James D. Ellis, Ph.D.

James D. Ellis, Ph.D.

James D. Ellis

Jim Ellis, associate professor, joined the KU faculty in the fall of 1997. Prior to joining the KU faculty, he worked for two years as a program officer at the National Science Foundation in the Division of Elementary and Secondary Education, for thirteen years as a senior staff associate at the Biological Sciences Curriculum Study, and for three years as a visiting assistant professor in the Science Education Center at the University of Texas at Austin. Ellis also taught science for three years in the junior high in Garden City, Kansas. He earned his B.A. degree in Zoology, his M.A. degree in Curriculum and Instruction, and his Ph.D. in Education all from the University of Kansas.

Investigator, The Center for Research on Learning,
Associate Professor,
School of Education

Ph.D., Curriculum and Instruction, University of Kansas, 1979
M.A., Curriculum and Instruction, University of Kansas, 1974
B.A., Zoology, University of Kansas, 1970

Contact Information


1122 West Campus Road
346 Joseph R. Pearson Hall
Lawrence, KS 66045-3101


Research Interests

Ellis’s primary research interest is the improvement of science instruction. During the past thirty years while at BSCS and KU, he has received multiple grants from the National Science Foundation and private foundations, related to science education. He has conducted research projects to design, develop, test, and implement a nationwide network of professional development sites for the preparation of science teachers to use educational technology. He led an NSF project to prepare elementary teachers throughout Colorado to implement inquiry-based science curriculum and instruction. While at BSCS, he led efforts to develop a middle school health science curriculum, to research and develop a multi-media program for preparing elementary science teachers, and to complete a design study for the use of technology in elementary science programs. While at KU, Ellis has collaborated with faculty in the Center for Research on Learning, in the Department of Curriculum and Teaching, and in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences on multiple grants related to the improvement of science instruction, especially for special needs students and gifted students.

Ellis has been author or co-author on more than 25 books and instructional materials, more than 30 articles in journals, including the Journal of Research in Science Teaching, Science Education, and School Science and Mathematics, and has given more than 150 presentations at professional meetings.

  • Educational reform
  • Education Policy
  • Science Teaching
  • Science Learning
  • Scientific Argumentation
  • Science Discourse
  • Science Education Standards
  • Educational Technology

Professional Service

Science instruction; Educational Technology; Scientific Argumentation; Professional Learning Communities