Ken Bain Biography

Ken Bain is one of the best-known teachers and scholars of teaching and learning in the United States and the western world. His works have been translated into 12 languages, and are widely read and discussed across Europe and Latin America. With the translations of his books into Mandarin, Korean, Japanese, and Vietnamese he is also becoming increasingly wellknown in China and East Asia. A well-accomplished historian, he earned his reputation in teaching and learning with the 2004 publication of What the Best College Teachers Do (Harvard University Press), one of the most widely-read and influential scholarly books published in the U.S. in the last half century. 

He is currently the president of the Best Teachers Institute, a research and education organization, but he spent much of his academic career at Vanderbilt, Northwestern, and NYU, before becoming Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs, and Professor of History and Urban Education (National Center for Urban Education), at the University of the District of Columbia, a post he left in July 2013. He was the founding director of four major teaching and learning centers: the Center for Teaching Excellence at New York University, the Searle Center for Teaching Excellence at Northwestern University, the Center for Teaching at Vanderbilt University, and the Research Academy for University Learning at Montclair University. In the 1970's and early 80's he was Professor of History at the University of Texas-Pan American, where he also served as director of that school's University Honors Program and as founding director of the History Teaching Center, a pioneering program sponsored by the National Endowment for the Humanities to promote greater collaboration between history teachers on the secondary level and university and college research historians. From 1984 to 1986, he served as director of the National History Teaching Center, which had a similar mission on the national level. 

His historical scholarship centers on the history of U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East (principal works include The March to Zion: United States Policy and the Founding of Israel, 1980, 2000). 

He has long taken an interest in teaching and learning issues and in recent years has contributed to the scholarship in that area. Internationally recognized for his insights into teaching and learning and for a fifteen-year study of what the best educators do, he has been invited in recent years to present workshops or lectures at nearly six hundred universities and events in the United States, Canada, Mexico, South America, Europe, Asia, Africa, and Australia. His learning research has concentrated on a wide range of issues, including deep and sustained learning and the creation of natural critical learning environments. He has been a frequent consultant to universities, national governments, and the European Union. For his lifetime contribution to both historical studies and educational research, he was recently awarded the prestigious Doctor “Honoris Causa” degree from the University of Valencia in Spain. 

His now classic book What the Best College Teachers Do won the 2004 Virginia and Warren Stone Prize for an outstanding book on education and society, and has been one of the top selling books on higher education. It has been translated into twelve languages and was the subject of an award-winning television documentary series in 2007. The sequel, What the Best College Students Do, also from Harvard University Press, won the Virginia and Warren Stone Prize in 2012, and has become an international best seller. 

He has won four major teaching awards, including a teacher-of-the-year award, faculty nomination for the Minnie Piper Foundation Award for outstanding college teacher in Texas in 1980 and 1981, and Honors Professor of the Year Awards in 1985 and 1986. A 1990 national publication named him one of the best teachers in the United States. He has received awards from the Harry S Truman Library, Lyndon Baines Johnson Library, the Ford Foundation, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the International Studies Association, among others. 

He is currently completing his third book on U.S. relations with the Middle East, Killing Roosevelt: Last Journey Home; a new book from Princeton University Press entitled Super Courses; a book for students and parents entitled What the Best Colleges and Universities Offer; and a book for parents tentatively entitled How to Help Your Kids Get the Most Out of School.