John A Bilorusky
John A. Bilorusky (PhD, University of California, Berkeley) co-founded the Western Institute for Social Research in Berkeley, a multicultural, social justice oriented academic institution, with graduate degrees in education & social change, counseling psychology, and community leadership. For 46 years, as a faculty member there, he has guided hundreds of student action research theses, dissertations, and projects, and consulted with dozens of community agencies and colleges on action research.
Subjects: Education, Research Methods, Social Work, Sociology, Urban Studies
BiographyJohn is President of WISR, was a co-founder of WISR in 1975, and has served full-time on WISR’s faculty ever since. During that time, he has supervised over 100 student dissertations, Master’s theses, and undergraduate senior theses on a wide range of topics, almost all of which have used action-research methods, and he has guided and mentored students in the conduct of hundreds of other action-research projects. These projects have been conducted in a variety of settings, and by students with many different interests and levels of previous professional and community experience, from all walks of life, and from many varied cultural backgrounds.
After graduating with his Bachelor’s degree from the University of Colorado with honors in physics and honors in general studies (1967), John changed fields of study earned his PhD in Higher Education at the University of California, Berkeley, in 1972.
In 1970-71, John taught senior thesis seminars in the Social Sciences Integrated Courses and Field Major, as a Teaching Associate at the University of California, Berkeley. From 1971-73, he was Assistant Professor of Urban Affairs and Senior Research Associate in the Institute for Research and Training in Higher Education, at the University of Cincinnati. There he taught the required action-research course in the College of Community Services, created and coordinated the College’s Individualized Learning Program, and served as an in-house organizational and evaluation consultant for faculty at the University. Then, from 1973-75, he was Director of Graduate Studies at University Without Walls-Berkeley.
He is the author of published articles and papers on higher education and social change, adult learning, and practical, community-based and participatory research methods, including a co-authored book published by the Carnegie Commission on Higher Education, May 1970: The Campus Aftermath of Cambodia and Kent State (with Richard Peterson). He has served as a consultant for community agencies in the area of participatory action-research, including directing a major study of needs and services for low-income elders for the Los Angeles Community Redevelopment Agency, and using participatory research in collaboration with the Bay Area Black United Fund on three occasions for their African American Health Summits. In addition, he has done collaborative consultations with dozens of Bay Area groups over the years. He has conducted evaluations of colleges and educational innovations, for such institutions as De Pauw University (Indiana), Macalester College (Minnesota), Colorado College, New College of California, and Fresno State University. He has conducted feasibility studies for such groups as the California Housing Trust Fund and Cleveland State University’s Department of Human Services.
He was Director of WISR’s nationwide demonstration project, under a grant from the US Department of Education’s Fund for the Improvement of Postsecondary Education (FIPSE) from 1980-83—on extending the teaching, learning and use of action-research throughout the larger community. John serves on the Advisory Board of the global network of Human Dignity and Humiliation Studies ( https://www.humiliationstudies.org/ )
PhD, University of California, Higher Education, 1972
MA, University of California, Sociology of Education, 1968
BA, U. of Colorado, Physics & Honors/General Studies, 1967
Areas of Research / Professional Expertise
Participatory Action-Research, Qualitative Research, Learner-Centered Education, Program Evaluation, Theories and Strategies of Social Change & Community Improvement, Scientific Method, Innovation in Higher Education (including curriculum development, personalized education, multicultural education, and distance learning).
My family (I live in Oakland with my wife, Janet, and near our 22 year old twins, Kyle and Nicole, and my oldest son, Clark, 33). Full court basketball. Improvisational jazz/ballroom/swing dancing with my wife.