Serra Hall 218

Office Hours: MW: 11:30am-2:15pm,1:30pm-4:00pm

Before coming to USD, Jerome Hall, PhD, was the underwater archaeologist for Puerto Rico and president of the Institute of Nautical Archaeology.  His current research projects include the excavation of a 17th-century northern European merchant shipwreck off the north coast of the Dominican Republic, as well as the documentation and publication of a 1st-century boat recovered from the Sea of Galilee.

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Daniel López-Pérez

Daniel López-Pérez, PhD

Associate Professor, Architecture
(619) 260-7415

Office: Camino Hall 7A

Office Hours: on sabbatical Fall 2015 - Spring 2016; returning Fall 2016

Daniel López-Pérez is an Associate Professor of Architectural Design and a founding faculty member of the Architecture Program at the University of San Diego. Dr. López-Pérez’s scholarship specializes in architectural design research and the historiography of modern architecture. He holds a Ph.D. from Princeton University, a Masters of Advanced Architectural Design from Columbia University with honors, and an AA Diploma from the Architectural Association. His Ph.D. dissertation at Princeton studies the tall-building as a contested historiographical artifact through a composite discourse that examines the simultaneous innovations that took place in its practice, history, theory and criticism.

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Marcelle Maese-Cohen

Marcelle Maese-Cohen, PhD

Assistant Professor

Office: Founders Hall 172C

Office Hours: W 3:00-6:00pm; Th 4:00-6:00pm; and by appointment

Marcelle Maese-Cohen received her Ph.D. from the University of California, Berkeley in 2013. Her research interests include the relation between social justice and literary form, decolonial feminist thought, comparative ethnic studies, human rights law, and critical theory. She is currently teaching courses on Chicana/o and Latina/o Literatures and Cultures.

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Patricia Márquez

Patricia Márquez, PhD

Faculty Director, Ashoka Changemaker Hub
(619) 260-7875

Office: Mother Rosalie Hill Hall, Room 101

Before coming to USD, Patricia Márquez was a professor at IESA Business School in Caracas, Venezuela. She was the Cisneros Scholar at the David Rockefeller Center for Latin American Studies (DRCLAS) at Harvard University and visiting professor at Harvard Business School for the academic year 2005-2006. She has taught graduate and executive education courses on Leadership and Organizational Behavior, Business Initiatives at the Base-of-the-Pyramid, Corporate Social Responsibility, and Social Enterprise. At the undergraduate level she teaches Business & Society. Márquez current research is on the role business can play in alleviating poverty worldwide. She is an active participant of the Social Enterprise Knowledge Network (SEKN) coordinating SEKN’s research project “Market-Based Poverty Reduction in Iberoamerica” (2005-2009).

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Everard Meade

Everard Meade, PhD

Director, Trans Border Institute
(619) 218-5946

Office: KIPJ 243

Antonieta Mercado

Antonieta Mercado, PhD

Assistant Professor
(619) 260-7644

Office: Camino Hall 122

Office Hours: Tues./Thurs.: 11:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.; Tues.: 5:30 - 6:30 p.m.; Wed.: 12:30 - 2:30 p.m.; and by appointment.

Dr. Mercado joined Communication Studies in the Fall of 2012 as an assistant professor in communication and social justice. She teaches classes on Media and Conflict, International Media, Introduction to Media Studies, and Public Relations and Social Movements. 
Dr. Mercado studies the communication and citizenship practices of Mexican indigenous immigrants in the United States, and how those practices extend to the transnational public sphere, contributing to forms of world citizenship or “grassroots cosmopolitanism.” 
She has been working recently on the impact of cultural festivals in the public sphere. 
She is a member of BINACOM, a Binational Communication Organization that brings together schools of communication in both the US and Mexico.

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Alejandro Meter

Alejandro Meter, PhD

Associate Professor, Spanish
Director, Latin American Studies Program
(619) 260-7417

Office: Founders 132

Office Hours: Jan. 26-May 5: W, 1:00-4:00; T/Th, 5:30-6:30

Alejandro Meter, PhD, teaches courses on Latin American literature of the twentieth and twentieth-first centuries. His specializations include dictatorial and post-dictatorial fiction of the Southern Cone, migration and exile, and Latin American Jewish studies. His most recent research focuses on memory, trauma, and reconciliation. He currently directs the intersession Buenos Aires Program. He was born and raised in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

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Kristin Moran

Kristin Moran, PhD

Special Assistant to the Dean, Core Director
(619) 260-4085

Office: Camino Hall 121

Office Hours: Mon./Wed.: 9:30 a.m. - 11:00 a.m.; Tues./Thurs.: 9:30 - 10:30 a.m.; and by appointment.

Kristin Moran, PhD (University of Washington), has been teaching at USD since 1999 and currently serves as Special Assistant to the Dean, Core Director overseeing the core revision process. Her current research focuses on the reception of Latino-themed and Spanish-language media in the United States. Her book, Listening to Latina/o youth: Television consumption within families, critiques the tendency of mainstream media to reify and contain a Latina/o identity that is then sold back to youth in ways that limit Latino/a agency. Her research has also appeared in a variety of journals including the Journal of Children & Media and Learning, Media and Technology focusing on Latino-themed children’s television. She has published research comparing the presentation of local news in Spanish and English in Journalism: Theory, Practice, and Criticism and the Journal of Borderland Studies.

She works with the Binational Association of Schools of Communication (BINACOM), an organization devoted to creating opportunities for cross border interaction for faculty and students. She served as chair of the department from 2011-2015.

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Angelo Orona, PhD

Associate Professor, Anthropology
Department Chair
(619) 260-4008

Office: Serra Hall 208

Office Hours: MW: 2:15-4:15pm, TR: 2:00-3:00pm; and by appointment.

Angelo Orona, PhD, focuses his field research on Creole island fisherman of Venezuela. His main area of interest is the ethnology of South American cultures.

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Alma C. Ortega

Assistant Professor
(619) 260-2259

Office: Copley Library

Alma C. Ortega joined the Copley Library Faculty in 2003 as a reference librarian. She serves as the bibliographer for History, Spanish, Italian, and Ethnic Studies and is also the liaison to the Latin American Studies and Asian Studies minors in the College of Arts and Sciences, and the Trans-Border Institute. Her experience lies with library leadership and management, collection development, reference services (f2f, IM/chat, and virtual), social media, as well as archives in libraries.

Prior to coming to USD she was the library director for the Chicano Studies Research Center Library & Archives at UCLA from 2002-2003.

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Gail A. Perez

Gail A. Perez

Associate Professor, Retired; Adjunct Lecturer of English
(619) 260-7628

Office: Maher Hall 212

Office Hours: Tuesdays 11:00am-12:00pm; Wednesdays 3:00-5:00pm

Gail Perez, PhD, came to the university in 1992 to teach American ethnic literature.  Since that time, she has co-founded the Ethnic Studies major and now has a joint appointment with Ethnic Studies.  She teaches courses in U.S. women of color,  multicultural California, introduction to ethnic studies, and creative writing.  She has advised MEChA, has given the Chicano Graduation Keynote, and has been nominated as a USD Woman of Impact three times.  Her research interests include pedagogy, social space and race, and literature by women of color. In 2013 Perez was awarded the esteemed Davies Award for Teaching Excellence.

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Amanda L. Petersen

Amanda L. Petersen, PhD

Associate Professor, Spanish
(619) 260-4237

Office: Founders 144-C

Office Hours: On sabbatical until Fall 2016. Advisees will consult with Dr. Simonovis-Brown.

Amanda L. Petersen, PhD, joined the faculty in 2008. Affiliated with Latin American Studies and Women and Gender Studies programs, she teaches courses on Latin American literature and culture with an emphasis on Mexican studies. She also teaches all levels of Spanish language. A specialist in Latin American women authors, her research interests center on the difficulty of representing issues of gender and violence, in particular in contemporary Mexican short narratives by women authors. Her lines of investigation include spectrality, gender, visual culture, and border studies.

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Alberto López Pulido

Alberto López Pulido, PhD

Professor, Ethnic Studies
(619) 260-4022

Office: Maher Hall 212A

Office Hours: Mondays 9:00a.m. - 12:00p.m. Wednesdays 9:00a.m. - 11:00a.m.

Alberto López Pulido grew up along la frontera of San Diego-Tijuana where he learned a great deal about culture and tradition in a bicultural, bilingual and binational world. His greatest influences in life has been his mother and grandfather who taught him the deep values of holistic education through their modeling and consejos of becoming gente educada and believing in the value of amor al prójimo. Alberto is a proud graduate of the University of Notre Dame’s Mexican American Graduate Studies Program that was established by Professor Julian Samora. Alberto has numerous publications in the area of Chicano Religions, Higher Education and Border Studies. His first book was a revisionist history of Los Hermanos Penitentes of New Mexico entitled: The Sacred World of the Penitentes and speaks of their values and legacy as a living sacred community in the history of the American Southwest. His second book entitled: Moving Beyond Borders is an edited volume that examines the intellectual life of Julian Samora and his impact on Chicano Studies. It speaks to the history of Chicano Studies in higher education and to the strategies and challenges of an intellectual pioneer and first Chicano Sociologist in the nation.

ETHN 100 Syllabus

ETHN 240 Syllabus

ETHN 343 Syllabus

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Thomas Ehrlich Reifer

Thomas Ehrlich Reifer, PhD

Associate Professor, Sociology
Affiliated Faculty, Ethnic Studies
(619) 260-7422

Office: Serra Hall 225

Office Hours: Mon. 3:00pm-8:00pm, drop-in or by appointment.

Dr. Reifer serves on the Gender Studies Advisory Committee and is an Associate Fellow at the Transnational Institute, a worldwide fellowship of committed scholar-activists; formerly worked at Focus on the Global South in Asia and was Associate Director of the Institute for Research on World-Systems (IROWS) and the Program on Global Studies at UC Riverside. He is also currently a Research Associate at the Fernand Braudel Center for the Study of Economies, Historical Systems & Civilizations at Binghamton University—where he received his MA & PhD—and IROWS. His specialty is the study of large-scale, long-term social change and world-systems analysis.

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Kenneth P. Serbin

Kenneth P. Serbin

Professor, History
(619) 260-4037

Office: KIPJ 268

Dr. Kenneth P. Serbin's research spans the fields of Brazilian social, cultural, political, and religious history as well as the history of science, technology, and medicine.



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David Shirk

David Shirk, PhD

Associate Professor, Political Science and International Relations
Director, Justice in Mexico Project
(619) 260-2315

Office: KIPJ 256

Office Hours: M-2:00p-4:00p T-4:00p-5:00p Th-10:00a-12:00p

David A. Shirk, Ph.D., joined the University of San Diego in July 2003. Shirk’s teaching covers a wide range of subject areas, mainly concentrated in comparative politics, international political economy, Latin American studies, and U.S.-Latin American relations, with a concentration in Mexico and border politics. He conducts research on Mexican politics, U.S.-Mexican relations, and law enforcement and security along the U.S.-Mexican border. Shirk also directs the Justice in Mexico Project (, which examines rule of law and security issues in Mexico. From 2003-2013, Dr. Shirk directed the Trans-Border Institute, which works to promote greater analysis and understanding of Mexico, U.S.-Mexico relations, and the U.S.-Mexico border region.

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Leonora Simonovis-Brown

Leonora Simonovis-Brown, PhD

Director and Assoc. Professor of Spanish
(619) 260-4139

Office: Founders 144-G

Office Hours: Jan. 25-May 9: M/W, 12:30-2:00; M, 9:30-11:00;

Leonora Simonovis-Brown, PhD, has been a member of the faculty since 2007. She teaches courses on Latin American and Caribbean literature and culture, as well as all levels of Spanish language. Her teaching and research interests deal with issues of race and gender, the role of popular music in the construction of cultural identities, social mobility, and marginality in the Pan-Caribbean region.

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Steve Tammelleo

Steve Tammelleo, PhD

Assistant Professor, Philosophy

Office: Founders Hall 158B

Steve Tammelleo joined the philosophy department at USD in 2013. He enjoys teaching classes in Logic, Business Ethics, Latin American Thought, and Introduction to Philosophy. Steve’s research focuses on Foucault, border policy, immigration and ethnic identity. Steve has traveled extensively in Latin America. Steve enjoys yoga, biking, and hiking, and, he is obsessed with volleyball.

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Randy Willoughby

Randy Willoughby, PhD

Professor, Political Science and International Relations
Director of Master of Arts in International Relations Program
(619) 260-4014

Office: KIPJ 258

Office Hours: M-Th-1:00p-2:15p

Randy Willoughby, Ph.D, has been on the USD faculty since 1988 and teaches course on comparative politics and international security. His undergraduate education began at the University of California at Irvine and concluded at UCLA. His graduate education was at the University of California at Berkeley, preceded by a year of study in Paris, and including a year working in the Executive Office of the President in Washington DC, a year teaching at the University of Santa Clara, and two years participating on a research project at the University of California at San Diego.

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