I am an Associate Professor in the PhD Program in the Dreeben School of Education at the University of the Incarnate Word, and part-time faculty at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies (MIIS), focusing on Nonprofit Management and Social Change. I am also an action-researcher and designer / facilitator of organizational change processes, working in international and local development contexts for the last 18 years. In all of my work, I prioritize critical reflection on how power relationships between people enable and constrain “desirable” and “feasible” change. I believe that increased awareness on the role all people play in including and excluding diverse ways of understanding and acting in the world can lead to new perspectives and increased inclusion of marginalized people, causes, ideas and ways of knowing.
My research focuses on how organizations that support social change emerge, lead, strengthen themselves, adapt and remain relevant in complex, contested development realities. Methodologically, I am interested in how action research (AR) and capacity building as AR may support these processes. AR offers extended epistemological philosophies and tools that allow people to connect their deeper identities and ways of knowing to organizational change processes, thereby affording deeper transformational opportunities. My AR interests include exploring the implications of taking a “soft systemic” epistemological stance—i.e. using theories, classroom content, and methodologies not as knowledge to accumulate, but as sources of good questions to ask of real life situations. I am also an Associate Editor of the Action Research Journal.
ORTIZ ARAGÓN, A. & GLENZER, KENT. "Untaming aid through action research: Seeking transformative reflective action." Action Research Journal, vol. 15, no. 1, March 2017.
ORTIZ ARAGÓN, A. & GILES MACEDO, J. C. 2015. Radical epistemology as caffeine for social change. In Bradbury et al, The SAGE Handbook of Action Research: Participative Inquiry and Practice, Third Edition.
ORTIZ ARAGÓN, A. & CASTILLO BURGUETE, M.T. 2015. Introduction to Action Research Practices. In Bradbury et al, The SAGE Handbook of Action Research: Participative Inquiry and Practice, Third Edition.
Personal interests include hanging out with family and friends, long distance running, basketball (Go Spurs Go!), fishing, and a slow cup of coffee on weekends
“Who lectures? Who holds the stick? Whose finger wags? Whose knowledge, analysis and priorities count? Ours? Theirs, as we assume them to be? Or theirs as they freely express them?... So START: Do not wait. Get on with it. Relax. Try things. Learn by doing. Fail forwards. Experiment. Ask—what went well? What went badly? What can we learn? How can we do better? How can we help others to do better?”
- Robert Chambers, Provocations for development
Ph.D., Development Studies, Institute of Development Studies (IDS)
University of Sussex
Brighton, United Kingdom
M.A., International Relations St. Mary’s University
San Antonio, Texas
B.A., Accounting and Foreign Languages (Spanish)
New Mexico State University Las Cruces, New Mexico