Staff Directory


John M. Heffron, PhD

Director of the MA Program in Educational Leadership and Societal Change

Professor of Educational History and Culture

Phone: 949-480-4028

Fax: 949-480-4243


Academic Administration - Graduate School Staff

Faculty - Full-Time


  • Ph.D., University of Rochester
  • M.A., University of Rochester
  • B.A., Princeton University

Positions Held

  • 2013 - Present, Director, MA Program in Educational Leadership and Societal Change, Soka University of America 
  • 2005 - 2016, Dean of Students, Soka University of America 
  • 1997 - 2013, Director of Educational Research Programs; Associate Director Pacific Basin Research Center, Soka University of America
  • 1991 - 1996, Assistant Professor University of Hawaii at Manoa
  • 1990 - 1991, Visiting Assistant Professor Montana State University

Research Interests

  • Development History
  • U.S. Relations in Asia and the Pacific
  • Educational History

Selected Papers, Publications, Presentations, & Exhibits

Papers and Publications

  • "Tsunesaburo Makiguchi" in Jeffrey Brooks and Anthony Normore, eds. Leadership Lessons: Great Thinkers on Equity, Justice, and Education, Teachers College Press, forthcoming 2017
  • William Ascher, Garry D. Brewer, G. Shabbir Cheema, and John M. Heffron, The Evolution of Development Thinking: Governance, Economics, Assistance, and Security, Palgrave MacMillan, 2016.
  • "The Transnational Context of Schooling" in Rosemary Papa and Fenwick W. English, eds. Educational Leaders Without Borders: Rising to Global Challenges to Educate All, Springer, 2016.
  • William L. Ascher and John M. Heffron, eds. Cultural Change and Persistence: NewPerspectives on Development, Palgrave MacMillan, 2010
  • Dennis A. Rondinelli and John M. Heffron, eds. Leadership for Development in aGlobalizing Society: What Globalization Demands of Leaders Fighting for Change, Kumarian Press, 2009
  • Dennis A. Rondinelli and John M. Heffron, eds. Globalization And Change In Asia, Lynn Rienner, 2007
  • “Between Reconstruction and Restoration: Three Historical Case Studies,” John D. Montgomery and Dennis A. Rondinelli, ed., Beyond Reconstruction in Afghanistan: Lessons for Development Experience (Pelgrave Macmillan), 2004
  • “Beyond Community and Society: The Externalities of Social Capital Building,” John D. Montgomery and Alex Inkeles, ed., Social Capital as a Policy Resource (Kluwer), 2001
  • “The Lincoln School of Teachers College: Elitism and Educational Democracy,” Susan F. Semel and Alan R. Sadovnik, ed., Schools of Tomorrow, Schools of Today: What Happened to Progressive Education? (Peter Lang), 1999
  • "Nation-Building for a Venerable South: Moral and Practical Uplift in the New Agricultural Education, 1900-1920,” Wayne J. Urban, ed., The Limits of Exceptionalism: Southern Education in the Twentieth Century (Garland Press),1999
  • “ 'to form a more perfect Union': The Moral Example of Southern Baptist Thought and Education,'" Religion and American Culture: A Journal of Interpretation, 8 (Summer 1998):179-204., 1998
  • “Defining Values,” John D. Montgomery, ed., Values in Education: Social Capital Formation in Asia and the Pacific (Hollis Publishing), 1997
  • "Toward a Cybernetic Pedagogy: The Cognitive Revolution and the Classroom, 1948 - Present," Educational Theory, 4 (Fall 1995): 497-518, 1995
  • "Science and the Challenge of Public Education," History of Education Quarterly 36 (Summer 1995): 179-187, 1995
  • "Science in General Education: Otis W. Caldwell (1869-1947) and the Rise of the Unified Science Course," Science & Education, 4 (September 1995): 227-252, 1995


  • "Educational Leadership Preparation in the United States: The Missing Dimension, Education for Global Citizenship," a paper presented at the 2017 Comparative & International Education Society annual meeting, March 6, Atlanta, GA
  • "Knowledge Base Controversies in the Management and Design of Educational Leadership Programs, 1980 to the Present," a paper presented at the 2016 History of Education Society annual meeting, November 3, Providence, R.I.
  • "Soka Education as a Theory of Democracy: Let a Hundred Flowers Bloom," a paper presented at the 2016 World Council of Curriculum & Instruction meeting, July 12, Budapest, Hungary
  • "Soka Education as a Theory of Leadership," a paper presented at the 2016 British Educational Leadership, Management and Administration Society annual meeting, July 8, Carden Park, Cheshire UK
  • "The Myth of the Nation State: Transnationalism in the History and Culture of Education," a paper presented at the 2016 Comparative & International Education Society annual meeting, March 7, Vancouver, CA
  • "Toward an Axiology of Education, East and West: Administrative Leadership in the Writings of John Dewey and Tsunesaburo Makiguchi," a joint paper with Tomoko Takahashi presented at the 2015 Comparative & International Education Society annual meeting, March 10, Washington, D.C.
  • Invited Panelist, Special Topic Symposium: Do we really care about equity, dignity, freedom and advocacy? A panel discussion about human rights and educational leadership, 2014 Annual Convention of the University Council for Educational Administration, November 22, Washington, D.C.
  • “To Be or Not to Be”: The Question of Incommensurability in Soka or Value-Creating Education," a paper presented at the 2014 Comparative & International Education Society annual meeting, March 14, Toronto Canada
  • "Progress without Prosperity: The Imperial Ambitions of an American Anti-Modernist Class," a paper presented at the 13th International Conference of Historical Geographers, August 24-27, 2009, Kyoto, Japan,

Courses Taught at SUA

  • The City in History
  • The Intellectual in History
  • Science, Myth, and Religion
  • CORE I & II 
  • The American Experience
  • Historical Foundations of Western Education
  • Religion and U.S. Society
  • History and Philosophy of Education
  • Democratic Theory and Organizational Change
  • Ethnographies of School Administration

Selected Honors & Awards

  • Fulbright Teaching Award Finalist, 2005
  • National Endowment for the Humanities, 1991