Leonard Baca
Professor Emeritus

Leonard Baca is professor emeritus of education and director of the BUENO Center for Multicultural Education. The BUENO Center has been in operation for 30 years and has generated nearly $55 million of external funding. Bueno projects involve teacher training as well as research and community outreach in the areas of bilingual and multicultural education. More detailed information on the center is available at http://buenocenter.org.

Dr. Baca is a member of several professional organizations including the National Association of Bilingual Education, Teachers of English as a Second Language, the Council for Exceptional Children, the National Association for Multicultural Education and the American Educational Research Association. He serves on the editorial boards of several journals including the Bilingual Research Journal, Multicultural Perspectives, and Remedial and Special Education.


EdD Special Education, University of Northern Colorado, 1974
MA Special Education, University of New Mexico, 1970
MA Religious Education, Conception Seminary, 1963
BA Philosophy, Conception Seminary, 1961
BA Theology, Catholic University, 1965

My research has been in two main areas: bilingual teacher education and bilingual special education. I have just completed a five-year longitudinal study on bilingual teacher training for the Center for Research on Education, Diversity, and Excellence (CREDE) at the University of California at Santa Cruz. This study included a large national survey and 10 in-depth case studies in states with large numbers of English language learners. A book manuscript for this project is under preparation.

Over the past several years I have done research on bilingual special education in terms of program models and best practices. Most of this work has gone into a text, The Bilingual Special Education Interface, which is now in the fourth edition.

I am currently the co-principal investigator for a research grant from the U.S. Department of Education to study the Spanish version of the Colorado Student Assessment Program (CSAP) test. This is a two-year study of six classrooms, which will yield information that will inform policy on the use of this test with bilingual students in Colorado.

My teaching interests are in both bilingual and special education as well as in the merger of these two fields known as bilingual special education. My goal is to share the latest research and best practices for working with English language learners with or without disabilities.

Courses frequently taught:

EDUC 5425: Introduction to Bilingual/Multicultural Education

This course provides a comprehensive survey of bilingual-multicultural education programs for language minority students. It includes an overview of the history and legislation related to bilingual education. It also presents various models, philosophies, and theoretical underpinnings of bilingual education. In addition it discusses strategies and important considerations for teaching the English language learner with disabilities.

EDUC 5605: Research Issues in Bilingual Education

This course familiarizes students with the fundamentals of disciplined inquiry including both quantitative and qualitative cultures of inquiry or research traditions. It strives to promote the scholar-practitioner model. Thus students are prepared to be better consumers of research and are prepared to conduct action research projects in their own classrooms. Studies in the field of bilingual and multicultural education are reviewed and critiqued.

EDUC 7105: Issues and Consultation in Bilingual Special Education

This course covers the fundamental issues of assessment and instruction in bilingual special education and describes effective consultation practices between the special education teacher and other educational personnel. The course utilizes cooperative learning teams to develop program and curriculum models for identifying and instructing bilingual students with disabilities.

Professional Service

  • 1992-1998 Associate Editor, Bilingual Research Journal, National Association of Bilingual Education
  • 1987-1989 Associate Editor, Journal of Rural and Small Schools
  • 1992-1995 Associate Editor, Journal of Language Minority Education
  • 1987-1988 Guest Editor, American Speech and Hearing Association (ASHA) Journal
  • 1980-1981 Guest Editor, American Journal of Mental Deficiency
  • 1978-1984 Associate Editor, Exceptional Children
  • 1983-1984 Consulting Editor, Dissemin/Action Inc.
  • 1990-1993 Advisory Committee, Illinois State University, Bilingual Special Education
  • 1988-1989 Advisory Committee for Bilingual Special Education Training Program, Southern Illinois University
  • 1984 -1989 National Advisory Committee for Pediatric Rehabilitation Research and Training Center
  • 1983-1989 Advisory Committee, National Information Center for Handicapped Children and Youth
  • 1983-1984 Advisory Committee, American Medical Association Cross-Cultural Health Project
  • 1983-1984 Coordination Task Force, Bilingual Special Education, U.S. Department of Education
  • 1981-1983 Director, Western Higher Education Consortium for Bilingual Education
  • 1981-1982 Advisory Committee, Council for Exceptional Children, Ethnic Heritage Multicultural Curriculum
  • 1980-1981 Co-Chairperson, Council for Exceptional Children, National Topical Conference, The Bilingual Exceptional Child, New Orleans, LA
  • 1980-1981 Chairman, Western Higher Education Consortium for Bilingual Education
  • 1978-1980 Minority Concerns Committee, National Council for Exceptional Children
  • 1975-1976 Council for Exceptional Children Political Action Network
  • 1974-1976 National Advisory Committee on the Handicapped, U.S. Department of Education
  • 1974-1975 National Steering Committee on Bilingual Early Childhood Programs for TADS, a Division of the Frank Porter Graham Child Development Center, University of North Carolina

University Service

  • 1998-2001 University of Colorado at Boulder Campus Outreach Committee
  • 1997-2001 University of Colorado at Boulder Big 12 Travel Award Committee
  • 1998-2001 University of Colorado Impart Selection Committee
  • 1995 Search Committee, Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs, University of Colorado
  • 1995 Faculty Search Committee School of Education, University of Colorado at Boulder
  • 1994-1995 Chancellor's Advisory Council on Diversity, University of Colorado
  • 1994 Search Committee for the Chancellor of the University of Colorado
  • 1994 Advisor to the President and student hunger strike coalition, University of Colorado
  • 1976-1985 President's Committee on Employment of the Handicapped
  • 1974-1976 Advisory Committee on Mexican American Studies
  • 1974-1976 University of Colorado Human Relations Committee

School of Education

  • 1998-2001 Dean’s Advisory Committee, School of Education, University of Colorado at Boulder
  • 1999-2001 Faculty Search Committee School of Education, University of Colorado at Boulder

State and Local Outreach

  • 1978-1979 Colorado State Steering Committee for Bilingual Education
  • 1974-1976 Minority Concerns Committee Colorado Federation, Council for Exceptional Children

(For complete list of publications, please see the faculty member's curriculum vitae.)

Books & Monographs

Baca L., & Almanza E. (1991). Language minority students with disabilities. Reston, VA, Council for Exceptional Children (pp. 1-56).