Doris L Baker

Doris L Baker
Associate Professor, Department of Special Education
Associate Professor, Department of Curriculum and Instruction

Office: SZB
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Doris Luft Baker is an associate professor in the Department of Special Education and the Department of Curriculum and Instruction. Dr. Baker is engaged in developing and evaluating instructional tools and assessments in English and in Spanish designed to improve and monitor the academic performance of English learners with and without learning difficulties in reading, science, and social studies. Her research has been funded by agencies such as the Institute of Education Sciences (IES), the National Science Foundation (NSF), Southern Methodist University, the Oregon Child Development Coalition, and the Knight Foundation among others. In addition, through partnerships with community organizations such as the Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Gardens, the Dallas Morning News, and Avance, Dr. Baker is exploring ways that Latinx families can develop the language proficiency of their children in Spanish and in English.

Currently, Dr. Baker is the principal investigator (PI) on an IES grant designed to develop a formative assessment to measure the vocabulary in science of second- and third-grade Latinx students using a speech recognition system and automated scoring (Project MELVA, 2020-2024). She is also a Co-Pi on a grant to replicate the effects of the Read Well program in first grade (Project IR2RW, 2020-2025). This was the only reading replication grant awarded by IES in 2020.

Dr. Baker's research has been published in Exceptional Children, Review of Research in Education (RRE), Bilingual Research Journal, Learning Disabilities: Research and Practice, Reading and Writing: An Interdisciplinary Journal, Teaching Exceptional Children, Learning Disability Quarterly, Journal of School Psychology, and School Psychology Review (SPR), among others. Her review of bilingual education appeared in the RRE Centennial Volume in 2016. In 2018 she published the book: Second Language Acquisition: Methods, Perspectives, and Challenges, and in 2016 she published Bookshop Fonética, a curriculum program designed to teach phonics in Spanish to kindergarten and first-grade students in the U.S. In addition, Dr. Baker is the senior author of a formative assessment in Spanish for students in grades K-3: the Indicadores Dinámicos del Exito en la Lectura (IDEL 7th edition).

In 2019, she received a Fulbright award to conduct research in Chile. That same year she also received the Kirk Award for excellence in a research publication in Learning Disabilities, Research and Practice, a journal from the Council for Exceptional Children, and an award from the American Education Research Association Technology, Instruction, Cognition, and Learning SIG group for her international collaboration with Finnish researchers. In 2014, Dr. Baker was awarded funds to travel to Finland to research the Finnish education system through a grant from the National Science Foundation. In 2012 she received an honorable mention for an article she published in SPR in 2011, and in 2008 she received the Distinguished Dissertation Award from the International Reading Association.

Prior to coming to UT Austin, Dr. Baker was the Co-Director of the Ph.D. program in the School of Education at Southern Methodist University, and the director of the Master in Bilingual Education. Dr. Baker received her Ph.D. in Educational Leadership from the University of Oregon. She holds an M.S. in Latin American Studies from San Diego State University and a B.S. in Psychology from the Universidad Iberoamericana in Mexico City. Before starting her doctoral studies, Dr. Baker was a Spanish instructor at the University of Oregon where she taught all Spanish language courses. She received the Instructor of the Year award in 2002 for the development of an internship that built a connection between the University of Oregon and the Latinx community. She has also provided professional development and consultation to parents, teachers, and researchers in the United States, and in Chile, Argentina, Mexico, Spain, Finland, and Qatar. Dr. Baker was born in Brazil and grew up in Colombia and Mexico. She is fluent in English, Spanish, Portuguese, and semi-fluent in German.