James F. Baumann (Inducted 2014)

- University of Missouri, Emeritus
- University of Missouri, (2010-2015)
- University of Wyoming (2007-2010)
- University of Georgia (1990-2007)
- Purdue University (1982-1990)
- University of North Texas (1980-1982)

Curriculum Vitae: 

Biographical Statement

James F. Baumann (Jim) has been a classroom teacher, university professor, researcher, and curriculum developer for over 50 years. He has a B.A. in Psychology from the University of Notre Dame and an in M.S. (Elementary Education) and Ph.D. (Reading Education) in Curriculum and Instruction from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He held the Chancellor’s Chair for Excellence in Literacy Education at the University of Missouri (2010-2015), where he is now an emeritus professor. Previously, Jim was the Wyoming Excellence Chair of Literacy Education at the University of Wyoming (2007-2010); Professor of Reading Education at the University of Georgia (1990-2007), where he also served at times as Department Head and Associate Director of the National Reading Research Center; Assistant Professor, Associate Professor, and Professor of Literacy and Language Education and Director of the Reading Clinic at Purdue University (1982-1990); and Assistant Professor of Education at the University of North Texas (1980-1982). His work in literacy education has emphasized pragmatic research with direct classroom applications, often collaborating with teachers and graduate students. His research, writing, and professional development work on reading comprehension and vocabulary instruction has had a significant impact in the pedagogical practices of elementary and middle-grade teachers. He has had a long-term commitment to the needs of diverse learners, and his work with teacher-research communities has empowered many teachers to engage in reflective inquiries in their own classrooms.

Jim began his career in education in 1971 when he was accepted into the federal program Teacher Corps, which prepared college graduates with liberal arts majors to teach in high-poverty school systems. Jim entered the Native American Teacher Corp Project sponsored by the University of Wisconsin-Madison, which focused on enhancing the education of Native American children in rural communities. For two years, Jim lived in a rural Wisconsin community, whose school district served Ho-Chunk Nation families. As a Teacher Corps intern, he taught Grades 3-6 and engaged in community service, while completing an M.S. in Elementary Education from UW-Madison.

Following Teacher Corps, Jim taught Grades 3 and 4 in a public school in a working-class community in eastern Wisconsin. During the summers, he tutored Oneida Indian Nation children at a rural community center. Feeling the need for more knowledge about how to provide children effective reading instruction, Jim moved to Madison, Wisconsin, to pursue a Ph.D. in Curriculum and Instruction (Reading Education).

After completing his Ph.D. in 1980, Jim began his 35-year university-based career by accepting an assistant professor position at the University of North Texas. During Jim’s two years at UNT, he published two articles published in The Reading Teacher, two in Reading Psychology, and one in the Journal of Literacy Research. In 1982 Jim took a position as assistant professor of education at Purdue University, where he also served as Director of the Purdue Reading Clinic. During his eight years at Purdue, Jim was promoted to associate professor and then to full professor, as he developed a national reputation as a reading researcher and teacher educator through his publications, which included two single-authored research articles in Reading Research Quarterly, four articles in Journal of Reading Behavior/Journal of Literacy Research, an article in the American Educational Research Journal, three additional articles in The Reading Teacher, four in the Journal of Reading/Journal of Adolescent & Adult Literacy), three in Literacy Research and Instruction, among others. He also published three books during the Purdue period, including Teaching Main Idea Comprehension, which ILA also published and distributed in Spanish. He published the oft-cited Johnson/Baumann chapter on word identification in the Handbook of Reading Research (Vol 1).

Now that Jim was teaching and advising master’s and doctoral students, he began to invite graduate students to co-author journal articles, book chapters, and conference papers. Jim’s first doctoral advisee at Purdue, Maribeth Cassidy Schmitt, won the prestigious LRA Student Outstanding Research Award for her dissertation. Jim also began to assume greater leadership positions in professional organizations, for example, being named in 1988 editor of ILA’s journal The Reading Teacher. Jim revived the Purdue Reading Clinic program, and through his direct work with children in the Reading Clinic and his school-based research, Jim remained in touch with the realities of teaching students how to develop their reading abilities.

Seeking to pursue further opportunities to expand his scholarship, service, and teaching, in 1990 Jim took a position at the University of Georgia (UGA) as Professor and Head of the Department of Reading Education. During his 17 years at UGA, Jim continued to publish intervention research that included two separate studies that appeared in the Journal of Literacy Research, as well as a complementary research-to-practice article in The Reading Teacher. In 1992 Jim was part of a team of colleagues at UGA and the University of Maryland that wrote the successful application for the $7.8 million National Reading Research Center (NRRC), the U.S. Department of Education’s primary funding source for research in reading. As Associate Director for the five-year NRRC, he conducted multiple studies funded by the Center, including several survey research studies on the status and use of reading instructional materials in U.S. elementary classrooms, which were published in the Elementary School Journal, Reading Research & Instruction, The Reading Teacher, and Reading Research Quarterly. He also co-authored with two fifth-grade teachers a Reading Teacher article describing their year-long collaborate classroom reading research project.

During the 1994-1995 school year, Jim took a year’s leave from his UGA and NRRC positions to re-immerse himself in the realities of all-day, every-day teaching by working as a full-time second-grade teacher in a public elementary school in Athens, Georgia, that served minority, low-income children and their families. While teaching second grade, he conducted a year-long qualitive study of his classroom teaching with his then doctoral advisee, Gay Ivey, which resulted in their “Delicate Balances” Reading Research Quarterly report, detailing how the integration of a literature- and strategies-based multicultural curriculum led to significant reading growth in Jim’s 7- and 8-year-old students. He also published other articles related to his back-to-teaching experience that appeared in the LRA Yearbook, Educational Researcher, and The Reading Teacher. Jim co-authored another article in The Reading Teacher with “Deborah,” an African American mother of one of his second-grade students (“Natasha”). In this year-long case study, Jim and Deborah articulated how multicultural sensitivity—along with mutual high academic expectations by Deborah, Natasha’s grandmother, and Jim—promoted the reading proficiency of Natasha and her classmates, and by extension, other African American children in low-income school settings.

In the late 1990s, Jim was awarded a U.S. Department of Education Field Initiated Studies grant to evaluate the effectiveness of contextual and morphemic analysis vocabulary instruction in fifth-grade classrooms, which resulted in research reports published in the American Educational Research Journal and Reading Research Quarterly. Jim then explored multi-faceted vocabulary instruction by conducting a year-long case study in Donna Ware, a fifth-grade classroom teacher, and then doctoral advisee Elizabeth Rose Carr Prosser. This research was supported by an ILA Elva Knight Research Grant Jim and Donna coauthored, and which was subsequently published in The Reading Teacher.

Jim also authored or co-authored several additional handbook chapters, which included two chapters on methodology used in teacher research, one each in the Handbook of Reading Research (Vol 3) (co-authored with doctoral advisee Ann Duffy Harrington) and A Handbook of Research on Teaching Literacy Through the Communicative and Visual Arts (co-authored with a classroom teacher and a university colleague). He also co-authored, with doctoral advisee Gwynne Ash, a review chapter on vocabulary instruction research in the Handbook of Research on Teaching the English Language Arts. Jim co-edited with Edward Kame’enui Vocabulary Instruction: Research to Practice, which included chapters authored by the most prominent vocabulary researchers. In 1995 Jim was elected to serve on the ILA Board of Directors.

While at UGA, Jim advised numerous masters, educational specialist, and doctoral students in reading/literacy education, and he was major professor for many doctoral students who went on to a variety of academic positions. Specifically, his doctoral advisees at UGA and while a professor at subsequent universities have assumed faculty positions at one time or another (a few students had multiple positions) at institutions that include James Madison University, Purdue University (one with a named, endowed professorship), New York University, Rutgers University, University of Wisconsin-Madison (endowed chair), Texas State University, Auburn University, University of Maryland at College Park, North Carolina State University, Arkansas State University, University of Delaware, Mankato State University, University of Georgia, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, University of West Florida, Spalding University, Southwest Baptist University, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, University of Missouri, University of North Carolina at Greensboro (endowed chair), Universidad de La Sabana (Bogotá, Colombia), University of Western Scotland, and Westminster College.

In 2007 Jim accepted the position of Wyoming Excellence Chair of Literacy Education at the University of Wyoming (UW). In the late 2000s, Jim and two colleagues (Patrick Manyak at UW and Camille L. Blachowicz at National Louis University) wrote a successful proposal for a U.S. Department of Education Institute of Education Sciences (IES) research grant for $1.78 million. The three-year project utilized a design-based research methodology to explore the implementation and impact of a long-term, multi-faceted, comprehensive, vocabulary instruction program (MCVIP) in fourth- and fifth-grade classrooms at research sites in three different states.

In 2010, Jim was named the Chancellor’s Chair for Excellence in Literacy Education at the University of Missouri. In this venue, Jim brought his IES-funded vocabulary research to fruition. His scholarly efforts resulted in chapters he co-authored in the Handbook of Research on Reading Comprehension, Literacy Research Methodologies, and the Handbook of Reading Disabilities Research (co-authored with T. Lee Williams, a former UGA advisee) He also co-edited the 2nd edition of Vocabulary Instruction: Research to Practice and additional articles in the Yearbook of the Literacy Research Association, The Reading Teacher, and the Journal of Adolescent & Adult Literacy. He continued to teach undergraduates and to teach and advise graduate students, for which he received the College of Education Graduate Advisor/Mentor of the Year award.

Jim retired from the University of Missouri (MU) in 2015, although he maintained a presence in the literacy education community by advising MU Reading Education doctoral students to the completion of their Ph.D. degrees, as he continued to write articles in scholarly journals (The Reading Teacher) and chapters in edited books (Handbook of Research on Reading Comprehension, 2nded., Literacy Research Methodologies, 3rd ed., both co-authored with Gwynne Ash) and to present papers at professional meetings. In 2020, Jim received the Notable Vocabulary Researcher Award by the Vocabulary SIG of the American Educational Research Association.

Jim’s contributions to the field through involvement in the International Literacy Association are many. He was a member of the Board of Directors of ILA, was Editor of The Reading Teacher, and served on or chaired many ILA committees. He sat on the Editorial Advisory Board for ILA’s Reading Research Quarterly and The Reading Teacher for decades. Jim is sole or first author on 6 full-length articles in Reading Research Quarterly, and he is first or co-author on 17 articles in The Reading Teacher and 6 articles in Journal of Adolescent & Adult Literacy. He is editor or co-editor of three books published by ILA, in addition to authoring/co-authoring 5 chapters in ILA edited books. Jim has spoken to tens of thousands of ILA members by presenting 66 separate papers, institutes, symposia, and workshops at the Annual Convention of ILA over the years and through scores of additional presentations at regional, state, and local ILA meetings.

Jim’s wife Nancy has likewise been a career educator, working for over 30 years as an elementary classroom teacher, a middle school special education teacher, and an elementary and middle school librarian. Jim and Nancy have two grown children who live and work in Atlanta, and a rescued Golden Retriever, a rescued Labrador Retriever, and a stray barn cat that live with them in their home near Athens, Georgia. Nancy sews and rides dressage when not reading or volunteering for school or community literacy programs, and Jim’s leisure activities include skiing, motorcycling, sailing, painting, and, of course, reading.