James D Basham

Associate Professor
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Joseph R. Pearson Hall

James D. (Jamie) Basham, Ph.D., is currently an Associate Professor in the Department of Special Education at the University of Kansas. He earned his doctorate at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. Dr. Basham’s research is focused on student learning in modern learning environments chiefly related to the application of Universal Design for Learning (UDL). He is well published, has given numerous talks, and has served as a consultant for school districts, universities, state agencies, and corporate entities on modern learning environments, Science Technology Engineering Mathematics (STEM) education, big data, personalization, and UDL. Dr. Basham serves on editorial boards for various journals and was a co-guest editor for the Journal of Special Education Technology topical issue on STEM education for individuals with diverse learning needs. Beyond journals, he serves on the ISTE SETSIG executive board and the SXSWedu Advisory Board. Finally, Dr. Basham is a cofounder of the global UDL Implementation Research Network (UDL-IRN).


Academic Degrees

  • Ph.D., Educational Psychology & Special Education, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, 2005
  • M.S., Special Education, Eastern Illinois University, 1996
  • B.A., Special Education, Eastern Illinois University, 1994

Kansas Teacher Service Scholarship

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Special Education Events
Aug 21
KU Teaching Summit
08:30 am
Aug 21
Special Education Master's Orientation
05:00 pm
Aug 21
New Student Orientation
05:00 pm
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An honor and celebration! We join Rud Turbull, Beach Center staff, students, and special education faculty members in celebrating Rud's appointment as the Beach Distinguished Professor Emeritus. Read and enjoy Dr. Elizabeth Kozleski's tribute. Rud would be the first to remind us that his, and Ann’s, son, Jay Turnbull, was their best professor throughout his life from his childhood through his adult years as a citizen of Lawrence, KS and a friend to many. Jay’s life shaped their lives and through them, his life lessons informed our collective work on behalf of students with disabilities and their families. The Beach Center on Disability that they founded has been a beacon for families with children with disabilities since its inception in 1988. Rud’s education was in political science (B.A., The Johns Hopkins University) and law (Ll.B./J.D., University of Maryland; Ll.M., Harvard Law School). Rud has concentrated his professional research and training in three areas: Special education law and policy, mental disability law and policy, and public policy analysis as related to disability policy and service provision. For 12 years, he held an appointment as a professor of Public Law and Government at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill as well as a faculty appointment at the Bush Institute on Policy for Families and Children. In 1980, he arrived at the University of Kansas as Chair of the Special Education department. He has distinguished himself as a scholar, citizen, and teacher at KU since then both in special education and in his courtesy appointment in the law school. Since developing his specialization in the mid-1970s while professor of public law and government at the Institute of Government, The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Rud has authored over 200 articles, books, chapters, and monographs related to disability issues, many written with Ann. Among these books are the leading texts in school/family/community partnerships (Families, professionals, and exceptionality: A special partnership), special education law and policy (Free appropriate public education: Law and the education of children with disabilities), and special education practice (Exceptional Lives: Special Education in Today's Schools). Each of these books has multiple authors, including Ann Turnbull, Mike Wehmeyer, Karrie Shogren. In addition to Rud’s recognition as the Marianna and Ross Beach Distinguished Professor, along with Ann who also holds that position, he was the Gene and Gretchen Budig Distinguished Teaching Professor in Special Education in the 2004-05 academic year. As a teacher to us all, Rud is outstanding. His students remain connected with him throughout their professional lives. He is both rigorous and supportive, challenging and developmental. Long after students have taken his law and public policy courses, they remember them as some of their best learning experiences. A scan of his articles shows the number of students that write with him, another testimony to the kind of mentoring and support that he offers. Rud has led national policy development and implementation on the part of families and their children. He was recognized with the Century Award, given to 36 individuals who changed the course of history through his disability advocacy and parent empowerment. Rud served as Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Judge David L. Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law, President of the American Association on Mental Retardation, and Chairman of the American Bar Association Commission on Disability Law. Rud, congratulations as you create the new spaces for your life work. And thank you for blazing the trail.



#1 public program in nation for special education
—U.S. News & World Report
2nd nationwide for most published journal articles in special education
Wayne Sailor directs KU’s largest grant, the $24.5 million SWIFT project, to develop a national center to assist schools
A $2.5 million grant will fund research on reasons effective technology tools are underused for students with disabilities