Arlene L. Barry, PhD

Associate Professor
Primary office:
Joseph R. Pearson Hall, Rm 318
University of Kansas
1122 W. Campus Rd.
Lawrence, KS 66045-3101

Arlene Barry, associate professor, joined the University of Kansas faculty in the fall of 1992. Barry earned her PhD from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in curriculum with an emphasis in reading. She teaches both graduate and undergraduate courses in literacy at KU and served as a coordinator and trainer on the Kansas State Writing Assessment. Prior to work at KU, Barry spent a decade teaching students in both elementary and special education programs in the public schools.

Teaching Interests

  • Disciplinary Literacy
  • Adolescent Literacy


Barry’s primary research interests have focused on disciplinary literacy and the history of literacy. These interests have merged and resulted in Barry’s work in the International Reading Association’s History of Reading Special Interest Group, serving as Program Chair, Secretary, Vice President and President of this organization. Additionally, she served as Co-editor of the History of Reading Newsletter.

Barry has regularly published research in the Journal of Adolescent and Adult Literacy and other peer-reviewed journals. Additional publications include book chapters, monographs, grant contributions and Kansas Reading Assessments, Kansas Writing Assessments and related Examiner’s Manuals, and Student Directions booklets.

Selected Publications

Barry, A. (2016). Lessons from animals, real and imaginary in the work of Theodor Geisel. In S. Rice & A. Rud (Eds.), The educational significance of human and non-human animal interactions: Blurring the species lines (pp. 117-132). Palgrave Macmillan.

Academic Degrees

  • Ph.D., Curriculum and Instruction-Reading Emphasis, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, Wisconsin, 1992
  • M.S., Learning Disabilities, Chicago State University, Chicago, Illinois, 1978
  • B.S., Education, Western Illinois University, Moline, Illinois, 1975


Literacy and Content Area Reading

Associate professor Diane Nielsen involved in $120 million project to overhaul how reading is taught to children by 2015
School of Education is 10th among public universities for its master’s and doctoral programs
—U.S. News & World Report
3.35: average GPA of students admitted to teacher education program
All teacher education programs accredited by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education
All teacher education programs accredited by the Kansas State Department of Education
Alumni have been named Kansas Teacher of the Year
Alumni have received the Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching and the Horizon Award
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