Who's Who of Professional Women


A professor emeritus of Missouri State University since 2005, Ruth Vassar Burgess concluded her educational career as an adjunct professor with Regent University in Virginia from 2005 to 2010. First joining Missouri State University in 1976, she spent nearly three decades as a professor of school teacher education and also served as the director of the Center for Research and Service from 1990 to 1997. Earlier in her career, she excelled as an assistant professor at Evangel University from 1968 to 1976. She began her career working in public schools, first acting as a speech therapist for the School District of the City of Inkster in Michigan from 1961 to 1962, before joining the Stafford Municipal School District in Missouri as a middle school teacher in 1962, the Springfield Public School District as a speech-language clinician in 1963 and the Fulton 58 School District as a speech therapist in 1967.

A regular contributor of articles to professional journals and chapters to books, Dr. Burgess has authored a number of works over the years, including “The Status of the Education Resource Teacher” in 1981, “Shantistan: Enabling a Land of Peace” in 2005, “Changing Brain Structure Through Cross-Cultural Learning: The Life of Reuven Feuerstein” in 2008, “Spirited Sisters” in 2014 and “Longing for Home” in 2015. She was also an editor for “The Learner in the Process” from 1978 to 1980 and a field editor for the International Association for Cognitive Education and Psychology from 1990 to 1994. In 2020, she published “Two Millennia of Memorable Christian Women: Showing Strength Without Power” alongside her husband, Stanley M. Burgess.

Dr. Burgess first embarked on her studies at Texas Tech University, earning her Bachelor of Science in education in 1960. Going on to join the University of Missouri, she obtained a Master of Arts in 1968 and a Doctor of Philosophy in 1979. Holding a teaching certificate in the states of Texas, Michigan and Missouri, she has further been certified by the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association and is an instrumental enrichment trainer for the Feuerstein Institute in Jerusalem. Having completed her early education in Kodaikanal, India, she has been a member of the Kodaikanal-Woodstock Alumni Association since 1956.

Alongside her primary responsibilities, Dr. Burgess served as a member of the science advisory board for the International Center for the Enhancement of Learning Potential beginning 1993 and, between 1993 and 1996, she was active as a field reviewer for the U.S. Department of Education and a member of the Title I evaluation team for the Springfield Public School District. In order to keep abreast of developments in her field, she maintains professional affiliation with the American Association of University Women and the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development, and has received grants from the U.S. Department of Education, the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education and the Mellon Foundation.


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